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‘I’m doing my job’
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TTFA boss defends Futsal appeal, $4m spent

TTFA (TT Football Association) president David John-Williams has defending the appeal filed by the local governing body in the High Court, over the matter involving the national futsal team.

On December 13 2018, the team was awarded $475,743 plus interest at three per cent per annum, along with legal costs, in a High Court ruling. The team sued the TTFA for unpaid salaries, stipends and match fees for their participation at the 2016 CONCACAF Futsal Championship in Costa Rica.

The TTFA filed an appeal in the matter but the High Court, in mid-March, issued the TTFA a garnishee order.

And, on Thursday, the court gave consent to the Futsal team’s legal team (Keston McQuilkin and Melissa Roberts-John) to receive over $270,000 from the TTFA’s six frozen accounts at First Citizens.

Speaking to the media at the Home of Football project at Balmain, Couva yesterday, John-Williams said, “Any matter is subject to an appeal. I think it’s important that the media does some investigating into the case. The TTFA has done what it’s supposed to do in this matter.

“The Futsal players have done what they think is best, whether it affects T&T football or not. At the end of the day, we’ll see where it ends.”

John-Williams said upon taking office in December 2015, the TTFA has been dealing with countless lawsuits stemming from the previous administration, which has placed the local body in further debt.

“Since I took up office, from day one, it was a blow. We had a players’ strike within five days. We had to pay (T&T Under-17 women’s coach) Even Pellerud or else face elimination from World Cup qualifying. We’ve had a series of stuff, a series of court judgements. There were players (and) coaches with outstanding salaries. A lot of things are going to come out in the public domain.”

He continued, “Under my tenure as president, it has seemed very controversial (but) I beg to differ. But the old people say when they’re criticising you is when you’re doing something good. At the end of the day, you’ll see who’s telling the truth.

“People tend to be critical but they’re not seeing the positive things. It’s just that this president doesn’t talk because it’s not my business to beat my chest. I’m doing my job to the best of my ability.”

Yesterday, TT futsal team manager Ronald Brereton was reported as saying that the TTFA did not release funds to the team from a US$600,000 subvention received from FIFA.

John-Williams said, “The money that we get from FIFA is for specific projects. There is no secret that we spent $4 million over the last five months, but you must ask the question, 'What it was spent on?' It was spent (on) a specific purpose. If people want to make mischief with it, so be it. At the end of the day, we’ll see what (are) the facts.”

The TTFA president revealed, “Our FIFA Forward money that we got for 2019, our first payment, FIFA deducted US$100,000, for (over) $300,000 that the Association has owed FIFA since 2010.”

Office staff of the TTFA were not paid last month, and John-Williams said, “This is the first time that the staff hasn’t been paid and we’ve communicated that to them. They understand what the situation is.

“We have to apologise for that. It’s an unplanned situation. It’s something that this administration has no control over, but we’re addressing it.”