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Sun, Jun

Fenwick, Hadad's silence worries NFCTT.
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After receiving a promise that salaries and wages owed to them will be paid at the end of the month (May), president of the National Football Coaches of T&T (NFCTT) Jefferson George said the coaches are looking forward to Tuesday's payment.

"And that is only because the last day of the month, Monday, (May 31) is a holiday, so we're looking at Tuesday for a payout of salaries," said George, the executive who has spearheaded two meetings with their employers - the Normalisation Committee (NC) which was appointed by the sport's world governing body FIFA, in March last year.

George, an former goalkeeper also told Guardian Media Sports that the organisaton is looking to bring an end to the code of silence used by both Hadad and national coach Terry Fenwick in the handling of the national team affairs and the sport, in general.

The team was whisked out of the country on Friday with Hadad and Fenwick refusing to give an update on the team, the challenges faced and where the country's scheduled home match on June 8 against St Kitts and Nevis is to be played.

The NC only provided information about the team, as well as comments from the coach through the T&T Football Association's (TTFA) media officer Shaun Fuentes while the team was en route to the Bahamas for its first game on Saturday (June 5). The team's second game against St Kitts and Nevis will be on June 8.

The expected payment of salaries will be made to some 40 coaches and staff members, while stipends will be given to an unknown number of local players who are not attached to any clubs presently.

This assurance was given to the coaches by the NC deputy chairman and attorney Judy Daniel, businessmen Trevor Gomez and Nigel Romano - all of whom represented the NC in the absence of chairman Robert Hadad.

George said his association was given the assurance that payment is still on track for the promised time.

"They are still on track for a month-end payment. The 28th was yesterday which fell on the weekend and the 30th is tomorrow, so we are still looking at payment on Tuesday. With the holiday in the middle of next week, we're still trying to make that deadline, so we're just waiting for delivery.

"At this point, it's only wait we can wait and remain optimistic. We don't have too much details on what's causing the delay in payment or, as you might infer, what is happening with the money? That was our question, having not been given a settlement but at this point, we don't want to speculate and I don't want to get into that.

"Right now, I want to make sure that they deliver as to their promise. At this point, they're on track and hopefully, we could be able to get some answers to the other issues."

George also noted: "What we would have told them as well is that the promise that was made we accepted in good faith and we are allowing them to show themselves to be honourable men."

The lone payment of salaries to coaches was made on December 23, last year and despite a promise that the balance of the payment would have been made by January of this year, they have been horrific reports of a staff member on the verge of being evicted from his apartment, as well as players threatening to abandon the team in search of a job where they can be paid.

George and the coaches association also attempted to deal with the level of secrecy being used to manage the affairs of the sport and the football team.

Guardian Media Sports was reliably informed that both Fenwick and Hadad agreed to address the media on Thursday before the team left the day after, but this failed to materialise.

George said: "That is something we attempted to do before Thursday but they had the situation with the players who were tested positive for COVID-19. The intent was to have a bit of time for the press to ask about the team Thursday after training, but that did not materialise.

"We also looked at doing something at the Woodbrook facility as well but having to get permission from the Ministry, and the COVID protocols and all that, it would have been a little too much to pull it off."

George promised the NFCTT will continue to work with Fenwick and the normalisation committee for a better relationship with the media and the sport's stakeholders.