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Mon, Jul

DJW: They want to destroy the TTFA! Defiant President responds to frozen bank account with dubious ‘facts’
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Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams broke his silence this evening on legal action taken by the National Futsal Team with defiance and a twisted version of events that led to the football body’s bank account being frozen by the courts.

The TTFA’s First Citizen Bank account was garnisheed yesterday after the organisation failed to honour a court order to pay TT$475,743 plus interest at three per cent per annum to 15 Futsal players and five technical staff members for unpaid salaries, match fees, per diems and expenses as well as TT$69,200.82 for the claimant’s legal costs.

The Futsal players and staff were represented in the High Court by Keston McQuilkin and Melissa Keisha Roberts-John while Annand Misir and Janelle Ganness appeared for the TTFA.

John-Williams, in a press statement, claimed that the Futsal court case was part of a debt inherited from the previous administration.

“We at the TTFA have inherited a debt of over 30 million dollars incurred by the previous administrations,” stated John-Williams, “and continue the uphill task of addressing that financial situation, while also addressing the ongoing operating requirements of the Association.

“The facts are that while these are not debts created by the David John Williams Administration, they remain the debt of the TTFA.”

In truth, John-Williams’ statement was not factual at all and flew in the face of the High Court judgment delivered by Justice Margaret Y Mohammed. Justice Mohammed declared, last December, that the deceptive behaviour of the John-Williams-led football body was a key factor in her ruling.

“In my opinion it was disingenuous for the [John-Williams-led TTFA] to adopt the position it took with respect to the payment of the monthly stipends, per diem and match fees to the [Futsal] technical staff and the players respectively,” stated Justice Mohammed, “since based on the [TTFA’s] conduct, it actively led the [Futsal Team] to believe that nothing had changed and that the [TTFA] would have honoured the oral agreement made by Mr Tim Kee on behalf of the [TTFA].

“[…] In cross-examination, Mr John-Williams’ evidence on this issue was entirely discredited.”

John-Williams said the TTFA could not pay off its creditors and suggested that the controversial Home of Football project was the answer to the problems without offering any details as to how the almost completed facility—itself already mired in court action—would help the football body to address its debts in the short term.

“This matter at hand has to be dealt with in the same manner as other matters of a similar nature that we have dealt with over the past three year period,” stated John-Williams, who also owes an array of former coaches and staff including Stephen Hart, Russell Latapy, Anton Corneal and Sheldon Phillips. “Unfortunately the funding is just not there at this time to service these debts, but we at the TTFA continue to soldier on.

“Hence the reason for emphasis on completing the Hotel and the Home of Football, which will be a major income generation project not just for football but will change the face of sport in Trinidad and Tobago.”

Despite claiming to be unable to meet his financial obligations, John-Williams went on to apparently slam the very creditors whose patience and sympathy he must rely on to keep the football body afloat.

“We are very mindful of those whose sole agenda is to destroy Trinidad and Tobago football by their actions,” said the TTFA president, “but under no circumstances shall they derive such a result.

“The TTFA has [sought] to embrace all persons and resources who we have determined willing to rebuild football in Trinidad and Tobago, and will continue the work necessary to achieve success with the administration of football in Trinidad and Tobago.”

The 15 Futsal players who succeeded in the legal action against the TTFA were: captain Jerwyn Balthazar, Kevin Graham, Adrian Pirthysingh, Colin Joseph, Kerry Joseph, Jameel Neptune, Ishmael Daniel, Anthony Small, Kevaughn Connell, Keston Guy, Kareem Perry, Jamel Lewis, Noel Williams, Bevon Bass and Cyrano Glen—whose elder brother Cornell Glen was one of 13 Soca Warriors who successfully sued the TTFA in the landmark ‘2006 World Cup bonus dispute’.

The technical staff members were: Clayton Morris (head coach), Ronald Brereton (manager), Sterling O’Brian (assistant coach), Perry Martin (goalkeeper coach) and Brent Elder (trainer).

Morris, the captain of the iconic 1989 Strike Squad team, said the Futsal team were forced to take action after being continually disrespected by John-Williams.

“I’ve played football all my life and it leaves a bitter taste to have to take the governing body to court, just to demand respect,” said Morris, “for people who gave up family time and so much of their lives to do something positive for their country.

“These are players who sacrificed four days a week, three hours a day to prepare. Sometimes while they are training, their children are at the sidelines doing homework. [Guy] had a newborn baby and sometimes the mother would be there breastfeeding at 10 in the night while we trained.

“And for them to turn around and disrespect us in that way…”

(Full statement by TTFA president David John-Williams)

Documents on the action taken by persons who have approached the court to have instructions issued to freeze the bank accounts of the TTFA last Friday was received on Monday March 18th 2019 by the TTFA

We at the TTFA have inherited a debt of over 30 million dollars incurred by the previous administrations and continue the uphill task of addressing that financial situation, while also addressing the ongoing operating requirements of the Association.

The facts are that while these are not debts created by the David John Williams Administration, they remain the debt of the TTFA.

This matter at hand has to be dealt with in the same manner as other matters of a similar nature that we have dealt with over the past three year period.

Unfortunately the funding is just not there at this time to service these debts, but we at the TTFA continue to soldier on, hence the reason for emphasis on completing the Hotel and the Home of Football which will be a major income generation project not just for football but will change the face of sport in Trinidad and Tobago.

We are very mindful of those whose sole agenda is to destroy Trinidad and Tobago Football by their actions, but under no circumstances shall they derive such a result.

The TTFA has sort [sic] to embrace all persons and resources who we have determined willing to rebuild football in Trinidad and Tobago, and will continue the work necessary to achieve success with the administration of football in Trinidad and Tobago.