As the T&T Football Association (TTFA) continues to limp from one financial shake-up to another, with the news that fired former technical director Kendall Walkes is demanding at least TT$2.5 million to lift the garnishee order over the TTFA's bank account, now comes news that recently fired national senior men's head coach Dennis Lawrence and his management team, led by English-based agent Mike Berry, have reported the TTFA to FIFA for the non-payment of monies owed on his contract and outstanding salaries.
Speaking with host Andre Errol Baptiste on Isports on i95.5fm, Saturday night on a range of topics and issues, president of the TTFA William Wallace said, "I have sent an email to Dennis Lawrence's agent Mike Berry probably over the last two weeks ago but he has not responded. We have apprised him of the situation and that we are working towards, getting Dennis his money for him."
Wallace said, "I would not doubt it. Dennis' agent is an Englishman and I assume that he may have taken the matter to FIFA. It is a concern, it is a debt that we have to pay. If he goes to FIFA, then we have to pay the debt, just as Carolina Morace (fired women’s coach) case went to FIFA and they deducted it from our money actually, that they were sent to us."
Business associate paid February salaries
FIFA gives each country a grant of US$1.2 million in two tranches. The first one (US$600,000) is due in January but delayed and the second one later in the year. This money is to be utilised to the cover administration costs primarily of the TTFA office, so any deduction for monies rightfully owed to Lawrence will come out of that, meaning that the staff will suffer for salaries.
Wallace revealed how TTFA's salaries were paid in February, given the freezing of the TTFA’s bank account. He said: "We did, we did get a donor, a local donor, to advance us the money to pay the staff so the staff was paid."
This was confirmed by the general secretary of the TTFA, Ramesh Ramdhan, who addressed the situation also as a guest on the programme. He said, "The donor is a business associate of mine who I approached because I could not see the staff going, after working so hard with them all through Carnival and with the FIFA people here and all of that and all of them going home to their families and don't have money. I took it on my own. I told the president. The agreement I have is that as soon as our situation is resolved with respect to our bank accounts and money received, they will be paid."
Asked about the upcoming salaries for March, Ramdhan said, "I do not plan to do that."
With regards to payments to the technical staff Wallace said, "However, technical staff and coaches have not been paid. We have made a commitment to all the staff in the various teams, and we told them we are waiting for FIFA money and also our accounts being frozen."
Asked about payment for the national senior coach Terry Fenwick, Wallace said, "The national senior coach has not started anything yet but in the coming week. His contract started in January and he too is apprised of the situation but the reception for all the coaches has been extremely good, they are with us, they understand the situations and they're awaiting the outcomes so they can be paid."
When questioned as to if Keith Look Loy, the chairman of the technical committee is being paid, Wallace responded, "No he is not being paid, he is doing this voluntary, no payment is being made to him.
Look Loy v La Foucade
However, in responding to question about differences between Look Loy and a member of the technical staff which has the potential of also reaching as a dispute Wallace said, "Nothing has come to my attention but if it comes to me, I will deal with it."
However, Ramdhan revealed an issue of concern has come to his attention. He said, "The technical director (Dion La Foucade) came to me with the same concerns, consistent with what Mr Wallace just said. There was this organisational chart, which has the chairman of the technical committee at the top of it so he (technical director) is looking at the FIFA guidelines governing the technical directors of any country and saying that he is following that to the 'T'. That is at variance with the structure that was approved by the board, so there are some differences there and he (La Foucade) is insisting that he should be in the position based on what FIFA regulations states."
Ramdhan continued: "We just heard it varies from country to country. There's a stalemate, however, FIFA technical committee is sending someone along with the regional head of the technical department to Trinidad and all these matters should be settled when they arrive."
Further discussions are expected on both health and travel concerns regarding the impending match between the men’s national senior team and Canada in light of the Coronavirus.
However, it was revealed that several new faces will be joining the T&T squad.
"I have had meetings with the national coach and we are currently looking at around nine overseas-based players, from the United States and England, some playing in the Championship Division," Ramdhan said.
La Foucade was appointed Technical Director of T&T football on January 17.
Wallace quells Avec concerns
Wallace disputed the fact, that there are claims that uniform deal sponsors Avec sports is too small a company to be able to be involved in a deal such as the reported TT$25 million contract, he said, "Their parent contract – Just Sports – is a large outfit and the TTFA has a contract which today (Saturday), I presented to the board and we also have a contract for cash with Caribbean Chemicals of TT$1,000,000 spread over the life of the contract with the other $500,000 in materials."
SOURCE: T&T Guardian