Newly appointed Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TT FA) president, David John-Williams, has given his executive a deadline of February 15 to ensure that all audited financial statements from the preceding year are completed and ready for presentation at the FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, 11 days later.
This comes following a decision by the sport’s governing body to freeze TT ’s annual US$250,000 (approximately TT $1.6 million) Football Assistance Programme (FAP) allocation back in August under the leadership of former president Raymond Tim Kee and general secretary Sheldon Phillips.
FIFA releases just over this amount annually to its member associations under the FAP.
However, this funding only becomes available for use when members present their updated financial accounts. The inability to get hold of these funds now also delays the process of receiving the allotted amount in 2016.
Speaking at a special celebratory function on his presidential election hosted by Mayor of Point Fortin, Cylde Paul, at the Clifton Hill Beach Resort on Wednesday, John-Williams stressed on the importance of properly balancing and auditing TT FA’s accounts to present at the February 26 Congress Meeting.
“FIFA has withheld some of the funding which was due for us for 2015,” said the W-Connection owner. “These monies were kept back by the governing body because we did not comply with their regulation which is providing our audited financial statements. We have, I believe, a couple hundred thousand US dollars just sitting there from 2015. And because of this, we now cannot access the FAP funding for 2016, which is another US$250,000, if we don’t produce our audited financial statements. And this is one of our first tasks that we have to do (as a new executive).
Once we can do this, we will be slowly easing ourselves from the financial burden that we have found ourselves in.” John-Williams, who completed just one month in office on Wednesday, has hit the ground running currently preparing the national senior men’s team for their Copa America Centenario playoff against Haiti on January 8 in Panama City. The squad completed the their third training session at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella yesterday but did so without the likes of rising star Keron “Ball Pest” Cummings, who was given an approximate recovery period of ten months, following an incident on Sunday when he was shot on his right leg.
Cummings has been one of TT ’s brightest prospects within recent times and has now been forcibly pushed to the sideline until an optimistic October 2016. He will miss out on several key games such as the Copa America play-off, World Cup qualifiers and other major tournaments within the region, including the TT ProLeague, where he plies his trade with North East Stars.
On this note, John-Williams revealed that the sport’s local fraternity will in fact assist Cummings during his recovery process.
“We have definite plans of helping the young man through this time,” he explained. “We will try to assist him with his therapy in some way. He was thankfully able to undergo a successful surgery on Wednesday and is a professional footballer employed with North East Stars and I would expect that they would also render assistance to him. He is going through a difficult time now but we are very thankful that he was not paralysed or dead. I just want to tell him that the strength of a man is not really when he is down but is when he gets up from being down. He has the support of his teammates and they are rallying around him. The team has dedicated the Copa Caribe game against Haiti to him and it will be tremendous for us to win that game.”