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Wed, Nov

More problems with TTFA debt-eradication plan.
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Coaches salaries to be a concern

There could be more problems with the eradication of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) debt, which can potentially lead to the reduction of salaries for coaches in the future.

World football's governing body-FIFA will decide on the future of T&T football, inclusive of the eradication of an existing debt which is said to be some $70 million. The debt is considered key to the solution of the issues plaguing the sport but can also lead to a return of the initial problems.

Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president Randy Harris believes the country's football issues will be solved by the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee, which will have the responsibility to seek funding, in an already difficult corporate society, warning, however, that the normalisation committee which is being chaired by businessman Robert Hadad, will have to guard against going back to the problems it faced before.

Harris said: "My experience is that whenever FIFA institutes normalisation, at the end of the project the Member Association (MA) is normally in a better place so I don't see anything different to T&T. I don't think FIFA will just say okay, you owe $10 million dollars, we will give you all $10 million to pay all the debt. It will be a process and obviously, the normalisation committee acts in the same way that a normal exemptive committee will operate within the country."

T&T is currently awaiting a response from the FIFA on whether it will lift a suspension that was handed to the William Wallace-led TTFA for a violation of the FIFA Statutes on September 24. This followed the appointment of the normalisation committee on March 17, on the basis that the Wallace-led TTFA had put the sport in a position of insolvency and illiquidity.

The normalisation committee which was later filled by chairman Hadad, former banker Nigel Romano and Attorney Judy Daniel, was given a mandate to: "Run the TTFA's daily affairs; Establish a debt repayment plan that is implementable by the TTFA; Review and amend the TTFA Statutes (and other regulations where necessary) and to ensure their compliance with the FIFA Statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress; and to organise and to conduct elections of a new TTFA Executive Committee for a four-year mandate".

Wallace said on Tuesday the sport is in need of an overhaul, saying the eradication of the debt is crucial to this, as everything will be affected.

"If FIFA was going to liquidate the debt, then my fight with them (FIFA) would not have taken place," he said.

Due to Wallace's apparent defiance to orders by the FIFA, to not challenge the appointment of the normalisation committee, the country has until December 18 to know whether it will be re-accepted into the FIFA as a member and be allowed to play in FIFA-sanctioned tournaments.

FIFA last week wrote to Hadad to acknowledge the country's attempts to be re-accepted via an overturning of High Court ruling by the Court of Appeal as well as a decision by the sport's membership to remove all the matters the TTFA had against the FIFA in the court system.

A TTFA Board member who spoke on condition of anonymity, said FIFA will likely provide the funding to clear the existing debt of TTFA and will take it back through the annual grants given to member associations.

He said if this happens, the country may find itself back in the same position it was in at the start, as there will be a strain on the TTFA to finance other programmes such as salaries to coaches and staff and development plans, among others.

"There will also be a strain on the operating costs, as 70-80 per cent of the debt of the TTFA comes from coaches' salaries etc. This means the salary of national coach Terry Fenwick and others will have to be reviewed in the future. It will also mean reducing the amount to be paid to coaches in the future," the board member explained.

Harris said: "There must be some manner of restoring the financial integrity of T&T and that would mean putting certain issues in place and making sure that the decisions made by the normalisation committee are workable."