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Thu, Jun

Look Loy: Money woes reflect instability within TTFA.
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KEITH LOOK LOY, president of the TT Super League, has bemoaned the instability within the TT Football Association (TTFA), after members of the national men’s team called on TTFA president David John-Williams to pay outstanding match fees, for the period October 2017 till now.

Last week, the T&T futsal team were awarded victory at the High Court over outstanding salaries. There were also complaints by members of both the T&T women’s and men’s Under-20 squad about the lack of respect shown to them, ahead of World Cup qualifiers, by the local governing body.

“This is not the first national team to find themselves in a crisis and in a freefall,” said Look Loy yesterday. “This is further evidence of complete mismanagement.

“The players are saying that the TTFA cannot be trusted,” Look Loy added. “That’s a terrible indictment, not only on the TTFA but the (leadership). We’re looking bad.”

He continued, “When we look at what happened with the futsal team, (the TTFA) are sending us into frivolous legal matters that (they) cannot win. (John-Williams) is not receiving the approval of the Board to do this and we have to pay extraordinary sums of money.”

The Super League president noted, “When you get to the point where players (are) speaking publicly, you know the point of desperation that they have reached.”

If the players indeed go on strike, it will severely impact the immediate plans of T&T coach Dennis Lawrence, whose contract is set to expire in January.

“This will be a terrible blow to the image of (the) TTFA and T&T football,” Look Loy said. “No player goes on strike easy because they want to play.”

He added, “The situation with the coach is up in the air. Nobody knows what is happening with that. John-Williams is refusing to bring a discussion on Lawrence’s future to the board. The board has to make a technical (and) financial analysis to decide if to keep Lawrence in place or bring in somebody new.”

The CONCACAF Gold Cup is set to take place from June 15 to July 7.

According to Look Loy, “With the Gold Cup on the horizon, to have a coach who doesn’t know what his future is, players (who) don’t know what their future is, and the president is busy arranging matches that the players are saying they’re not going to play. It is farcical.

“It is a reflection of the instability in the management of the TTFA, and the management of all our teams,” he added.

After their participation at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, 13 members of the then “Soca Warriors” sued the TTFA over unfulfilled promises and bonuses. The players were awarded an interim payment of US$1.14 million by the High Court in March 2011.

“When you make an agreement with players, then you have to fulfil your side of the bargain,” Look Loy said. “The players who sued in 2006 and the players who’re threatening to strike now are justified.”

With regards to the Home of Football project at Balmain, Couva, Look Loy refused to be drawn into speculation that the venture has been given prominence by the TTFA, at the expense of various T&T teams.

“That is speculation until it could be proven, and that is why I have been demanding, (since 2017) Boxing Day, documents. And I can’t see them yet. But we have programmes in the TTFA that are sponsored, and people are not being paid,” Look Loy said. “That is all part of the lack of transparency in the Association.”

Look Loy also mentioned the reconvened Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the VIP room, Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on December 9, when he failed to gather support from TTFA board members for a motion to dismiss John-Williams.

“We have those who’re benefitting from what’s happening, those who’re afraid to vote because they’re afraid to be victimised and we have those who just don’t know any better, and that allows (the leadership) to continue.”

Repeated attempts to reach John-Williams for a comment proved futile up to press time last evening.