Eddison Dean, the candidate nominated by Richard Ferguson for first vice-president position in T&T Football Association's (TTFA) November 24 elections, has withdrawn from the slate and to support United TTFA.
His decision came after attending a breakfast launch at the President's Box at the Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain on Saturday, where the United TTFA presidential candidate William Wallace delivered a comprehensive presentation of his group's manifesto and a promised of financial investments to start his term of office.
In his withdrawal statement issued on Sunday, Dean said: "Despite the fact that I am named as a running mate of Richard Ferguson for the TTFA elections on 24 November, I was invited, as the owner of Club Sando, to attend this event - the launch of the United TTFA election programme.
"I came with an open mind, prepared to assess what I heard. Having seen and heard the United TTFA plans for the restructuring and revival of T&T football, and moreso their plans for the financing of this major overhaul, I believe I am bound by my responsibility to football and the national community to withdraw my candidacy and to publicly declare my support for United TTFA."
At Saturday's breakfast event, Dean learned of a number of international sponsors including global sportswear giant Nike that have given their commitment to the United TTFA, should the body be elected into office at the TTFA election.
In Wallace's address, the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) president shared that well over US$30 million will be generated from international companies around the world, primarily based in India, Switzerland and the United States. He also noted that United TTFA will still attempt to source funding from government, FIFA and corporate T&T.
"The task before us requires not only major finance, which United TTFA has already begun to set in place, but also a huge collective effort on all fronts," said Dean.
He continued: "I, therefore, commit my support in the election and beyond to a new, progressive United TTFA administration and call on the membership of the TTFA to do the same. United TTFA has received an inundation of support from persons both within and outside of the TTFA since yesterday's (meaning Saturday) event."
A number of members from the football fraternity attended the breakfast event including Colin Murray, Osmund Downer and Joseph Taylor (referees), Keith Jeffrey (San Juan Jabloteh), Brent Sancho (Central FC/Pro League) and former national captain Clayton Morris.
United TTFA says, Nike deal in the pipeline.
By Jelani Beckles (Newsday).
WILLIAM Wallace, the man attempting to unseat president of the TT Football Association (TTFA) David John-Williams, is closing in on securing millions of dollars in sponsorship if elected when the TTFA elections are held on November 24.
Wallace and his team made a two-hour long presentation on their plans to help TT football move forward, at the President's Box, Queen's Park Oval, St Clair, yesterday morning in front of 50 local football stakeholders. Also going up for office with Wallace are Clynt Taylor (first vice-president), Susan Joseph-Warrick (second vice-president) and Sam Phillip (third vice-president). TT Super League president Keith Look Loy and Northern Football Association president Anthony Harford are also part of the United TTFA.
Wallace and Look Loy were the presenters with the pair outlining the team's plans and strategies that included: a national programme, regional programme, Tobago programme, youth football, women's football and competitions. Wallace even tried to inspire those in attendance through song, as Black Stalin's We Could Make It If We Try was a part of the presentation.
The moment that created a huge stir was the number of sponsors, some international, the United TTFA has already attracted if elected in three weeks. Some of the potential sponsors are Spectrum Brands, Scottish Enterprise, Tourism Ireland, Currencies Direct, The Travel Company Edinburgh and the world's largest supplier of sports apparel, footwear and accessories – Nike. These partnerships are expected to add up to millions.
On the partnership with Nike, Wallace said, "We all know who Nike is. I cannot sit in this room today and say this if I did not want to face the courts. This has happened and Nike will be in this region."
Wallace, the current president of the T&T Secondary Schools Football League, said Nike will not only sponsor uniforms. "What are they coming with? Not just giving us uniforms from the primary school to all our teams, but Nikey is coming in to set up a retail store. What does that mean for the TTFA? The venture of course will provide a permanent revenue stream to the FA."
Wallace said the partnership with Nike will pay special attention to women's football. "In addition to providing apparel for the teams, including schools, as part of an ongoing project they have a separate campaign for our women's football. Of course that will boost women's football in T&T."
In a powerpoint presentation, letters of commitment were shown to give confirmation of the interest shown by sponsors.
"I am not asking you to vote for William Wallace, I am asking you to vote for football. I am asking you to give football a chance because this is what this team is going to bring to T&T," Wallace said.
Sean Riley, founder of TV channel Flow Sports, (left Flow a few months ago), will be brought on board in an effort to have more local football on TV. Riley said, "The United TTFA reached out to me to see if I would be an adviser to help look after a few areas. Media rights in particular, also TV production and distribution of that content and creating new content and a little bit in marketing and activation of sponsorships."
Riley said he and his team have created a business called Maco Sport to serve the TTFA and maximise the value of media rights, marketing and sponsorship.
Wallace also discussed the leadership of John-Williams. He said over the last four years under John-Williams the performances of our national teams are deplorable. "Pre December 2015 our men's senior team and women's senior team brought thousands of supporters to the stadium (and) our age group teams were excelling. What was responsible for that? You need to ask yourself that question. What has happened since? Election, new administration and a total reversal of our fortunes on and off the field. Men's senior team have had record losses...women's team programme remains in disarray for an extensive period. No success at any level on the field of play, drastic fall away of our fan base. (The) recent qualifier against Honduras, 78 covered stands tickets sold." John-Williams was elected as TTFA president in November 2015.
Wallace encouraged everyone not to give up on T&T football. "If there is anyone sitting in this room who refuses to accept that our football has hit rock bottom then that person is in the wrong room...we the United TTFA are confident that the approach that we have taken would signal to you and the rest of T&T that there is definitely hope."