Tue, Oct

Michael Awai, former AC Port of Spain business development manager.

Mike Awai, a stakeholder in local football, is urging the membership of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) to not approve the audited financial accounts of the TTFA when it is presented for discussion and eventual vote at the TTFA Emergency General Meeting (EGM) on Sunday.

Awai, the former AC Port of Spain Business Development Manager, has been angered by a Guardian Media report on Wednesday that confirmed that the embattled football association is insolvent, and is now calling on Robert Hadad, the chairman of a FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee to get a certificate of title for the land housing the controversial "Home of Football" (HoF) in Balmain, Couva that will be accepted by the auditors.

Awai said for such a businessman, a certificate of that nature would be at his fingertips or at the call of his phone.  

Determining the solvency of the football association will be done at the EGM. At present, the TTFA is in need of the audited financials of the association to be approved if it is to received monies from FIFA.

The EGM became the next step after AGM deferred discussions on the issue of the audited financial statement and the lease for the Home of Football at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the TTFA on September 26. At that meeting, the accounts were presented minus the value for the land that houses the Home of Football, said to be estimated at $42 million.

In July, Hadad issued a statement that put the TTFA debt at $98.5 million.

Leading the discussions were the Veteran Football Foundation of T&T (VFFOTT) and T&T Pro League campaigners W Connection Football Club, both of which penned letters to the normalisation committee before and after the AGM, demanding answers on the matter.

However, David John-Williams, a former president of TTFA who was responsible for ensuring that approved audited financial reached into the hands of the FIFA in 2018 and 2019 for the first time since 2008, has promised to offer a statement after the EGM. John-Williams is also responsible for securing the land for the Home of Football from the government.

In the meanwhile, Awai who has been attempting to find answers for the football quagmire, was livid when he saw statements from the local football boss and said on Wednesday: “What is wrong with Hadad? He took 18 months to figure out that he does not have a plan. What has he been doing? What is his mantra?

"Isn’t it to fix the constitution, to prepare fresh election and have a debt repayment plan? I am going to send an email to all the stakeholders because I have the whole listing of them.

"I am going to make an appeal to the stakeholders, not to approve the audited accounts because the TTFA is not insolvent.

"Eighteen (18) months and we can’t get a certificate of title, 18 months and we can’t get a proposal for the repayment plan and now all of a sudden, after 18 months he is now asking the government to talk, he could have done that a year ago and they might have done something small for us in the budget.”

Awai, the owner and founder of the FUTGOF Football Academy, has been avoiding calls to enter the fray ahead of the coming elections of the TTFA. However, he has been bitterly disappointed with the work done by Hadad and his committee members to date, saying they have not achieved a single item of their mandate by FIFA.  

A week ago, Awai came up with two theories why the NC would want the TTFA to be insolvent, and one entailed the possibility of avoiding the huge debt that has crippled local football for many years.  

Sunday’s EGM is expected to be intense but Hadad is assuring members that answers to their questions will come but just not from him. Apart from revealing the financial status of the TTFA, Hadad also said that the independent auditors will be the ones to provide the answers to the questions of the members.

Awai believes that if the membership approves the audited financials, they will indirectly be giving up their power and control of the assets of the TTFA.

SOURCE: T&T Guardian