Sat, Jan

TTFA members push back; black eye for DJW-led board as “unconstitutional” AGM postponed.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s (TTFA) membership must meet again in two weeks after this morning’s Annual General Meeting was postponed owing to general secretary Justin Latapy-George’s failure to provide all members with the necessary documents on time—as stipulated by the TTFA Constitution.

Latapy-George had followed the instructions of the David John-Williams-led board, who felt that only compliant members should have access to the TTFA’s financial documents and other information.

During the week, John-Williams held a media conference and visited at least one television morning show to make his case—and Wired868 pointed to some inconsistencies with his message in an earlier story.

In the end, the TTFA board was stopped in its tracks by the membership at today’s meeting in the National Cycling Centre in Couva.

Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association (TTRFA) vice-president Osmond Downer, according to one member, used the constitution to rein in John-Williams and company.

“Downer read from Section 10 of the constitution and informed them that they violated members’ rights when they didn’t send them the convocation,” Central Football Association (CFA) general secretary Clynt Taylor told Wired868. “They had no authority to send to [nine] members and not the full membership. Every member remains a member unless suspended so, according to the constitution, they have to send the convocation to all members.”

Owing to the “voluminous amount of documentation” contained in the convocation, Downer called a vote for the AGM to be postponed for two weeks so members could peruse the documents and be able to comment more effectively.

There were different opinions as to how to proceed, though. Some members, including a Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) faction, felt the AGM should continue and deal with other issues on the agenda outside of the financial documents, which could be left for the postponed meeting.

In the end, a vote was called only for a two-week postponement of the entire meeting. Seventeen members agreed with Downer’s motion, four disagreed and 14—inclusive of the TTSL representatives—abstained.

Incidentally, there was a turnout of 35 TTFA delegates from a total of 49, which was over 70 percent and possibly the highest attendance of John-Williams’ term as football president. Arguably, it showed too that members did not take lightly the threat of losing their rights.

According to a source, John-Williams informed FIFA of his move to ignore more than 60 percent of the TTFA’s membership before Latapy-George sent out the convocation. The members were not having it, though.

Wired868 asked John-Williams whether he took responsibility for the violation of the TTFA Constitution which forced the postponement of the AGM and disappointed the majority of the football body’s membership. He had not responded up until the time of publication.

Latapy-George declined comment.

The AGM followed a reconvened Extraordinary General Meeting in which only one member was needed to constitute a quorum; 26 delegates turned up.

Although John-Williams spent much of the past week stressing that over 60 percent of the TTFA’s members had lost their rights on 12 January 2017, owing to a transitory clause implemented two years ago, the EOGM was told that CONCACAF had actually relaxed deadlines on the matter of compliance.

All clubs, according to Taylor, have until 31 May 2018 to become compliant while the deadline for zonal associations is 31 December 2018.

Downer moved that all TTFA members be given a new deadline of 31 March 2018 to be compliant. Again, it was not unanimous.

Look Loy suggested that having the compliance deadline so close to the start of the domestic season could leave organisers scrambling to adjust schedules if clubs were then found to be non-compliant. And the TTSL president countered that the deadline should be 31 December 2017.

In the end, though, the EGM opted to compel all non-compliant members to submit a report by 31 January 2018, which spelled out their individual difficulties so they could be addressed before the 31 March deadline.

The EGM was followed immediately by the AGM. But, because the John-Williams-led board had willfully withheld relevant documents from its members—when constitutionally due—on the shaky ground of compliance, the meeting was called off before it had properly begun.