Pirates in the Caribbean: TTFA’s tale of woe and intrigue was not entirely homegrown

By Paul Nicholson

March 26 – With the discredited former Trinidad and Tobago FA board removed and the initial appointments of the FIFA Normalisation Committee having being made, more information is becoming available over the role the TTFA’s unelected staff played in bringing down the board.

Two names that keep recurring are the influence of marketing director Peter Miller and chairman of technical committee Keith Look Loy, and their personal relationships that appear to have dominated a federation floundering to put together a number of football programmes without any money.

Miller is a controversial character and has generally flown under the public radar in Trinidad. An Englishman, Miller recently hit the headlines in the UK following his resignation last month as a board director from Port Vale, a board he had supposedly bought his way on to with the acquisition of £250,000 shares and the promise that he could bring new investors to the club.

He was salaried and given a company car but it was later discovered he hadn’t completed the share acquisition nor had he managed to secure new money for the club. He left Port Vale on the edge of bankruptcy.

He remerged in Trinidad and is described in the ‘General Working Agreement’ between Lavender Consulting and the TTFA as the federation’s marketing director and the lead on the discussion over the mooted Arima Velodrome project which was to be a $50 million mixed use commercial, sporting and housing development. A by-product of which would see Lavender clear the debt of the TTFA, according to the agreement.

Miller is understood to be an associate of Lavendar Consulting principal John Mitchell who himself has a dubious reputation in English football having been found guilty in 2007 of various charges by the FA of rule breaches concerning agents while he was a board director of Luton Town. He was later barred from being a company director for three years for having allowed the club to trade while in debt to the UK’s tax authorities to the tune of £3.5 million.

Extract from Lavender/TTFA Agreement

At Luton, Mitchell had become involved with Miller, who was at that time was with Northampton Town, where he had introduced former player Terry Fenwick (now manager of Trinidad and Tobago), into the manager role. It ended up as a short term job for Fenwick who failed to win any of his seven league matches in charge.

The question that is unanswered is how much Miller’s interest in the Caribbean was about the development of TTFA and football on the islands, and how much it was about the potential of the Arima Velodrome opportunity. The Working Agreement states that he and Lavender had been in discussion “regarding the potential of the Project for some time”. The agreement is dated January so ‘some time’ would suggest discussions were on-going prior to the elections last November.

A local conduit and a name that has repeatedly been mentioned in research around the Arima deal is that of Look Loy. A resident in the Arima district, a friend of the mayor and the owner of the Santa Rosa club that plays in Arima, he was responsible for appointing Fenwick to manage the national team.

An influential supporter of president William Wallace and the United TTFA slate of candidates that took power last November, Look Loy said while chairing a press conference when the campaign was announced that he was seeking no position in any new administration.

Days after the elections he was suddenly a central figure in all decision making, had a leadership position within the FA, and had been involved in the controversial decision to close the House of Football, the only real asset and money-making route to solvency that the TTFA had at that time.

Look Loy fired Trinidad playing legend Dennis Lawrence who had learnt his coaching craft under Everton and then Belgium manager Roberto Martinez (Belgium are currently number 1 in the FIFA rankings). He replaced him with Fenwick on a $20,000+ monthly salary, at the same time creating yet another debt for the TTFA who have still to pay out the remainder of Lawrence’s contract.

Look Loy is something of a blast from the past in the politics of the TTFA, having been one of former disgraced Concacaf president and FIFA Vice President Jack Warner’s closest and most loyal associates. At the time of the election in November 2019 there was rumour that Warner – world football’s ‘most wanted’ who is still battling extradition to the US in the FIFAgate scandal – had been consulted by Wallace’s campaign.

Although Warner made various press appearances saying he had spoken to the electionchallengers, his involvement was vehemently denied by other members of the Trinidad press who took up the baton in no uncertain terms for the new TTFA administration.

Ultimately it was a series of ‘deals’ and relationships that failed to convince FIFA or Conacaf that the TTFA’s football’s leadership was neither in the right or capable hands. So they removed it.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1591095258labto1591095258ofdlr1591095258owedi1591095258sni@n1591095258osloh1591095258cin.l1591095258uap1591095258