A united group of football enthusiasts is aiming to rescue local football from what they claim are the ills of the current T&T Football Association administration.
The group comprises stakeholders such as T&T Super League president Keith Look Loy, Women's Football League (WoLF) president Susan Joseph-Warrick, Northern Football Association (NFA) president Anthony Harford, Central Football Association (CFA) president Shymdeo Gosine, Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) president William Wallace, former TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, CFA general secretary Clynt Taylor, former T&T Pro League CEO Sam Phillips and NFA secretary Rashawn Mars.
Speaking at a press conference at the Hotel Normandie, St Ann’s, yesterday, Look Loy said the group's main agenda is to rid the sport of TTFA president John-Williams, under whose management the sport has sunk to its lowest ever in local, regional and international football. He told the media he will be the group's ombudsman and said anyone following football today knows T&T is in crisis.
He pointed to the lack of transparency and accountability, the many matters the TTFA has before the courts, the collapse of the national teams' programmes, the TTFA debt, failure of the technical department and the failure of the grassroots programme among many others as evidence of their need to form the group. Look Loy said by September, they will establish a common, collective development programme for the country's football, describing it as a road map of how they will save the TTFA and football. The programme is to be put before the members of the football fraternity and the wider public as a whole for consultation, as the TTFA is not the property of the president, he said. He said the group will also form a united slate that will provide strong candidates to contest the TTFA election in November.
Harford, who was the previous organizer of the T&T Super League, said he and his association decided to join the cause because they are convinced good leadership of football in T&T has totally evaporated.
"The 2019 profit and loss statement of the TTFA speaks to a projected loss of $42 million dollars, not including the Home of Football. This is printed and circulated to members of the TTFA. We fully expect that when you add the surprises of the Home of Football, that it will reach $60 million by the time we get to the elections," he said.
"That is not frightening to us. What is frightening to us is the way the TTFA has treated with its foundation project, the zones. There are six zones in T&T, of which NFA is one. We manage 24 active clubs, 11 academies and there are always six to seven clubs that are registered but not active in a given year and thousands of youth footballers.
"In four years, since 2015, based on the limited information we get from the TTFA, the FIFA has given in grants and funding to football in T&T, $60 million in total. Northern football, in those four years, receives a total of $25,000 out of $60 million. Further, we are mandated by the TTFA to pay an annual registration fee of $5,000, if we do not pay it, we are deemed to be non-compliant, inactive and will not be recognised as a member of the TTFA. So we have received $25,000 and have paid TTFA $20,000 over the last four years. Northern football was run on $5,000 out of all the FIFA funding."
Earlier, Wallace highlighted the fall of youth, women and senior football in the CONCACAF region under John-Williams.
Look Loy later read out written support statements from former national goalkeeper Kelvin Jack and former national midfielder Maylee Attin-Johnson. Shaka Hislop, another ex-national goalie, also sent a video showing his support to the group, saying building a home of football is not an excuse for the lack of transparency and poor on-field performances among other things.