There was some relief for Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) technical staff, office staff and coaches this afternoon, as salaries finally hit their bank accounts.
Not everyone was satisfied and there appeared to be some discrepancies by the Fifa-appointed normalisation committee. However, coaches and players who spoke to Wired868 were generally happy for the first tangible show of appreciation by the current rulers of the local football body.
“We got the payments that were promised today,” said Trinidad and Tobago Boys National Under-15 goalkeeper coach Jefferson George, who is a steering committee member for the National Football Coaches of Trinidad and Tobago (NFCTT). “As far as I am aware, everyone got their monies… We also received confirmation from the normalisation committee that, once [further] money becomes available, the balance will be paid. I gave that additional information to the coaches.
“[…] The guys are happy to be paid, although it is funds we are entitled to that we had to wait a long time for. We are not fully paid yet, but the normalisation committee gave a commitment that we will be paid—and we have that in writing.”
The coaches are understood to have been divided into three categories. The Women’s National Under-17 and Under-20 Team staff members had short term deals, as their tournaments were scheduled for the first quarter of 2020. They were paid in full.
The Men’s National Futsal Team coaching staff are also believed to have received salaries. They go into competition action in early 2021.
The remaining two categories are the youth team coaches who had contracts until August and the Men’s National Senior Team staff who are contracted until the end of 2021, with an option for a renewal. Both were paid half of their salaries up until August.
The national youth team coaches hoped to receive a full pay-off but had to settle for 50 per cent, while the senior team coaches were said to be disappointed not to at least receive half payments until November. But it is a start.
For Soca Warriors head coach Terry Fenwick, the remuneration could offer an additional benefit of ratifying his contract, which was signed off by former president William Wallace but contradicted terms offered by the TTFA Board.
The fine print of Fenwick’s contract could be a talking point again next July when Trinidad and Tobago compete in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup. The board agreed that Fenwick should receive a two year extension if he matches the performance of former coach Stephen Hart, by taking the Warriors into the quarterfinal round.
However, Fenwick and Wallace privately agreed that Trinidad and Tobago has only to qualify for the 16-nation competition for his deal to be renewed. (Wallace subsequently claimed that he did not read the altered contract proffered by Fenwick.)
At present, the Men’s Team is the only TTFA outfit in operation.
There was some confusion on the side of the players too. According to one senior player, who spoke on condition of anonymity, some Warriors received payment at the agreed exchange rate TT$6.4 to US$1 while others were paid at TT$6 to TT$1. Some players also complained of being at least one match fee short.
The players hope to have the issue rectified in short order.
Next on the agenda is the restarting of the national football programme. George said Hadad committed to discuss his plans for 2021 with the coaches association.
“Mr Hadad said he would schedule a meeting with coaches association to go through some ideas [and] he is committed to liaising with us, as the normalisation committee puts the various national programmes in place,” said George. “He said he is committed to having dialogue with all stakeholders and he will not make a unilateral decision.
“He assured us we will be consulted in terms of them putting a technical staff together, and putting something in place to address the selection of national staff.”
The Look Loy-led technical committee ensured that all football coaches had appointment letters with a start and end date as well as financial terms. The NFCTT hopes this standard will be maintained in the future.
“The coaches association doesn’t see itself as having a part in the selection of coaches and we don’t know what the technical staff will look like in the future,” said George. “But what we hope for is that the persons who take up those positions are properly qualified and that people will be going into proper arrangements where they are remunerated.
“What we also don’t want to see is what happened for years with one coach training three teams. That coach’s attention is literally divided and you won’t get the best out of him. That is not a model you will see in any serious football country.”
Yesterday, former technical director Anton Corneal confirmed that he was twice approached by Hadad to help with the restructuring of the TTFA’s technical programmes.
However, Corneal complained about chronic poor communication from the normalisation committee and said he was also disappointed about the lack of progress regarding his outstanding salaries, despite a high court judgment.
At present, former Men’s National Senior Team assistant coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier is the only coach to receive compensation for outstanding money from a technical squad which predated the William Wallace-led administration.