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Sat, Aug

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The Trinidad and To­ba­go Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion's (TTFA) board of di­rec­tors will be seek­ing an­swers from pres­i­dent Williams Wal­lace with re­gards to his roles in both the Kendall Walkes and Shel­don Phillips court mat­ters when it meets at the Home of Foot­ball in Bal­main, Cou­va, to­day.

Speak­ing to Guardian Me­dia Sports on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty, a board mem­ber yes­ter­day said if what the T&T Guardian re­port­ed ear­li­er this week is true, then Wal­lace has to say some­thing to the board be­cause he can­not be a wit­ness to a le­gal mat­ter in­volv­ing Walkes and now sit on be­half of the TTFA to lead ne­go­ti­a­tions in­volv­ing Walkes. The board mem­ber said this was a con­flict of in­ter­est.

Con­tact­ed on the is­sue, Brent San­cho, an­oth­er board mem­ber who rep­re­sents the T&T Pro League, said, "With re­gards to the Walkes and Phillps court mat­ters which are en­gag­ing the TTFA, there are three sides to a sto­ry and I am wait­ing to hear from the pres­i­dent him­self at our board meet­ing to­mor­row (to­day) be­fore I com­ment."

On Feb­ru­ary 13, 2020, Walkes, through at­tor­ney Melis­sa Roberts-John, took out a gar­nishee court or­der that froze the TTFA's ac­counts, ef­fec­tive­ly shut­ting down its op­er­a­tions, fol­low­ing a rul­ing by the High Court which award­ed Walkes just un­der US$800,000 (TT$5.3 mil­lion) for breach of con­tract by the as­so­ci­a­tion in 2016.

A team from FI­FA, the sports world body, which com­pris­es Fi­nance Co­or­di­na­tor (FI­FA) Mehmet Dir­lik, Fi­nance Man­ag­er (CON­CA­CAF) Ale­jan­dro Ke­sende, mem­ber of the CON­CA­CAF Fi­nance De­part­ment Dal­ly Fuentes and Amer­i­can Va­le­ria Yepes, an in­de­pen­dent au­di­tor, were in T&T ear­li­er this week to ver­i­fy the T&TFA's cur­rent debt and get a sense of the le­gal mat­ters that are be­fore the courts.

It was the same sit­u­a­tion in 2019 when the Fut­sal team won a court or­der for TT$544,943 for un­paid salaries, match fees, per diem, al­lowances and ex­pens­es and Veron Mosen­go-om­ba was at the helm of that CON­CA­CAF team that vis­it­ed.

The TTFA has al­so with­drawn Phillips' mat­ter from the In­dus­tri­al Court based on a promised set­tle­ment from the Wal­lace's ad­min­is­tra­tion of US$1,442,053.35.

Mean­while, when asked about the new TT$25 mil­lion dol­lars uni­form deal from the UK Sports com­pa­ny Avec, San­cho said, "Again, I can­not com­ment be­cause I, like most board mem­bers, have not seen the con­tract."

Ac­cord­ing to the source, how­ev­er, Wal­lace must let the board know what was his in­volve­ment in both mat­ters be­fore the board can make an in­formed de­ci­sion.

Guardian Me­dia Sports has seen wit­ness state­ments in the on­go­ing le­gal bat­tle be­tween Walkes and the TTFA which were filed on June 8, 2018, by then for­mer TTFA pres­i­dent Ray­mond Tim Kee (de­ceased), for­mer gen­er­al sec­re­tary Shel­don Phillips, Walkes and Wal­lace.

The state­ments gave tes­ti­mo­ny that Wal­lace was in­volved in the process of ham­mer­ing out Walkes’ con­tract from the in­cep­tion and was an ad­vi­sor to the TTFA at the meet­ing which start­ed the talks to hire the US-based coach. Walkes is in a le­gal bat­tle to re­cov­er some in TT$5.3 mil­lion in salaries owed to him and the wit­ness state­ments be­came pub­lic dur­ing the court mat­ter.

On Thurs­day, how­ev­er, Wal­lace chal­lenged the ar­ti­cle, say­ing it made in­cor­rect and in­ac­cu­rate judg­ments based on er­ro­neous in­for­ma­tion.

"My role at the one and on­ly meet­ing I at­tend­ed in re­la­tion to Mr Walkes’ ap­point­ment as TTFA tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor was as an as­sis­tant to the sec­re­tari­at and in my ca­pac­i­ty as se­nior men’s team man­ag­er dur­ing the can­di­date iden­ti­fi­ca­tion process,” Wal­lace wrote in a let­ter.

“The items dis­cussed dur­ing this meet­ing which re­quired my in­put in­clud­ed lo­gis­tics and plan­ning for Mr Walkes’ re­turn to Trinidad once he was se­lect­ed. There were not fi­nal con­trac­tu­al de­tails at this point. There­after I was nev­er privy to any de­tails on Mr Walkes’ fi­nal con­tract."

In Wal­lace's wit­ness state­ment, which Guardian Me­dia Sports re­ceived a copy of, he was list­ed as team man­ag­er from 2013 to 2016 and he de­tailed all that was dis­cussed at the first meet­ing.

Part of Wal­lace's wit­ness to the Court reads:

“In on around Feb­ru­ary 2015 the De­fen­dant (TTFA) had a round ta­ble in­ter­view with Mr Kendall Walkes “here­after the Claimant” at the De­fen­dants then Hase­ly Craw­ford Na­tion­al Sta­di­um Head­quar­ters. The De­fen­dants, then-Pres­i­dent Ray­mond Tim Kee as well as the De­fen­dant's then-Gen­er­al Sec­re­tary Mr Shel­don Phillips “here­after Mr Phillips” were present at the said in­ter­view. I was al­so present at this meet­ing.

“These dis­cus­sions in­clud­ed but not lim­it­ed to month­ly re­mu­ner­a­tions and/or hous­ing, tele­phone ben­e­fits as well as oth­er con­trac­tu­al in­cen­tives such as re­lo­ca­tion and trans­porta­tion com­pen­sa­tion with re­spect to the po­si­tion. Pri­or to the in­ter­view con­clud­ing there was a ver­bal of­fer be­tween the Claimant and the De­fen­dant with re­spect to the Tech­ni­cal Di­rec­tor po­si­tion.”


SOURCE: T&T Guardian