Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee looks set for a collision course with his executive committee after two senior members suggested today that Tim Kee appears to be using the football body as a rubber stamp.
Tim Kee, whose day job is as a sales executive for Guardian Life, is not afraid to make big decisions. Barely a week after he became president last November, he made then Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA and Guyana international coach Jamaal Shabazz the national team’s co-head coach for the 2012 Caribbean Cup finals. And, in 2013, he successfully settled a seven-year bonus dispute with the 2006 World Cup player and replaced his coaching staff with less than a month to go before the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
But, each time, Tim Kee is accused of acting without consulting the TTFA executive committee and there are concerns that local football, which was promised a new dawn after the heavy handed approach of ex-special advisor Jack Warner, might be witnessing the rise of a new maximum leader.
Rudolph Thomas is a TTFA vice-president, treasurer and chairman of the technical development committee, which is responsible for making recommendations regarding national coaches. However, Thomas only found out that Tim Kee approached former 2006 World Cup coach Leo Beenhakker to lead the “Soca Warriors” on June 4. By then, Beenhakker was already watching the Warriors play in Romania and discussions were at an advanced stage.
Wired868 also published an article about the Dutchman’s impending return on June 4.
“I only knew that discussions were initiated with Mr Beenhakker while the general secretary was in Romania,” Thomas told Wired868. “I didn’t have an abundance of details… I’m still of patchy about things.”
Thomas had even less to say about the supposed appointment of former Canada coach Stephen Hart, who has allegedly verbally agreed a two-year deal with the Warriors. It was only yesterday that Thomas heard Hart’s name mentioned, for the first time, in relation to the Trinidad and Tobago post.
“As a member of the executive, I only learned about Stephen Hart this week,” he said. “I’m not prepared to answer about what I’m not sure about.”
TTFA first vice-president and former interim president Lennox Watson said he had not heard about Hart at all until Wired868 called to ask for a comment today. Watson claimed that the TTFA executive has met formally just once during Tim Kee’s seven-month tenure thus far.
“The first I heard of Hart is from you and all I know about Beenhakker is what I read in the papers,” said Watson. “Mr Tim Kee does not speak to me; (he) leaves the country and goes and does not tell the first vice president where he is. That is the state of the TTFF now…
“I read in the papers to find out what he is doing.”
It is uncertain whether Watson was informed that the TTFF has reverted to its original name as TTFA.
Tim Kee and Watson publicly contradicted each other last month when the president said that Watson knew millions of dollars were available to the football body from 2014 television and broadcast rights but did not try to access it. Tim Kee claimed the 2006 World Cup players were paid from that money.
Watson denied the allegation and threatened to take legal action if Tim Kee does not retract the claim. The TTFA vice-president said he insisted on a meeting with Tim Kee after he read about the impending settlement with the Warriors but before his subsequent claim about television and broadcast rights.
“I am still waiting on him to say when Jeff Webb told me about the money,” said Watson. “At the meeting, he told us there was a confidentiality clause so he couldn’t tell us where he got the money from. But after we pressed, he gave us some figures. But he did not show us any documentation…
“I was surprised after that he said I knew (about the available television and broadcast rights).”
Neither Tim Kee nor his general secretary Sheldon Phillips made themselves available to respond, despite requests by Wired868.
Thomas declined comment on whether the technical development committee that he chairs is rendered irrelevant after being bypassed in recent technical staff adjustments.
“What I will say is the more things change,” said Thomas, “the more they stay the same.”
Thomas refused to expand on that statement.