Sidebar

02
Thu, Jul

“Questions not asked”.
Typography

After a flood of revelations concerning William Wallace and his United TTFA colleagues, there has been a deafening silence, not only from the beleaguered president and his cohorts, but also from the media.

The intense onslaught of social media endured by David-John Williams has been woefully unrepeated in the matters of United TTFA, with barely a follow up question to either the alleged perpetrators or the stakeholders, who’s faith in the new regime now appears to have been totally misplaced.

Sportsmax, who raised the concerns over several contracts issued by Wallace and co have apparently lost interest now the EPL has restarted and even the local print and television sports journalists appear to have avoided an opportunity to track down anyone with any knowledge of, or opinion about, the latest scandal to rock the TTFA.

But why the silence when there are so many questions unanswered, some of them vital for any new administration in the future? If we don’t know what happened, how can we prevent this from happening yet again?

Some of the events, as reported by those involved, do not appear to make any sense.

For example; if an administration creates a budget and the president decides to operate outside of this budget, somewhere there will be a shortfall. So if nobody outside of Wallace was aware of the Peter Miller US$25,000 per month contract, where was Wallace going to find the TT$2 million per year? We’re not talking about an occasional roti lunch out of the petty cash, no, this salary is higher than the traditional TTFA highest salary-that of the senior men’s head coach. How on earth did Wallace expect that line item to slip past the entire board?

We are led to believe – by Wallace’s own admission and United TTFA’s statement - that the president failed to read Terry Fenwick’s contract before he signed it. That, in itself, is a frightening statement for such a large financial transaction, but even worse when we realise that the contract wasn’t drawn up by the TTFA lawyer, TTFA Technical Director, Keith Look-Loy, or the TTFA General Secretary. Unbelievably, the contract was created by Fenwick’s own lawyer! So we have the TTFA president and General Secretary signing a contract that was written by the employees lawyer that they didn’t proofread or discuss with the Vice-Presidents or Technical Director, or their own lawyer.

Then we have the Avec Sports contract, prepared by Avec’s lawyers, which stipulates that TTFA’s sponsors and/or official sportswear retailers spend over TT$1 million up front to purchase equipment. If they fail to do this, TTFA will have to pay around TT$5 million to Avec to supply uniforms for 4 years. Yet, these sponsors are not named in the contract and, therefore have no legal obligation to honour that contract. The “free” equipment to be supplied is so padded out it includes 120 tracksuits per-year for each of the 10 national teams. This contract was made available to the United TTFA leadership, so why did they not spot the glaring financial minefield contained in the deal?

And where is the contract with Sports & Games and what does it include? Surely, you would not risk $5 million on a handshake deal over a couple of bottles of Stag? While United TTFA rush to distance themselves from Wallace’s “errors”, how can they distance themselves from a kit deal so weighted against TTFA that you would find it difficult to uncover a potentially worse national kit deal.

After the above questions were raised, one would expect closer scrutiny of any other contracts that may have been issued. Keith Look-Loy, as Technical Director, presumably working to an original budget, announced the signing of a whole plethora of coaches and technical staff. Given that Millers contract alone has put a $2 million hole in that budget, will there be enough funds to honour those other contracts? The line up of employees appears to be extravagant for an organisation with a $50 million debt, including dedicated goalkeeping coaches for each age group and whispers of a

Trinidadian former EPL player added to the payroll in some capacity. Why hasn’t United TTFA been asked about their solutions to honour these commitments?

After all, they seem committed to continue their fight with FIFA in the High Court, which could result in the suspension of FIFA funding – the only guaranteed source of income for TTFA.

Considering the massive amounts of column inches given to United TTFA, and specifically, Keith Look-Loy, in the year running up to the November TTFA elections, and thereafter when those same appointments were announced, it now seems strange that these questions are not being asked.

In fact, the whole question of governance and transparency needs to be addressed, if the public are to have any faith in any future TTFA administration.

United TTFA, and, again, specifically, Keith Look-Loy, have stated that they were unaware of some of these contracts. We are therefore led to believe that Look-Loy, vice presidents Clynt Taylor, Sam Phillips and Susan Warwick and Tony Harford were just patsies whose blind faith and trust in William Wallace was abused. Even if we believe the lone gunman narrative, Wallace’s actions would eventually be uncovered, so what could his end game have been? Didn’t any of the famous five think to ask a question of Wallace in the many meetings they would have had?

It is hard to accept that Wallace’s actions took place in a vacuum. Questions were raised by board members, but generally ignored by the United TTFA personnel. William Wallace did not win the November election, United TTFA did. TTFA members did not put their faith in one man, but in the collective hands of Wallace, Look-Loy, Taylor, Warwick and Harford. They expected oversight and checks and balances. No more one mannism was the battle cry.

If united you stand, then united you must fall. Because if you cannot keep a check on your closest friends and colleagues and steer them back onto the right path, what is your purpose? We still don’t know all of the details of this disastrous three-month reign, but we need to.

We do know that the TTFA debt has increased under United TTFA. We know that the TTFA payroll appears to have increased under United TTFA, so how will that be covered? We know that the fanciful Arima plan to remove the entire $50 million debt is dead in the water, so what is the plan B? We know that board decisions have simply been ignored, so how will that be prevented in the future?

Despite FIFA removing the United TTFA administration and appointing a normalisation committee, Wallace and company refuse to go quietly, though it would appear that they have lost the mandate of the general public, as well as many of T&T football’s stakeholders. If, as they believe, they win the High Court battle with FIFA, it is hard to imagine how they would manage the new inflated payroll.

Our media needs to step up and find the answers to some of these questions, as well as other issues that may arise.