William Wallace, former president of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) is holding his breath to see if the position, taken by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley that he will not use taxpayers' money to clear the existing debt of the TTFA, will stand.
Wallace's comment comes in the wake of a Guardian Media Sports' report in which Robert Hadad, chairman of the FIFA-installed Normalisation Committee, revealed that the TTFA was insolvent.
The HADCO Group of Companies director said he is waiting on the opportunity to talk to Minister of Sports and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe, about the possibility of clearing the TTFA debt, which is estimated at $98.5 million.
The TTFA debt could rise drastically if the $42 million estimated for the land, housing the Home of Football, is included and approved in the football association’s audited financial statement at Sunday's Emergency General Meeting (EGM).
Wallace said if the Prime Minister decides to clear the TTFA debt he will be glad for the NC and glad for football.
“After 18 months of the NC in charge, with their main mandate being to deal with the debt, I am hearing that their plan is to ask FIFA and the government. If there is still hope of FIFA paying the debt, then there is information that the NC has that we are not privy to.
"As far as the government is concerned, the Prime Minister indicated to me then, that he was not willing to use taxpayers' money to deal with the debt and I agreed with him, if that position has since changed I am happy for the TTFA.
"However, it pains me to see that we have not moved football and the TTFA forward after all the 'noise'. It is also sad that a plan to deal with the debt by the duly elected executive was never even given a chance to fail.”
The Wallace-led administration took over the reign of local football from the David John-Williams' executive in November 2019, following an election process. However, the United TTFA, which Wallace headed was removed by the sport’s world governing body FIFA on March 17, on the basis that the TTFA was on the brink of insolvency.
Wallace and his team had been equipped with a number of initiatives to generate income and eradicate the TTFA debt, such as the multi-million-dollar Lavender deal which was designed to construct a multi-purpose sporting, commercial and residential facility at the Arima Velodrome. At that time, the Lavender project needed Cabinet's approval, to go ahead.
The then-TTFA had also secured a controversial deal with Avec Sports as well as several sponsorship deals to help with the operations of the embattled football association.
According to Wallace: “The people in and out of the TTFA who were making all the noise never took time to understand what "Normalisation " meant in the context of what we were faced with.
"The impression that FIFA would liquidate the debt seem to be the understanding among many. That thinking led me to publicly state that if that was so, I would immediately step aside.
"Even in my meeting with the Prime Minister, I indicated to him that whoever is in charge of football, once the debt is not dealt with, effective governance would be hindered, making it impossible for any meaningful progress.”
SOURCE: T&T Guardian