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