Less than 24 hours after he officially opened the Home of Football at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Balmain, Couva, on Saturday, embattled David John-Williams announced on Sunday, his candidacy for re-election as T&T Football Association (TTFA) president at the annual general meeting (AGM) on November 24.
He fell short of declaring his slate but said all his documentation had been lodged with the TTFA Electoral Committee well within the deadline which was set back on October 14.
John-Williams’ announcement comes exactly a week after his challengers, the United TTFA which is led by board member and Secondary Schools Football Association president William Wallace, launched their slate.
John-Williams will be challenged by Wallace and Richard Ferguson, owner of Terminix La Horquetta Rangers and managing director of Terminix Limited, for leadership of the 111-year-old organisation.
The United TTFA will also include Sam Phillip, a Super League board member, Central Football Association secretary Clynt Taylor and Women’s Football League president Susan Joseph-Warrick. Ferguson’s slate has put up Pro League club executive Raymond Thom and Central Football Association (CFA) president Shymdeo Gosine. Eddison Dean, who was initially on Ferguson’s slate for the first vice-president position, withdrew to support the United TTFA’s push for power.
John-Williams, who was elected to the position back in 2015, told Guardian Media Sports yesterday that there’s no success without change and no change without conflict, something he said he kept reminding himself about during his first term as TTFA president.
During Saturday’s tour of the Home of Football facilities, John-Williams, who was accompanied by general secretary Camara David and members of staff, said, “Not everyone has agreed with me or my policies. Some persons have undermined, attempted to destroy, malign, attack and damage me, the TTFA and by extension T&T football. “Notwithstanding this, but by the grace of the Almighty, and the truly faithful, I am still standing.
“Coming into the TTFA in 2015 brought challenges, too many to mention on this occasion, but I’ve embraced them and found innovative ways to rise above them. It was imperative to hit the reset button. Guided by the mandate given by the membership, I’ve worked tirelessly to restore the good name of the TTFA.”
John-Williams’ four-year term has been marred with controversy aligned to several legal battles, including the courts ordering the freezing of the TTFA bank account. He has also been criticised for the poor performances of national teams, a lack of transparency during the building of the Home of Football and has even been labelled a dictator.
However, he said he was still able to get things his team prioritised during the period.
“Quick fixes are not always possible or a realistic expectation. While some may disagree with the order of priorities addressed by the current administration, and some of the decisions made, we placed focus on many achievements since assuming office in 2015.”
Among the successes over the last four years, he listed the following:
1. Construction of quality facilities that will create the opportunity to provide revenue streams to bring financial stability to the TTFA, other NSOs and the country at large through the opportunity to further develop the sports tourism industry.
2. Restoring FIFA funding which was suspended during the term of the last administration
3. Producing audited financial statements for every year from 2015 onwards
4. Paying down debts from previous administrations—To date over $12 million paid
5. Increasing revenue significantly by our senior team playing international friendly matches on the FIFA dates against high-level opponents
6. Bringing expenditure in line with revenues and reducing the dependency on the treasury for funding of the sport.
7. Embracing technology and IT expertise to further enhance and improve aspects of our on-field programmes, administration and marketing
8. Establishing a comprehensive youth development programme on the basis of tried and tested models that were ably supported by the NLCB
9. Strengthening and deepening internal and external governance with accountability, that has repaired damaged relationships with regional and international bodies such as CFU, CONCACAF & FIFA.
Businessman John-Williams, the former owner of Pro League club W Connection added, “The work of this administration simply cannot be measured solely by wins or losses on the field, but by a greater appreciation for all that has been achieved throughout my tenure. Over the next two weeks, many questions will be answered and a lot will be revealed which will continue to open the eyes of the members of the TTFA.
“It is because of this I must say, it is time to finish what we started. There is too much that is fundamentally important right now to allow the administration of T&T Football to alter the planned strategic initiatives at this time. We’re at the cusp of the breakthrough that will see our game soar again. As such, after much prayer and consultation with many stakeholders, I have decided to seek re-election as president of the Trinidad & Tobago Football Association.”
Asked about the cost to out the 72-room hotel, a sports and entertainment centre and training fields which is on the same compound with the National Aquatic Centre and National Cycling Velodrome in Balmain, he responded, “It cost $1.5 million to outfit and now football has a home with an asset of an estimated $100 million which all of T&T must be proud of and the TTFA’s aim is to be first within the government’s sports tourism programme. On Monday (November 18, 2019), the TTFA is fully open for business which will help in reducing our debt which is over $34 million.”
John-Williams said the entertainment centre, which is separate from the hotel aspect of the business plan, would be a major income generator.