CENTRAL Football Association (CFA) representative Collin Partap said he intends to support fellow TT Football Association (TTFA) board member Keith Look Loy’s application to the High Court, by means of a sworn affidavit, in order for them and other board members to gain access to the association’s financial records and contracts relating to the controversial TTFA Home of Football project in Couva.
Partap, who is also a former MP for Cumuto/Manzanilla and a practising attorney, said TTFA’s president David John-Williams and vice-president Ewing Davis’ failure to release the copies of contracts by the end of a board meeting, on Tuesday, was the deciding factor.
Look Loy recently filed an application in the High Court to compel John-Williams to release documents related to the Home of Football project, as well as other TTFA financial matters. John-Williams, since last December, has been asked and repeatedly failed to share information on the FIFA-funded project. Look Loy said he has made every attempt to gain access to the documents outside of the courts to save the association unnecessary legal costs, which continue to compound on the cash-strapped organisation.
Newsday reported Thursday that after the penultimate request by Look Loy, he received, through his attorney, a copy of a non-disclosure agreement, which he was asked to sign in order to access the documents – something he refused to do.
At a board meeting, on Tuesday, Look Loy moved a motion, seconded by Joseph Taylor of the T&T Football Referees Association, for a vote on the release of the documents.
However, according to both parties, Davis, who stood in for John-Williams, chose not to take a vote, saying he needed legal advice to proceed.
“Of course, they said no (to a vote), they need legal advice,” said Partap. “And as I’m sitting there, I’m thinking to myself, ‘You know, this is such a colossal waste of time and of money,’ which leads me to believe there is no contract on the Home of Football.
“And if there’s no contract, it goes a little bit further than just the TTFA. That money comes from FIFA. And FIFA representatives have constantly been in Trinidad to look at the Home of Football. And the minister (of sport) also has to be made aware. If there are no contracts and she went to visit the project out there, she would have been used.”
Partap said since he joined the board in March, John-Williams promised him and the other members a copy of the contract.
He said during a board meeting on April 3, general secretary Justin Latapy-George was directed to give out all copies of the contracts relating to the Home of Football to the board members.
“And to date, we have not been able to even see a paper-clip,” Partap said.
In response to the issue of the non-disclosure agreement, Partap said, “You ask someone to sign a non-disclosure agreement when you have something to hide. I think he knows we’re not going to sign a non-disclosure agreement because Keith, whatever he sees there, he must report it back to his constituents, which is the Super League.
“And if I see anything there, I have a duty to report it back to the Central Football Association.
“I cannot tell my association, who voted me in to sit on the board, that I can’t give them information about it. So serving a non-disclosure agreement is really one of the dumbest things I’ve even heard, one of the dumbest legal tools, that they’re using now to hide everything.”
He added that Look Loy said at the board meeting, “If you bring the contract to me right now, I will instruct my lawyers to withdraw the matter (in the High Court).”
CFA president: If I were president, I would resign
Partap said the decline in national team football programmes was indicative of the state of football administration in TT.
“As a sitting board member, I think the situation is deplorable. Trinidad and Tobago is nowhere close to being the powerhouse in football it should be and it falls squarely on the shoulders of the administration.
“The president himself should be ashamed. In fact, if I were the president, I would resign. Our women’s national team came within one goal of qualifying for the World Cup… They were thrashed, thrashed in the Concacaf qualifiers. These are our women, they were begging for funding two or three weeks before the tournament started. So that tells you where we are at in football.”
He said there was a culture within the TTFA of those who got where they are simply to reap the benefits.
“You have to be getting something out of the organisation and that’s all you care about. You don’t care about boys playing primary schools football and which ones will be the next national players for Trinidad and Tobago; which ones will be the next Dwight Yorke, the next Russell Latapy; which ones will be playing for Liverpool or Arsenal or Spurs. But we (the TTFA) don’t think like that any more in this country. That’s why we’re lagging behind everybody.”
He said he cannot see anything changing until the administration is voted out. “You can’t run an organisation like that if you want to compete in the world of football.”
SOURCE: T&T Newsday