DJW denies receiving US$2m for HoF in 2017.

FORMER TT Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams has vehemently denied receiving US$2 million in funding, in 2017, from FIFA – the sport’s global governing body – towards the Home of Football (HoF) project in Couva, under FIFA’s Forward Development Programme.

In a statement issued by the ex-TTFA head (2015-2019), he also refuted allegations made against him that TTFA was in receipt of an additional US$1.25m to assist in its operational costs during the same fiscal year.

After receiving confirmation from his attorneys-at-law to respond to these claims made by a Guardian Media Limited (GML) report, entitled Secret Panama Trail on September 10, John-Williams published a seven-page document, on Friday, to clear the air.

The document included scanned copies of TTFA’s FIFA Forward Project application for “Construction of TTFA Sporting Accommodation and Ancillary Facilities” which showed the HoF’s projected budget at US$2,740,000. The estimated start and completion date was also given as August 15, 2017 to July 15, 2018.

According to this statement, FIFA would contribute US$2,250,000 while ‘total member-association contributions’ (US$365,000) and ‘other contributions’ (US$125,000) completed the projected HoF costs. This document was signed off by then president John-Williams and general secretary Justin Latapy-George.

The former president also attached a copy of the FIFA Forward Programme Statement of Approval where the global governing body confirmed receipt of the TTFA’s application and granted the local fraternity their promised amount of US$2,250,000, on August 15, 2017.

However, FIFA declared they would disburse these funds “from the entitlement of the TTFA to FIFA Forward funds for the 2016-2018 cycle in three milestone payments”.

According to this document, the first milestone payment of US$900,000 would be delivered “upon receipt of the present document accepted and signed by your association and by providing an invoice for the above amount”.

The second tranche of US$675,000 would be released “upon a written report signed by the constructing company confirming completion of 70 per cent of the works” while the third (US$450,000) would come after receipt of a report by the same company upon completion of 80 per cent of the project.

A fourth milestone payment of US$225,000 was also expected to be wired to TTFA “one month after the completion of the installation and following receipt of a handover document signed between the construction company and your association without reservations”.

In his defence, John-Williams wrote, “As of July 2017, the TTFA had not even yet submitted its application for the (HoF) Project. The TTFA’s application was submitted on August 15, 2017 and was approved by FIFA on the 5 September 2017.

“The TTFA received its first disbursement of US$900,000 in November 2017. Further, the lease for the land to be used for the project was given on August 3, 2017 by the Government of TT. No approval could have been given by FIFA without this lease.”

He concluded, “Additionally, in 2017 the TTFA as well as all Member Associations of FIFA received a sum of US$500,000 for its operational costs. The TTFA did not receive US$1.25 million.”