The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) today, released a statement regarding Minister of Sport, Brent Sancho's claim that the organization has not been forthcoming regarding funds received from CONCACAF.
Minister Sancho told Wired868.com CEO and Editor Lasana Liburd: “I am drawing the line in the sand,” and suggested that the TTFA was being less than forthright about its true financial position. We want to try our best to make the athletes happy but this is a song that has been playing for donkey years…
“If one party is seemingly not operating in the most honest way, then we have a problem.”
“They told us that they only had $13,000 (TT) in their account so they couldn’t pay for visas for the Under-23 Team,” said Sancho “but one of the challenges we have is gauging what they have and what they don’t have because we got information that they received $100,000 US from CONCACAF.
“Then, when they knew we were aware of it, they said they would get the money at the end of July. Then, when we asked why preparatory money would only be available after the tournament, they came back and said they would get it by the end of the week, ended Sancho."
Furthermore, if T&T book a quarter-final spot in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, local fans will be hit the hardest as the T&T Government failed to land television rights for the entire competition. The rights normally cost US$100,000. CONCACAF, reportedly dropped its asking price to US$60,000 for both Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti. Local television stations, including state-owned CNMG and GISL found the asking price to be a sum not worth streaming.
The TTFA meanwhile refute Sancho's statement and issued a press release that shed-light on the Minister's accusations.
TTFA PRESS RELEASE -
The TTFA wishes to emphatically rebut recent assertions made by Minister of Sport, Brent Sancho, claiming our organization has not been forthcoming regarding supporting funds received from CONCACAF.
By way of written communication and via meetings between representatives of the Ministry and TTFA, the Ministry was alerted to funds available to TTFA from CONCACAF. It is clear, however, that the Ministry has not taken into consideration CONCACAF funds received would be shared among several of our national teams and not solely preserved for the Senior Men’s National Team.
The TTFA has received $71,000 USD from CONCACAF for use by our national teams currently in training and competition.
Of the $71,000 received, $25,161.14 USD has been used to support the travel-related expenses of our senior men’s team, U23 men’s team, U17 women’s team, and U20 women’s team. In anticipation of the disbursement from the Cabinet note that was specifically earmarked for the Senior Men's National, the TTFA sought to provide funding for other lower profile, but equally important national teams
These expenses include US visa payments, lodging, excess baggage fees, medical supplies for travel, and insurance. Therefore and contrary to a building narrative pushed, the TTFA was successful in sourcing alternative funding to support its teams in an effort to reduce dependency on the Ministry.
Despite our best efforts, communication with the Ministry continues to be an issue. We have worked with members of the Ministry who have, at heart, the best interests of T&T football and the TTFA will continue to work assiduously with the Ministry to achieve these common objectives. However, it is vital for the two entities to work together on behalf of the national team players and technical staff who represent our twin island republic.
We have engaged in successful collaboration with the Ministry of Sports in the past and recently received tremendous support from the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of National Security in obtaining duties waivers for our national team kit.
However, since Minister Sancho’s appointment, recent incidents, including what can only be described as a coercive action where the ministry threatened at the last minute to withhold funding for our March friendly against Panama unless the TTFA accepted responsibility for a $625,000 travel bill authorized by the Ministry in 2014, have created an environment that is not conducive to working together on behalf of our national footballers and technical staff.
Since the new TTFA administration took office, we have confronted numerous fiscal challenges inherited from the previous TTFF administrations with a solid plan to address the financial health of the organization.
We have managed to successfully engage in an aggressive debt reduction effort that has seen TTFA debt reduced from the $36 million that was met to currently $13 million in the space of 18 months. We have engaged KPMG to restart their efforts in organizing TTFF audit reports; which were discontinued in 2008 and have authorized our audit partners to publish the completed reports from 2008 – 2014, which will be a first for the organization.
At the end of July, the TTFA will unveil its new brand, Socawarriors, to the public and the purpose will be utilize the revenue stream developed from Socawarriors gear sales to support national team players and technical staff in an effort to further reduce our dependence on government to compensate the two most vital pillars of the football family.
The TTFA has continuously stated its desire to work with the Ministry of Sport as a partner in advancing our football on the international level. We are hopeful the Minister can recall his days as a national footballer pushing to solicit support from the government, private sector, and the governing body for the benefit of his teammates. Minister Sancho is now in the position to assist the TTFA in providing the same benefits and opportunities to current national team players he sought in his playing days. It is our hope that patriotism above politics will win out and the spirit of cooperation will prevail for the advancement of football, the game we all love, in Trinidad and Tobago.
TTFA USE OF CONCACAF TRAVEL FUND AND GOLD CUP ADVANCE (USD)
VISA PAYMENTS - $4,192.50
BAGGAGE CHARGES - $1,493.74
INSURANCE - $1,744.37
GROUND TRANSPORTATION - $2,546.87
MEALS - $1,269.60
MEDICAL SUPPLIES - $5,950.31
TRAVEL KIT - $2,851.25
LODGING - $5,112.50
MATCH FEES - $33,000.00
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