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Lind­say Gillette, for­mer Chair­man of the now-dis­band­ed Foot­ball Com­mis­sion of the T-League has de­fend­ed the work of the com­mit­tee which was set up ear­li­er this year to form the League.

Ear­li­er this week, T&T Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent, David John-Williams said that Foot­ball Com­mis­sion head­ed by Gillette was be­ing re­placed by a new five-mem­ber com­mit­tee com­pris­ing T&T Pro Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer (CEO) Ju­lia Bap­tiste, Cen­tral Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion rep­re­sen­ta­tive Col­in Par­tap, Vet­er­an Foot­ball Foun­da­tion of T&T pres­i­dent Sel­by Browne, Women's League Foot­ball pres­i­dent Su­san War­rick, and To­ba­go Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion boss, An­tho­ny Moore.

In ex­plain­ing his de­ci­sion for dis­band­ing the Foot­ball Com­mit­tee and re­plac­ing it with the new body, John-Williams the T&TFA board felt that the Com­mis­sion did not ful­fil its full re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in terms of the tasks it was set out to do.

How­ev­er, speak­ing at a Press Con­fer­ence on Fri­day, in Port-of-Spain, the along­side, North­ern Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent, An­tho­ny Har­ford, Gillette, the cur­rent Am­a­teur Swim­ming As­so­ci­a­tion of T&T (ASATT) boss said he had is­sues with the state­ment made by T&T Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (T&TFA) pres­i­dent.

Gillette said, "When you said the Com­mis­sion did not do the job it was sup­posed to do, I have a re­al is­sue with that".

An an­i­mat­ed Gillette added, "Tony (Hard­ford) came here as an in­de­pen­dent rec­om­mend­ed by the Su­per League clubs while I was rec­om­mend­ed by the T&T Pro League clubs.

"The Com­mis­sion is made up of two Pro League Clubs rep­re­sen­ta­tives, two from the Su­per League and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the T&TFA (Ca­ma­ra David) along with both of us".

"They said we did noth­ing, but I want to re­but that in the strongest way pos­si­ble be­cause I think we have ac­com­plished a lot in terms of our man­date and what we were sup­posed to have done".

"We were sup­posed to have got­ten the two leagues to­geth­er, the Pro League and the Su­per League to form one league (T-League)".

"The Com­mis­sion was very care­ful in cre­at­ing a name, at the ta­ble at our board meet­ing we said the T-League sounds good, we talked to peo­ple about it, see if they liked it, and we then came back and said it was a great name.
"We even asked about the terms and con­di­tions in which they will play foot­ball, and on May 6, 2019, at the Cas­ca­dia Ho­tel we all as­sem­bled, the Pro League, Su­per League, and T&TFA and we signed an agree­ment.

"It meant we were go­ing to have one league, a com­bi­na­tion of the Pro League and Su­per League which was sup­posed to be ten Pro League clubs, and four Su­per League clubs.

"But guess what, it was de­pen­dent on, re­ceiv­ing mon­ey from the T&TFA be­cause you can­not have foot­ball be­ing played in the ab­sence of mon­ey".

"And I kept ask­ing through the T&TFA rep­re­sen­ta­tive and the pres­i­dent, when will we re­ceive the T&TFA part of their promise that they will fund the league.

Gillette ex­plained, "The Com­mis­sion has no bank ac­count, it has no ju­ris­dic­tion ex­cept what we did, which was to cre­ate the ad­min­is­tra­tion be­hind the league to en­sure that good foot­ball go­ing for­ward".

"So we even did in­ter­views with many peo­ple, but I am not go­ing to hire any­body in the ab­sence of mon­ey and sec­ond­ly, I am not go­ing to start any league in the ab­sence of mon­ey.

"I am not go­ing to have those foot­ballers sign any con­tract in the pre­tence that mon­ey is com­ing, It is not fair es­pe­cial­ly in these times".

"We kept re­quest­ing from the T&TFA when will they re­ceive that mon­ey. It was a com­bi­na­tion of the FI­FA fund mon­ey and the Min­istry of Sports through the Sport Com­pa­ny, de­liv­er­ing on their part of their bar­gain which is the mon­ey that was used for the Pro League as you may know over the many years".

"The Min­istry of Sport de­liv­ered their mon­ey to the Sport Com­pa­ny and they were work­ing with the Pro League to en­sure that there is com­pli­ance, and we had an agree­ment on how the mon­ey would be used to go for­ward".

"So It was all per­fect and agreed up­on, but it was de­pen­dent sole­ly on T&TFA re­ceiv­ing mon­ey to start the sea­son. So I have a re­al is­sue when the pres­i­dent comes out and say that we did not live up to ex­pec­ta­tion. We de­liv­ered on it".

"We had giv­en the T&TFA all the bud­gets, and the cost of run­ning the league from an ad­min­is­tra­tive point of view as well as from a foot­ball point of view.

We have to thank the Min­is­ter of Sport, she came through in spades for us, she de­liv­ered her end of the bar­gain, and now they had the com­pli­ance is­sues which they had to re­solve with the Sport Com­pa­ny.

"But guess who was not for­ward­ing their mon­ey, Gillette asked sar­cas­ti­cal­ly, the T&TFA, so how can you now blame the Com­mis­sion.

"As the Com­mis­sion we agreed to the As­cen­sion League, with Tony as our rep­re­sen­ta­tive and he was able to ne­go­ti­ate in­sur­ances, so we want­ed foot­ball to con­tin­ue and As­cen­sion has kept its word as far as I am aware and met all its com­mit­ments, so again the on­ly last thing to make all of this hap­pen was fund­ing from that FI­FA for­ward to the T&TFA.

At the start of the year, Con­ca­caf rep­re­sen­ta­tive Howard McIn­tosh on a vis­it to T&T stat­ed that mon­ey will be pumped in­to the new­ly formed League in the form of $6.3 mil­lion from the Sport Com­pa­ny of T&T, US$1.5 mil­lion from FI­FA For­ward Pro­gramme through the T&TFA and US$175,000 via Con­ca­caf’s sub­ven­tion.

How­ev­er, Gillette said all his ef­forts to get an­swers on fund­ing from the T&TFA proved fu­tile.


SOURCE: T&T Guardian