The recent statement by former president of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) William Wallace, to me, was just a list of poor excuses that left us with more questions than answers.
While I think Wallace did make some unforced errors and mistakes out of naivety, he has confirmed that some of his actions knowingly disregarded the TTFA board and possibly his United TTFA colleagues.
Wallace confirms that he appointed Peter Miller because of a promise made to Raymond Tim-Kee (deceased) and as a reward to Miller for his support with the TTFA election campaign leadiung up to the November 24, 2019 annual general meeting (AGM).
While Wallace’s loyalty to former TTFA president Tim-Kee’s memory is admirable, his loyalty should always be to the sport and his board and the promises he made to the stakeholders who elected him to lead. One also has to ask the question of the US$30,000 bonus promised and if this is TTFA money being spent on the United TTFA campaign?
It seems very clear that a promise may have been made to both Peter Miller and Terry Fenwick that they would be rewarded with contracts should United TTFA win the election.
Both apparently, were instrumental in developing marketing strategies and alleged sponsors. As long time friends, they had worked together on previous ventures including Fenwick’s first coaching position at Northampton Town in England. Miller then helped to negotiate Fenwick’s national team contract.
While Fenwick may have been the best coaching option anyway, there certainly appears to have been some latitude awarded to him, not least the ability for him to have his contract drawn up by his own legal adviser. It appears that the board approved contract was totally disregarded by Wallace.
But the fact that Miller was appointed to work for TTFA and was simultaneously negotiating for Fenwick could have been regarded as a conflict of interest. Red flags should have been raised and stringent checks on their collaboration should have taken place.
Keith Look-Loy and the rest of the United TTFA was meticulous and relentless in pursuit of the former president David John-William for what they termed possible wrongdoings and rightfully so, but where were the similar traits to run the affairs of the Association. “who was guarding the guards?” Why did the members of United TTFA allow contracts to be issued without any oversight?
For such a close-knit group of comrades, wasn’t anyone interested in what was being offered?
Questions must also be asked of the General Secretary who apparently blindly co-signed these contracts without any reference to the board’s requirements and prior decisions taken. But then, he was awarded a contract that also went against the board’s specific instructions, so perhaps that was motivation enough to not raise any protests or bring this to the attention of the three vice presidents.
Despite several emails from board members many of them (myself included) seeking and requesting transparency in vetting all contracts before being signed all fell on deaf ears and in some instances met with animosity.
It is abundantly clear to me, after witnessing events under both David John-Williams and William Wallace that there are operational loopholes in the TTFA constitution that need amending immediately before going forward.
The board should have a power of veto over all contracts and obligations agreed by the president or executive and every contract should be vetted by a TTFA legal representative and viewed by the board before being handed out in the future.
The requirement that a president should have a minimum of three (3) years’ experience of local football is not required. Similarly, the General Secretary is a redundant position and should be replaced by a chief executive officer (CEO) who is legally responsible for the actions of the executive.
The TTFA board need not be the rubber stamp authority, but instead should be guiding the long term strategies of the association. The current board structure is too large, with board meetings regularly running more than five hours long. An operational seven-member board including only three TTFA members along with three independent board members should be created with certain business skills required such as a marketing director, legal adviser and medical adviser.
The management of TTFA should be streamlined, with greater responsibilities allowed, yet more intense oversight invoked, with gross misconduct such as we have witnessed recently attracting severe penalties.
In the rush to remove David John-Williams, we have learned harsh lessons. But football is a game where you can learn from your mistakes and return stronger than ever. Trinidad and Tobago football has just endured an embarrassing thrashing. It’s now time to take what we have learned, build a solid foundation, and get back to winning ways.
Owner Central FC
Chairman T&T Pro League, Ag.
TTFA Board Director