Mon, Jan

Wallace: I lied about Peter Miller; TTFA president admits giving contract to controversial Englishman

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president William Wallace lied to his vice-presidents, the board and the media about the relationship between controversial English marketing man Peter Miller and the local football body—because Miller asked him to.

Two months after Wallace told Wired868 that Miller was not the TTFA’s marketing officer, the besieged official admitted yesterday he had not been honest.

His confession came amidst a stream of leaked internal TTFA documents to regional programme, SportsMax. The controversial contracts were handed over by general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan to normalisation committee chairman Richard Hadad last month.

Was a Miller contract among the SportsMax-bound treasure trove?

Wired868 asked Wallace if such a document existed and, after more than a month of denials, the TTFA president admitted that it did.

“There is a Peter Miller arrangement and it is one I didn’t want to talk about, due to him asking me not to disclose it at a particular point in time,” Wallace told Wired868. “His arrangement was that monies to be paid to him would come directly from sponsorships, so it was contingent on what he brought in.”

Wired868: Was it a flat monthly figure—and not a commission as previously suggested?

Wallace: “[It was] flat numbers and the flat numbers were supposed to be worked out based on monies collected from sponsorships. For instance, the Arima deal alone would have been TT$50 million. We were supposed to be getting TT$10 million per year over the next four years; and that was cash.

“[…] So he sent something pointing to specific numbers and he sent a document that we signed—and that is our arrangement with Miller and his team of people.”

(The Arima Borough Corporation did not accept the TTFA’s pitch to redevelop the Arima Velodrome.)

Wired868: Is it true, as has been suggested, that Miller’s contract was for US$20,000 (TT$135,000) per month plus commission?

Wallace: “The figures I can’t remember off the top of my head because that is not money I have to find to pay him. The TTFA is not liable to pay him. His payment was contingent on what what he brings to the TTFA. It is based on the whole roll out of sponsorships with Miller who then has to pay his other people from that.

“If you didn’t bring anything then you have nothing to get. I had no problem with the numbers. The arrangement was based on the monies coming in and his payment would have been based on how hard he worked.”

Wired868: Why did you tell us there was no contract? And why did you not declare it to the TTFA Board?

Wallace: “I gave him my word because he didn’t want his contract revealed to the public. In due course, it would have happened but I gave him my word.

“[…] I am of the belief that the president is responsible for commercial deals and finding sponsorships. The board is not finding us any sponsorship. So my position is if you are bringing $1,000 to the table and you want $500 from it, then I have no problem with that—because I have $500 more than I started with.”

Incidentally, the TTFA Constitution does not include sourcing sponsorship among the responsibilities of the football president. Instead, article 54 says the board should activate a marketing committee to: ‘advise the board of directors with regard to drafting and implementing contracts between TTFA and its marketing partners and analyse marketing strategies that have been devised’.

Miller’s first job in Trinidad, almost 20 years ago, was at the W Connection Football Club, owned by former TTFA president David John-Williams. He then took up an executive role at the Football Company of Trinidad and Tobago (FCoTT) under Jack Warner.

In both cases, Miller is believed to have delivered considerably less than he promised. His departure came after an unflattering two-part series on his record as a salesman by this reporter for the Trinidad Express newspaper.

Miller was subsequently accused of more of the same—and much, much worse—further afield, including at English lower league clubs: Northampton, Luton Town and Port Vale.

Wallace did not get independent legal advice for Miller’s contract or show it to his board or vice-presidents. Incidentally, the Englishman was involved in the TTFA’s deals with Nike and Avec Sport and represented Men’s National Senior Team head coach Terry Fenwick in his salary negotiations—all of which ultimately caused headaches for Wallace’s administration.

When Wired868 asked about Miller on 6 April, Look Loy said the Englishman was involved in the United TTFA’s electoral campaign and he believed that he was working on commission.

“I obviously know that he was involved in organising some of these promised sponsorships that were unveiled when the United TTFA ran its [election] campaign, like the Nike deal,” Look Loy said then. “And when that fell down, he played a part in the Avec Sport contract. He never held a TTFA post but he might have been doing marketing work.

“My position to the board was that we should outsource [marketing and sales] to more than one entity on a commission basis, so if you bring a dollar you get 10 cents…”

Up to the time of publication, Look Loy said he knew nothing about any contract to Miller.

Three months ago, Wallace insisted that Miller’s signature as ‘marketing director’ on a document with British developers, Lavender Consulting Limited, was an ‘error’.

“We did discuss outsourcing marketing at the board but we have not yet signed off with any individual or entity,” said Wallace. “Peter [Miller] worked with us before the elections and continued work after the elections; and I am sure when the pre-elections plans started to unfold, he would have been considered and proposed to the board.

“[…] It was originally ‘United TTFA’, so [his signature as TTFA marketing director on a Lavender document] is an error that carried over. The discussion [regarding the Lavender] deal started before the elections.”

Wallace admitted yesterday that he was less than truthful. However, he hopes for the chance to put his view across to the membership and insisted that his actions did not put the local football body at risk.

Last week, Wallace’s United TTFA slate, which included vice-presidents Clynt Taylor, Susan Warrick-Joseph and Sam Phillip, Northern FA president Anthony Harford and Look Loy, said they were stunned to learn that the president signed a deal with Fenwick that included crucial terms not agreed to by the board.

It was the second time that something of that nature occurred, after he kept them—and the board—in the dark about agreeing a deal with Avec Sport in March.

On the weekend, Wallace and his colleagues held a virtual meeting on the Zoom online platform and the president was asked whether there were any other secret contracts that they should be aware of.

He allegedly responded ‘no’.

So, on Monday night, Look Loy hit the roof when SportsMax revealed that Wallace also unilaterally changed the terms of his general secretary’s contract.

Yesterday, the United TTFA fired back by comparing Wallace’s behaviour to that of his predecessor, John-Williams—a broadside that Harford felt went too far.

Today, however, Wallace reveals another skeleton, in the form of a clandestine Miller deal with terms that remain unclear. He said it is his last secret.