Thu, May


For­mer FI­FA vice pres­i­dent, Jack Warn­er, is set to sue the T&T Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (TTFA) for $15.7 mil­lion af­ter claim­ing the debt was writ­ten off at a board meet­ing. Speak­ing on the Morn­ing Brew yes­ter­day as part of a pan­el dis­cus­sion on the state of foot­ball in this coun­try, Warn­er told host Hema Ramkissoon, he in­tends to en­ter le­gal pro­ceed­ings this com­ing week.

“The lit­i­ga­tion the TTFA is fac­ing now is a joke to what is com­ing up be­cause they sat down in a meet­ing and they agreed to just, out of the blue, with­draw a loan they had on their books for some 15 years for some $15 mil­lion to Jack Warn­er,” he said.

TTFA pres­i­dent, David John-Williams, would nei­ther con­firm nor de­ny yes­ter­day whether Warn­er’s claim was cor­rect. He told Guardian Me­dia Sports, “The on­ly thing I would say on that mat­ter is that Ray­mond Tim Kee wrote to Mr Jack Warn­er in 2015 say­ing that the TTFA owes him $15.7 mil­lion – a copy of that let­ter I do have – and Jack Warn­er is su­ing the TTFA based on that let­ter.” Pressed fur­ther for an an­swer whether Warn­er’s debt was tak­en off the books as he al­leges, John-Williams said he would not be drawn in­to the con­tro­ver­sy “be­cause there will be a time in the com­ing weeks where I have to put every­thing on the ta­ble”.

The TTFA head said Tim Kee’s let­ter was based on an unau­dit­ed fi­nan­cial state­ment in 2012.

It was a rev­e­la­tion that came two weeks af­ter for­mer TTFA pres­i­dent, Ray­mond Tim Kee, said dur­ing a press con­fer­ence he left a debt of $14 mil­li­on when he ex­it­ed of­fice. Tim Kee backpedalled yes­ter­day dur­ing a phone con­ver­sa­tion with Guardian Me­dia Sports when asked about the in­con­sis­tent debt fig­ures that came from dif­fer­ent sources. When asked by Guardian Me­dia Sports if the debt he spoke off dur­ing the press con­fer­ence did not in­clude what is owed to Warn­er, Tim Kee said, “Yes, there are cer­tain debts that I did not in­clude in that $14 mil­lion. That $14 mil­lion were some debts with some more or less, small peo­ple with whom I had a con­ver­sa­tion, and we had agreed that when get­ting the mon­ey we were go­ing to pay them.”

The for­mer TTFA pres­i­dent al­so said a fig­ure in the range of $150 thou­sand is owed to him and was not in­clud­ed in the debt he pre­sent­ed at the press con­fer­ence. He went fur­ther to ad­vise, “When you are in­volved in foot­ball at an ex­ec­u­tive lev­el, don’t make the mis­take and spend your own mon­ey… We have a ten­den­cy to put your hands in your pock­et to re­cov­er when sit­u­a­tions change but what I have found is that when you do that there are ques­tions peo­ple ask, and the ques­tion is whether you want to go through that with all the al­le­ga­tions.”

Tim Kee was then asked if he felt, ac­cord­ing to his state­ment, when Warn­er gave of his per­son­al fi­nances, that there was a risk of him not get­ting it back. He re­spond­ed by say­ing, “I didn’t bear any in­ten­tion not to pay the debt, that’s why I paid the amount I did. I paid 27 peo­ple from 48… so my phi­los­o­phy is to pay the debt.” How­ev­er, the for­mer TTFA pres­i­dent, who served be­tween 2012 and 2015, said he opt­ed to pay the small­er cred­i­tors be­cause they need­ed it more ur­gent­ly.

Warn­er’s de­ci­sion to take le­gal ac­tion was met with im­me­di­ate op­po­si­tion by the Morn­ing Brew pan­el of for­mer T&T foot­baller Brent San­cho, and for­mer Cale­do­nia AIA chair­man, Louis Lee Sing.

The lat­ter said, “Not be­cause some­thing that was not in the best in­ter­est of the game hap­pened un­der his stew­ard­ship should we en­cour­age it in the now. Times have changed.” San­cho, on the oth­er hand, re­marked, “Let foot­ball stop air­ing their dirty linen in pub­lic. It’s un­for­tu­nate to hear that Mr Warn­er is go­ing to con­tin­ue in this vein of crush­ing the fed­er­a­tion.”

SOURCE:T&T Guardian