The President's Righthand
Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) General Secretary Sheldon Phillips was such in good spirits recently that he decided to do a total football public interactive dialogue with fans of T&T football in-particular, the Soca Warriors Online (SWO) members, a first of any of it's kind by any association member.
We all know that not all has been great with T&T football, in-particular, the association, they have had their fair share of let-downs as well and promises that never materialized. Today however, Phillips has decided to clear the air, give us a little insight and explain why things haven't gone accordingly.... but first.
No one can deny that the TTFA has been in some desperation of much needed cash to help carry-out normal daily operations and other activities that are required to properly managed the association however, things haven't run smoothly.
To make matters worst, the association has been unsuccessful in acquiring any major sponsorships. The Trinidad and Tobago government whom, despite being a constant battle to get funds "on-time" from has been their main source of income.
The cash strapped association, especially since the introduction of Sheldon Phillips a little over a year ago has had it's battles and despite being starved off financial assistants, Phillips has had to keep smiling and trying to save face of the association while doing his best to keep things going with the little cash they may have in their possession.
The SWO does not endorse members often and is not controlled by any association or media house, however, we cannot denied the fact that the association have changed and, for the better- but still acknowledges the fact that there are a lot of work to be done.
But without money what can one really expect?
Anyways, we would like to outline "some" of the positive impact and good fortune the association has had since Phillips inception;
1. A $4.8 million (US$750,000) cash injection from FIFA.
2. International friendlies with; Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Belize, New Zealand, FIFA 2014 World Cup finalist and South American giants Argentina and two against Caribbean rivals Jamaica.
3. FIFA Development officer Howard McIntosh revealed that plans are underway for T&T to receive Goal Project assistance for the establishment of a National Technical Centre for local football.
4. A Houston camp for T&T Women national team.
5. T&T national women team friendly games versus Venezuela and Mexico.
6. Hosting of the 2014 Men’s Caribbean Cup tournament from October 6-13.
7. Dutch “C” License Coaching courses.
8. TTFA youth football community clinics in various parts of T&T.
9. Acquiring the Hasely Crawford Stadium as their new home based.
10. A distribution of 15,000 indestructible footballs throughout T&T.
11. A five-year partnership deal with Spanish sporting apparel company JOMA.
12. Women Under 17 and Under 20 teams dominates the Caribbean, winning and finishing runners up in their respective competitions. - See below for more TTFA achievements (in-full).
Phillips first hand interaction with the SWO fan members.
Tiresais: 1. What is the TTFA's Strategy to take their balance back into the black? Is financial independence from the T&T government a short-term or long-term strategy, if at all?
Phillips: Let me present to you a mind map that I believe best illustrates our approach and will hopefully help answer this question; which is a core concern that will determine the direction of the FA.
We have six core areas of revenue generation:
1) Matches- As the teams build their appeal; performance fees, gates, and television rights are among the revenue streams that will shape this core group.
2) FIFA/CONCACAF- Development programs and shared revenue from future World Cups are among the few current dependable revenue streams.
3) Government – Ministry of Sport is currently our biggest financial stakeholder. Apart from financial support, MOS provides a good deal of value in kind (VIK) support. But, diversification of revenue streams is certainly a key goal for the FA
4) Special Events/Programs- Workshops, courses, and other services. For example, the TTFA has been engaged by a number of private entities to conduct coaching courses and other workshops. Social functions are also being looked at closely once the right partners are identified.
5) Membership/Fees- Very important not only for revenue building but also to establish a healthy and vibrant FA.
6) Commercial Partnerships- The key and most vital revenue stream. Addressing the fears and anxieties of the FA that some have identified is extremely important. Part of the challenge is confidence in the structure (which is being addressed as part of President Tim Kee’s reform efforts through the Football Reform Commission that he assembled and submitted the Commission’s report to FIFA for review), part of the challenge is to convince corporate T&T that our nation’s future world cup participation begins in the grassroots and youth levels with strong, vibrant development programs not unlike what Germany committed to in 2000.
Currently, the vast majority of our revenue stream is sourced from government and FIFA/CONCACAF. Through the implementation of our licensing and merchandising program which is being made possible through seed capital provided by FIFA, we will be able to take the first real step toward establishing a series of passive income streams that will see us leverage the TTFA brand on a number of licensed products and services.
2. How important is integration between the Pro League and Super League for the TTFA?
Phillips: Extremely. A key effort must be made in the creation of a harmonized calendar. The Super League brings a strong community football flavor to senior level competition and the Pro League is the single biggest reason why a country of 1.3 million is able to provide a steady flow of footballers for the senior national team. I would even add the SSFL as a national league that is important to football development. Coordinated efforts between these entities will produce big dividends for football in general.
3. In the last season, a coaching course seemed to be organized that Ralph Lundy III, an American player at Caledonia (for a short time), managed to attend but that some local coaches didn't know about. Will the TTFA ensure that coaching qualifications give the widest possible benefits to the local game, and encourage more courses to take place?
Phillips: A directive for the new TD (Technical Director) will be to publish, months in advance, the listing of coaching courses; whether or not the courses are filled in advance. The regional associations can also play a key role and we hope to rekindle the Centers For Excellence locations that were located in each zone and use these centers as a focal point for player and coaching development programs.
4. At the moment there is only one football agency on the twin islands (Brazil Link), will the TTFA be looking to use player agents to ensure the best opportunities for the abundant talent on the islands? Or does it have another strategy in mind when it comes to furthering player development?
Phillips: The TTFA interaction with player agents would extend only to regulations that conduct the manner in which they can operate and the standards they would have to adhere to. Clubs and the individual player, rather than the FA, would normally have the primary relationship with the agent. Player development should initiate long before a player is on the radar of any agent since a proper development program for promising young footballers would arguably begin around age 11. I know we’ve heard stories about players like Messi who were prodigies and tracked at a very young age. But, I think they are more of the exception than the rule.
4. A number of us on the forums were very happily surprised to see two friendlies of high caliber in the lead-up to the World Cup, but it had a noticeably detrimental effect on our FIFA rankings. Is a ranking above 70 (that would allow our players to get British Work Permits) a priority for the TTFA, or is it secondary behind other concerns?
Phillips: The most important ranking is being in the top 4 of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying round. I think our coach would place precedence over getting more high caliber opponents for friendlies as that would be the best means to test and improve your players and get them ready for world cup qualifiers and regional championships.
5. There are continuing rumors that national team coaches are not being paid reliably, an incredibly stressful situation for any employee to find themselves in. How does the TTFA plan to rescue its image as a respectful employer in the light of its current financial troubles?
Phillips: The coaches and administrative staff we have are some of the most dedicated people I have ever worked with. The circumstances we are facing are not a product of lack of respect but rather lack of resources. Unfortunately, the problems we are currently experiencing were in the making for a number of years. When a company is operating under a massive debt with extremely limited and frequently interrupted revenue sources, the challenges like what we are all experiencing will happen. We know relief will happen very soon. Until then the coaches and staff of the TTFA have bought into the commitment President Tim Kee made to each of them in April. The implementation of the revenue plan and reduction/elimination of the current debt will place the FA on a path to meet our most basic operational costs.
6. Will the TTFA be promoting community football in the next couple years? How feasible is it to move games out of the big stadiums that sometimes isolate the footballing community from attending?
Phillips: We have already started our community football efforts with the taking over of the Super League. Community football though doesn’t always mean playing games in the community, it means making the game relevant to communities. The games that are played in the community must also be conducted in healthy environments that are safe and well prepared to reasonably accommodate the teams and fans. As we earn more support and funding, we will invest more in the community with not only senior level competition but also the reintroduction of inter-regional youth leagues.
7. Currently, there is next to no way of attaining a Pro League jersey without knowing someone at the club, and T&T National Jerseys are also hard to come by (when I visited last Easter I had to go to three malls just to find one). Will the TTFA be looking to exploit merchandising opportunities more effectively in order to help the financial situation?
Phillips: Our merchandising program will effectively address that problem shortly.
100% Barataria: 1. What models will be employed to enable and sustained long term financial indepdendence and viability.
Phillips: See answer that included revenue stream diagram (see pics).
2. Football development and synergy from youth to senior levels
Phillips: Along with Head Coach, Stephen Hart, we are working on a development program with SPORTT and the Ministry of Sport that will integrate and compliment player and coaching development programs on both the youth and senior levels. We are also putting together an interesting development concept with Daren Ganga and UTT that can be shared later next month.
3. Plans for enabling growth and an enhanced standard of the domestic league
Phillips: Can there be improvement, yes, but I also believe that the quality of the available player pool for national selection is much better than some countries that are 10 times our size due in large part to the efforts of the pro league and its clubs. I believe the key missing ingredient is having sustained, year round development programs that will include a residential academy for players 13-17. We hope to be able to address this void with the GOAL Project we were approved for earlier this year and slated to begin construction by the end of the year.
Football Supporter: There is little or no cooperation between schools, zones and professional clubs currently which effects communication and development and stymies the national coaches abilities to scout new players. What strategy does the TTFA have for integrating football from primary schools right through to the professional league?
Phillips: Harmonized calendar would be one of the major outcomes of an overall willingness of all the major stakeholders to coordinate and work together. Ideally, on our respective websites, TTFA, Pro League, Super League, SSFL, Primary School League, there will be tags on the front page so users can easily navigate and see what are the upcoming fixtures and scores of past fixtures, and profiles of players. CONCACAF is going to unveil an integrated online system called MyCONCACAF.com that will allow FAs to standardize their web templates to include all the relevant activities taking place (fixtures, courses, tournaments etc.). The TTFA has requested to serve as one of the beta testers of MyCONCACAF.com.
But even without a formalized structured agreement, there is ample evidence that coaches do speak with each other and work together to avoid conflicts or work things out when conflicts arise. Stephen and his staff are able to attend a wide range of training sessions and matches and as a result Stephen is aware of who the players are, their current form, and other relevant information about footballers who are part of the current national player pool or on the cusp of being part of the player pool.
Bakes: 1. Earlier this year it was announced that the TTFA was on the verge of securing a major sponsorship deal. Could you update us as to the status of this deal specifically, and any other sponsorship/partnership deals that may be in the works?
Phillips: It was a deal in which we received a letter of commitment in January. Though we are disappointed the company has not followed through on their commitment, we do not want to breach confidentiality or cause embarrassment as we are still engaged in discussions with the company. We have also focused our discussions on specific companies representing the following product/service categories: bank, soft drink/beverage, insurance, broadcast, and energy. Candidly, there are two issues that must be and are being addressed in order to successfully earn the support of corporate T&T; 1) address the well known debt in a manner that gives comfort to sponsors that their investment in the TTFA would not go into servicing said debt and 2) address the perception that the structure and governance of the TTFA properly serves its constituents.
2. There has been some conflicting signals as far as whether the TTFA plans on pursuing a corruption inquiry against former "Special Advisor" and current MP, Jack Warner. What exactly is the TTFA's official position on getting to the bottom of the missing 2006 World Cup monies, said to be to the tune of $200 million?
Phillips: Our official position is that the use of litigation as a vehicle to answer questions pertaining to the whereabouts of the alleged figures being cited is not a prudent strategy because of expense, time, questionable outcome, and ability to collect if successful. You can look no further than the 2006 players’ own experience in that they were engaged in litigation with the then TTFF for over 8 years with little to nothing to show until President Tim Kee voluntarily entered into discussions to settle the case upon his election to office. Keeping in mind that the basis of the player case was a breach of contract claim. In matters involving alleged fraud or misappropriation of state funds, the burden of proof is substantially higher and would require an even greater commitment of time, money, and resources; all of which would be better placed towards developing football. In our view, utilizing government agencies to raise questions specifically pertaining to the use of state funds is the more prudent path to take. We have met with President Carmona to discuss the matter and are reviewing several options.
Soon after our meeting with His Excellency, President Tim Kee made himself available for an interview with the Integrity Commission whose interest in the handling of state funds has been piqued by our inquiry. However, there is one thing we won’t indulge and that is the joining of what I call the pitchfork and torches brigade. The pursuit of the basic question; “Where and how was the state money received between 2004-2006 spent?” must be done in an unemotional and detached manner where inquiries and actions are based on the availability of authenticated evidence. What is currently circulating is well documented and persuasive but yet to be proven in a court of law or by government investigation.
3. What does the TTFA plan to do over both the short and long term to develop, maintain and reward supporter loyalty? There would seem to be a built-in 'supporters group' in place here on SW.net. Any plans to engage members more effectively?
Phillips: Nothing develops fan loyalty more effective than a well performing national team. So we will continue to line up matches against good opponents that will excite the public and provide Coach Hart the opportunity to test and prepare his players. We are also developing an affinity card program which will essentially allow members to have priority access to world cup qualification ticket sales, newsletter on TTFA happenings, discounts goods and services from TTFA Commercial Partners, and other benefits. This card system is part of the FIFA Income Generation Programme that includes the merchandise and licensing initiatives that will generate passive income for the FA while developing a reachable fan base. It would be a natural fit for SW.net members to among the first to join once the program is online and ready. I think more forums like this type of direct exchange is good. I would also be keen on podcasts or any other platform where constructive ideas and inquiries are exchanged.
doc: What is the TTFA's plan for Youth and women football in Tobago?
Phillips: Grassroots programs and school-based initiatives and partnerships as part of the overall youth development strategy to be designed by the new TD and Technical Development Committee will form the backbone of the development strategy in Tobago.
We will continue to work with the Tobago Football Association to bring equity to Tobago football and ensure players from Tobago have a fair chance to be seen by national coaches. This means taking regular trips to Tobago for screenings and scouting as well as supporting Tobago FA development initiatives. Having four teams from Tobago in the Super League will present an opportunity for at least another 40 Tobago players to experience a higher level of competition.
Our U-20 coaching staff is scheduled to conduct a screening in Tobago this weekend. However, the long-term development of women’s and youth football in Tobago will require a concerted effort between the TTFA, THA, and TFA. More football matches and tournaments in Tobago will also be key to generating excitement and interest in Tobago football. One exciting prospect we are keen on and know the THA and TFA like is the fielding of a Tobago select team when opportunities to play two international matches arise where the opponent will play one match against the T&T national team and another match against a Tobago select.
Socapro: Is the TTFA going to try to recover the millions that Jack Warner siphoned off over the years that have left the TTFA in the financial state that it is currently in?
Phillips: The first thing we will try to do is get an answer to the question, “Where did the funds go?”. Then once that question is answered we can determine if there are any recovery opportunities.
Controversial: 1. Are the TV-rights for T&T football still owned by traffic sports? has the TTFA regained all TV and internet rights worldwide? as you probably know this can be a great source of income.
Phillips: TTFA owns its own media broadcast rights but in regard to the World Cup qualifiers, a deal with Traffic was signed last year. which is collective in nature (CFU members have signed together) and one that will ensure that FAs are properly compensated. The structure of the deal rewards teams that advance though the tournament. We negotiated a good deal with GISL for the Argentina match and future collaborations are being discussed. The diaspora market (esp. UK and Eastern North America) is an area we are keen to reach and we are exploring various means to target that demographic.
2. Is there a plan in place to make sw.net the official supporters club of the TTFA and will they work with us if we form an advisory board to help progress football?
Phillips: I think we can certainly look at socawarriors.net (SWO) being an official supporters club of the TTFA rather than the official supporters club. There are a couple of models that can be followed and sw.net will bring an added dimension of fan involvement and ownership. I am always interested in collaborating with the site to help advance T&T football.
3. What are the total costs per month to run the TTFA, the senior men's program (coaches, training local players, player's salaries etc) and average cost for a tier 1 and tier 2 friendly?
Phillips: We are still finalizing budgets with SPoRTT and our Executive so figures may change, but for FY 2015, our projections for the annual budget are in the neighborhood of $70 million TTD.
E-man: Regarding the TTFA constitution: have they ratified something different from what the TTFF had? Will it be made public online? Also how will elections be run and how will they be announced? Which stakeholders have voting rights?
Phillips: No, but as part of the reform effort President Tim Kee initiated at the end of last year, the recommendations of the Reform Commission and the current TTFA Constitution are currently being reviewed by FIFA. We will post the information on line.
VB:1. The TTFA is given an annual budget by the MoS. How much is this year's budget and are all present Coaches being paid (not retroactive payments). If not, why, seeing that their salaries should've been included in the budget?
Phillips: TTFA is not given an annual budget by the MOS (Ministry of Sports). The only annual budget allocation the TTFA has received is $5 million for the senior men’s national team and that is administered through SPORTT, not MOS. In addition, we don’t receive one appropriation of $5 million. The costs for our technical staffs of our nine national teams hover around $4.5 million alone. So I think your assumption that the TTFA receives an allocation that covers coaches’ salaries is an incorrect one.
2. How does the TTFA seriously expect anyone to take them serious when they don't know what happened to over $80 million dollars. If it was given to Jack Warner, where is the paper trail? Does the Board not realise their credibility is borders on humorous under the circumstances?
Phillips: We expect to be taken seriously when people become aware of; 1) the measures being taken to address the questions currently being asked in regard to the funding that came through the then TTFF and 2) how the FA plans to make the transformation from enduring what CONCACAF President Jeff Webb described as “the worst financial mess in the history of CONCACAF and one of the worst in FIFA.” to becoming relevant again on all levels of international play.
The fact that a number of different figures are being bandied about shows that no one is actually aware of what was realized and recognized. We’ve heard $100 million, $200 million, and now the $80 million you have offered. Until a forensic audit is conducted from the years 2004-2010, no one will truly know how much went through the TTFF.
3. Will there be any fund raising efforts by the Board to alleviate their financial stress?
Phillips: We are meeting with marketing companies and part of the discussion is creating various fund raising options. Crowdsourcing is another option we will initiate shortly to give the public opportunities to pledge support to specific teams for their overall preparation and participation in tournaments and competition.
Sam: 1. How much people and teams the TTFA owes? W Connection, North East Stars, Malabar FC and Central FC for the 2013 FA Trophy prize money.... etc etc....
Phillips: Under the TTFF, there are around 130 creditors. The FA Trophy prize money will be addressed immediately upon our receipt of expected funding.
2. Why did they run/sponsor the FA Trophy if they can't afford to pay the prize money?
Phillips: As in the case in a few instances, pledges were made but not fulfilled. We won’t commit to initiatives unless assurances were made. If those assurances are not fulfilled it leaves everyone in a very difficult position with little reasonable recourse. At the end, once the FA is in control of funds, we have demonstrated an acute willingness to follow through on our promises (’06 players, Super League referees, senior team coaches etc.)
3. Is Sheldon Phillips, Raymond Tim Kee and Shaun Fuentes getting paid and who paying them? Who pays Stephen Hart, Derek King, Marlon Charles, Hutson Charles etc etc? Does de TTFA owe's them too?
Phillips: No, it would be unconscionable for me to get paid while my staff is not. President Tim Kee does not receive a salary or have an expense account. What we have at the TTFA is a group of extremely dedicated people who are committed to moving football forward despite working under less than optimal conditions.
4. Is Randy Waldrum really working for free?
Phillips: Yes, through the CFU tournament.
5. How difficult would it be to go after Jack Warner for the $200 million he stole? I am sure the 13 players will join the fight.
Phillips: You’re getting a bit ahead of yourself and that question borders on defamation. Until a court of law delivers such a verdict, we should focus on the question; “where did the money go and under what circumstances was it managed?”
6. The TTFA advertising for a technical director, who paying him?
Phillips: The TTFA will be paying the new TD through development funding applied for and granted.
7. If president Raymond Tim Kee wants to really help, he need to take the politics out of our football, once he stays with PNM he can't expect help from UNC leader. Right or wrong, politics and anything does not work together. He should retire and give Shaka Hislop or someone neutral to run the federation.
Phillips: So, in order serve football, one must give up their civic right of public service participation? I completely disagree.
8. Who paying for the flights back and forth from T&T to compete in the Super League and why are the TTFA taking on more responsibility if they can't handle what they already have?
Phillips: Air travel is inclusive to the club fees paid to the Super League. What the TTFA did in making the decision to run the Super League was exhibit leadership. The previous league manager, All Sports Promotions, could not continue to operate the league due to continued financial losses and no one else was beating down our door to operate the league. Rather than allow the league to fold and negatively impact the 300 players and coaches and number of communities, we took on the challenge because it is our duty to do what we can to keep football relevant in this country and the Super League is a big part of our national football landscape.
9. Who will be responsibly for giving updates on the Super League, like fixtures and updates? The former guys did a good job.
Phillips: Our Commissioner, Neville Ferguson and in house staff and they are doing a fantastic job.
Touches: What is the next carded international friendly on T&T soil.
Phillips: Possibly September 5th. Looking to make an announcement soon.
weary1969:1. I would like to know the procedure for joining football at the zone level?
Apply through your respective regional association.
2. When will the phone line at the TTFA be back on?
Phillips: Within the next couple of days we are being advised.
AB.Trini: 1. What levels of accountability and what commitments does the TTFA have in: 1 ensuring that all funds procured are accounted for in football operations
Phillips: Depends on the source and purpose of the funds. If government provides debt relief funds, that is what the funds will be targeted to address. Any provider will give a clear direction on where the appropriated funds must be spent and the allocation of said funds will then have to be substantiated in quarterly reports and then an annual audit.
2. Developing and building capacity of local coaches
Phillips: Establishing more professional development opportunities such as course, workshops, foreign club exchange programs, etc. However, standards must also be established and enforced to ensure players are being guided by practitioners who exhibit current best practices and follow methodologies consistent with the changing trends of the game.
3. Allocating money to pay coaches as per their services at all levels
Phillips: Establishment of a dedicated and consistent revenue stream is key.
4. Sharing with the public a concrete plan for qualifications for our teams at international tournaments
Phillips: Need input of new TD and framework will come out of the Technical Development Committee.
5. Structuring camps in various locations- North America and locations in Europe to attract players who may be eligible to represent TnT
Phillips: Currently being set up.
6. Moving in a direction to have ongoing training and camps in developing potential talent to represent our national teams at all levels
Phillips: The GOAL Project will provide this opportunity
7. Creating positive corporate partnership- business may adapt a player to do PR work in return funds may be given to support the development of the player
Phillips: Certainly a model that can be reviewed.
elan: 1. Coaching Education: What steps are being taken to educate coaches and bring them up to date on the latest and most updated methodology in International football standards? There are T&T coaches in the US who instruct NSCAA and USSF courses.
Phillips: We have a very keen interest in T&T nationals who have developed their teaching and coaching craft abroad become involved with our coaching development program once it is on line.
2. How is the TTFA attracting, assisting, and retaining female coaches? Izler Browne did a very good job, what's her status?
Phillips: By offering training programs to develop a wider pool of female coaches. We will host FIFA coaching courses specifically for women coaches as part of our effort to develop the women’s game. The U-20 program is not active as players have matriculated to the senior team.
3. Player Development: Are there any plans to streamline football in T&T (Grassroot to Elite to District, etc.)? Pathway to the National Team.
Phillips: The TTFA supports a path that strengthens the regional association’s ability to provide development programs and follow agreed to national standards established by the national FA. The actual boots on the ground delivery of service should be done on a de-centralized manner.
4. Any plans to develop an Elite Performance Academy with the main focus on fitness and physical performance?
Phillips: Yes, this is vital.
Mad Scorpion a/k/a Big Bo$$: Is there any consideration being given to imposing age restrictions on the SSFL as mean to better facilitate the growth potential for players above 16 years of age?
Phillips: We can’t “impose” anything on any member association. We can collectively come up with a solution that meets the needs of both the overall interests of the game and the member association. If associations violate agreed to regulations, then we would have the authority to establish sanctions and other forms of enhanced persuasion but that is absolutely the last resort.
Having additional opportunities for footballers of any age would enhance the game. I will be interested to see how the new SSFL premier league format will do and believe it can provide competitive matches for the players and a good spectacle for the fans.
Sando: 1. Why all the problems to get press passes from the TTFA media for the SWO media guys to go to games especially the bigger games? And how can we insure that we get the respect for future games. Is this personal?
Phillips: We have a finite amount of press passes provided for matches and as far as I know SWO has received at least one at each home match. So SWO has been accommodated, perhaps not with the amount of passes it has requested, but that is hardly an issue of respect.
2. SWO must be respected and the TTFA must give them the recognition they deserve. They do not even mention the SWO despite getting most of their info from right here or the hard work that is put in from Flex and Tallman. The TTFA benefits and gets help and fails to give acknowledgment to SWO.
Phillips: I think my past interviews and this effort should demonstrate the respect the FA has for sw.net.
3. What happened to the new website the TTFA promised?
Phillips: The new merchandising and licensing programme we were approved for demanded a more robust backend database to accommodate our online store and streaming video. As a result, the new website launch will be delayed.
Jumbie: To get fans more involved and interested and to show businesses that change is happening, any chance we could get a monthly or quarterly "State Of Football" update?
Phillips: We will have more engagements like this exchange, as well as a fanzine once our funding is realized.
Errol: 1. How long are we going to depend on government help, does the TTFA have any plans in place to do anything on their own or generate some kind of funds. If the government is not giving will we just sit on our butts and do nothing.
Phillips: See answer to the first question.
2. Why can't we have a local core of senior players training once every month.
Phillips: Because the players do not belong to the TTFA and would require the permission of the clubs they play for to have such an arrangement. The other item that many who make this suggestion don’t seem to consider is at what point will be player be able to rest during the course of the season? At any one time, teams are engaged in three competitions; domestic league, tournament, cup. If there are two matches per week, there are two additional days of pre-game prep training. That leaves three days. Where will you fit rest, regular club training, AND national team training in that mix?
3. Are you guys planning to go to FIFA/CONCACAF to take back the Marvin Lee Stadium?
Phillips: That facility never belonged to the FA and is an issue being handled by FIFA and CONCACAF.
Feliziano: 1. Would it be possible to partner or collaborate with a foreign association for guidance in implementing a national development structure from the ground up?
Phillips: We have in the past when KNVB was first brought over to conduct a series of workshops. However, I think we have enough material and local expertise to design and implement a national development structure that is relevant for Trinidad and Tobago.
2. When are the diehards going to be rewarded for their continued support through think and thin of National teams? eg. season passes, designated sections etc.
Phillips: We are going to offer an affinity card program that will address those very items and establish a special designation for those fans who have been ardent supporters.
3. Why isn't SW.net and the Warrior Nation on the front burner as to getting accreditation as the "Official Supporters Club" and still be independent at the same time?
Phillips: The affinity card program will address this as well as it will be the means used to establish an official supporters club.
4. Why don't we have a recruitment drive for young administrative professionals, who would be willing to donate their time and expertise in areas like marketing and accounting?
Phillips: We are always looking for event volunteers and have had a series come through our office and for matches. No reason we can’t continue and add SW.net as a platform to get the word out.
A personal message from Phillips.
Ladies and Gents, thank you for your questions and providing the opportunity to address your concerns. There are solutions to the many problems the FA had accumulated throughout the last 8 years. However, these solutions will take time to implement. In spite of the seriously dire financial obligations we inherited, our teams are training, performing, and making a run toward being recognized and respected once again.
As recently as a year ago, no one would have imagined our senior team playing against eventual World Cup finalist, Argentina, and having its captain, Lionel Messi, praising our squad as a better than expected preparation for the World Cup. Throughout the last year and with very limited resources, over 50 bona fide accomplishments can be identified and referenced to as a sign the TTFA is moving forward and is on the right path.
BUT, we cannot move football forward on our own. We need you, the fans and by extension the consumers of goods to take a leap of faith. Support Pro League and Super League matches. Attend matches of all our national teams in force. There is a symbiotic relationship football between players, fans, and corporate community where the fans are the fulcrum of that relationship. There is a lot of football scheduled to play in T&T between August and November.
Lastly, the TTFA is filled with good people who are extremely resourceful and play a big role in the management of teams, competition, and multiple challenges that face our FA daily. They are doing their best for this country of 1.3 million people to successfully compete and fight against opposition that is, on occasion, 100 times our size. That is why I know we will prevail in our efforts to create a better FA. Thank you.
Trinidad and Tobago Football Association.
Top 50 TTFA accomplishments under the current head.
1. New leadership – New President and General Secretary. Two new Executive Committee members (Cunningham and Quan Chan)
2. Qualification for Gold Cup- First time in over a decade
3. Improved relationship with government- Yearly allocation from SPORTT for senior team and provision of over $5 million in value in kind support.
4. First series of home full international matches for senior team in over 12 months and senior women in 18 months- We have gone to an FA no one wanted to play to an FA that is being approached by the likes of Argentina, Brazil, and Ghana for matches.
5. Aversion of normalization committee- Enabled T&T nationals to have an opportunity to fix T&T problems through a process FIFA was convinced to support by RTK
6. Creation of reform commission- Gathered esteemed nationals (Dr. Sheila Rampersad, Senator Elton Prescott S.C., Shaka
Hislop, Dinaneth Ramnarine, Brian Lewis, Patrick Raymond, and Raoul John) to review the structure of the FA and present recommendations for the membership to consider.
7. Settlement of Soca Warriors lawsuit- Initiated settlement with voluntary payment of $1.5 million even though TTFA was not the defendant in case, TTFF, a separate business entity owned registered under Oliver Camps, was the defendant. RTK felt the settling the long-standing issue was the right thing to do. Efforts to lobby government to assist in satisfying remainder of the debt proved successful in PM Persad Bissessar’s commitment to pay remaining $1.3 million of the settlement. In the space of one year, the players got what they couldn’t in over 7 years under the former administration.
9. Deal with Joma- Full kit sponsorship after adidas deal ended in 2011 with and no plan provided by former administration to hunt for a new deal.
10. Hiring of Stephen Hart- Will impact not only senior team but has shown to be influential as a mentor to local coaches and players. Single biggest accomplishment of the RTK Administration.
11. Women's CFU Championship u17- Caribbean champions
12. Most impressive set of friendly matches before major tournament since 2005- Improved utilization of the FIFA calendar.
13. Re-established FIFA support- Increased development programs including coaching courses slated for women’s coaches, managers and administrators, referees, and grassfoots.
14. Goal Programme on line for 2014- First new GOAL project in over 10 years
16. Project 2018- Development program overview that sets out a clear mission to have every T&T national team qualify for a major tournament by 2018.
17. Rise in friendly match offers for senior national team- Increased level of marketability.
18. Increased support for women's football- Women’s team about to attend two week overseas training camp to prepare for CFU tournament which T&T is hosting. Lobbied T&T
government to increase funding to women’s football. Plan to hire an assistant technical director to develop the game among girls.
19. One World Futbol- Received over 11,000 indestructible footballs and have begun series of grassroots clinics across the country and distributing the footballs to traditionally underserved communities and schools.
22. Establishment of TV rights and emerging revenue streams- Deal with GISL established first tv revenue in several years.
23. Veterans Ticket Programme- 50 national team veteran players are provided tickets to every senior men’s national team match played at home.
24. Move to stadium- Brokered a deal with SPORTT that saved the TTFA over $500,000 in annual rent it was paying in another office space .
30. Coordination with other ministries- Established initiatives with Minstry of National Security, Ministry of Tourism, and Ministry of Education.
31. Address coaches and staff arrears- Addressed over $750,000 in arrears accumulated under previous administration.
32. Address Referee pay arrears- Successfully satisfied $189,000 arrears owed to Super League referees.
33. Senior Men's Team Defeat of Jamaica- Twice. First time since the 1950's
34. U20 Women CONCACAF Semi Finalist- 30 minutes away from World Cup qualification.
35. Argentina match- Brand T&T given a boost by game against eventual world cup finalist and match broadcast in 92 countries.
36. Grassroots Clinics- First of its kind outreach program.
37. Income Generation Program Participant _FIFA- First attempt by the FA to establish its own source of income through merchandising and licensing since 2006 world cup.
38. CONCACAF Grassroots Coaches Course- First CONCACAF program hosted in T&T in three years
39. "C" License Course provided to Guinness, making our coaching education programs a destination point for aspiring coaches in the caribbean region
40. Deloitte deal- No world cup ticket scandal. Deloitte managed 2014 world cup ticket program and is our value in kind partner to establish more transparency among FA programs.
41. Lobbying of government for cabinet note. – Led to player settlement balance paid by PM.
42. New women's program coach- Former US u23 coach and two-time NCAA winner.
43. GOALS FOR LIFE- Imminent program initiative with the Ministry of National Security to bring football related opportunities to hot spot areas.
44. Medical Protocol- Establish a medical protocol with regional
health authority and team physician. Held workshop for pro league and super league trainers on how to reduce incidents of sudden cardiac arrest.
45. Child Protection protocol- Engaged with Children’s Authority to design child protection protocol for coaches and adults working with youth footballers.
46. Revamped and expanded National Super League- 16 teams. Every corner of the country has a Super League club.
47. Futsal and Beach Soccer Association Memberships- Two new members = more opportunities for footballers
48. Merchandising and Licensing Business Plan and Case- Roadmap for Income Generation Program
49. Football Development Unit Consultancy- Partner with Ministry of Sport to help deliver development program in an after-school format to primary age youth footballers.
50. Re-entry as a choice destination for tournament hosting- 3 CFU tournaments in T&T this year (Women’s, U-20s and Senior men).
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