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FIFA protects TTFA president: Tim Kee gets seven-month extension

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee will hang on to his football portfolio for another seven months at least after FIFA granted the local football body an undemocratic extension without citing any by-law that allowed its decision.

The delay, according to correspondence sent by FIFA general secretary Jérôme Valcke, was primarily to allow the TTFA time to get its statutes in line with FIFA’s, although constitutional reform was proposed by Tim Kee rather than the global football body in the first place.

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, who is a member of the FIFA Futsal Committee, tries out the furniture at the global football body's Zurich headquarters.
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, who is a member of the FIFA Futsal Committee, tries out the furniture at the global football body’s Zurich headquarters.

“The (FIFA Associations) Committee also took note of the weaknesses of the TTFA Statutes and the work carried out by the Independent Reform Committee,” stated Valcke, “which proposed structural changes of the TTFA which could be in line with the FIFA Standard Statutes.

“Under these circumstances, the Associations Committee decided to provide an extension of the mandate of the current TTFA board until 30 June 2015 in order to revise the statutes in close collaboration with FIFA and CONCACAF and to organise elections accordingly.”

The letter from the FIFA general secretary was dated 25 September 2014 although the TTFA only released it today, just two hours before the Trinidad and Tobago national senior women’s team kicked off a crucial World Cup qualifier against Guatemala.

It did not say why the current statutes, which were in place for two decades, should affect next month’s TTFA election.

The reason for the lengthy postponement of the TTFA election would come as a surprise to the Independent Reform Committee (IRC), headed by Independent senator Elton Prescott, SC, which spent between August 2013 and April 2014 creating a template for a new TTFA constitution.

Former 2006 World Cup player and ESPN analyst Shaka Hislop, who was a member of the IRC, said he had not seen the TTFA’s release. However, he had the impression that FIFA was pleased with their constitutional reforms.

“We recommended certain changes to the TTFA’s constitution,” Hislop told Wired868. “My understanding is they were received by FIFA and met favourably by FIFA. And now it is just a matter of implementation, which we don’t have a direct say on.”

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper and ESPN commentator Shaka Hislop.
Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper and ESPN commentator Shaka Hislop.

Apart from Prescott and Hislop, the IRC also comprised of former West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president Dinanath Ramnarine, journalist Dr Sheila Rampersad, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis and archivist Patrick Raymond.

Now, according to a TTFA release, a new committee called the Constitutional Reform Panel will receive a nine-month mandate to apparently do the same job. The names of the new committee members have not yet been released.

“It would be very interesting to get clarity from the FIFA officials about if the reform committee’s recommendations and the proposed constitution is acceptable to FIFA,” said Lewis.

Lewis revealed that some of their recommendations included term limits and the separation of the governance structure between the elected TTFA officials and the day to day management of the football, which, he felt, should “provide for proper transparency and accountability.”

“The putting together of a reform panel and the utilisation of the report is not on the surface a ringing endorsement of our recommendations,” said Lewis. “In the absence of clarity, I’m not sure whether to feel elated or not about the amount of work we did on the constitution.

“It is not clear if the reform panel is going to go over the same process as the independent reform committee.”

The decision to create a new constitution for local football was initially proposed by the TTFA, rather than FIFA, in April 2013. However, Valcke said the the FIFA Associations Committee now feels it so important that it has overruled the present TTFA bylaws in a bid to keep Tim Kee in charge until it is completed to the governing body’s liking.

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and general secretary Sheldon Phillips. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and general secretary Sheldon Phillips.
(Courtesy Wired868)

At least one member of that FIFA Associations Committee, United States Soccer Federation (USSF) president Sunil Gulati, is no stranger to Phillips or Tim Kee. Gulati is listed as a reference on Phillips’ CV and recommended him to his current position.

“I have known Sheldon for over 20 years when we first worked together on US Cup ’92,” said Gulati, in Phillips’ CV. “He is resourceful and results driven. As the general secretary, the TTFF will certainly benefit from his experience in the game.”

In June, Gulati also cooed about the perceived successes of Tim Kee and Phillips.

“I’ve known Sheldon Phillips for a long time and I met Raymond Tim Kee a couple years ago,” said Gulati, during the 2014 World Cup. “I think the Association is in good hands and it’s (an) exciting time for Concacaf and the relationship between Trinidad and Tobago and the US…

“T&T is making progress… And, clearly with Raymond and Sheldon there, I think you will see a lot of positive changes.”

At the time, the TTFA’s staff was owed salaries while the football body’s headquarters was without a telephone line after being disconnected for non-payment, Tim Kee was in breach of a court order to pay the 2006 “Soca Warriors” and current national players and coaches were grumbling about unpaid match fees.

And, during Tim Kee’s two-year term, he and Phillips stumbled through a series of high-profile gaffes including the Native Spirit Akeem Adams fundraiser, Trinidad and Tobago’s non-participation at the inaugural MLS Caribbean draft, failure to honour agreements with the 2006 World Cup players and former coach Russell Latapy and their decision to send the national women’s team to the ongoing CONCACAF Championship in the United States without accompanying officials and even money to get from the airport to the hotel.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national women's team coach Randy Waldrum's infamous tweet.
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national women’s team coach Randy Waldrum’s infamous tweet.

In Tim Kee’s correspondence with Zurich, though, he portrayed himself as an antidote to the controversial era of ex-FIFA vice president Jack Warner. The TTFA president said he was “charged with the awesome and serious task of bringing true reform” to the TTFA and addressing “a multitude of abuses committed by the previous regime.”

Valcke appeared to warm to that theme.

“We are keenly aware of the dire situation and various difficulties faced by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF),” wrote Valcke, “and emanating from the mismanagement of previous administrations.”

In fact, Tim Kee was a vice-president for over a decade under the Warner-led executive while he was voted into power by the same officials that he criticised to FIFA.

During the 2012 football elections, Tim Kee denied that his candidacy was supported by Warner or that the then senior Cabinet member played any role in the sudden and mysterious withdrawal of Colin Murray’s competing bid for the top job. He also later denied rumours that he double-crossed Warner by snubbing the latter’s friend and Eastern Football Association (EFA) official Neville Ferguson and installing Phillips as TTFA general secretary instead.

And, despite his stated mission of ushering football into an era of transparency, the TTFA’s finance committee, which is ostensibly chaired by Tim Kee, has not met once in almost two years while he did not keep his election promise to conduct an immediate financial audit of the body.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams muses over Mexico's decisive goal in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal. (Copyright Getty Images/AFP/ Mike Zarrilli)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams muses over Mexico’s decisive goal in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal.
(Copyright Getty Images/AFP/ Mike Zarrilli)

Although the TTFA elections has been postponed, the zonal elections will proceed as normal and should be conducted next month. At present, the constitution dictates that the zonal bodies will select the football president although the IRC recommended a “one club, one vote” system.

Either way, Tim Kee, who is also the Port of Spain mayor and treasurer for the Opposition political party, the PNM, will have until 30 June 2015 to find a way to win the favour of a distrusting football public.

Incidentally, Trinidad and Tobago’s general election is constitutionally due in May 2015 although the People’s Partnership government suggested it could be pushed back to September.

Photo: FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke suggests that TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee can stay in power without an election.
Photo: FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke suggests that TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee can stay in power without an election.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 15 years experience at several local and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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48 comments

  1. Indra you have to have honour to be honourable so there’s no chance of anyone doing the honourable thing not even Rowley et al. If Keith think people have short memories he better think again and get rid of that noose around his neck before it’s too late.

  2. Well, I don’t see how the point is whether or not he will win. There are several people interested in running, which has not happened in decades. That alone might say something.
    The point, I think, is why the delay and why a delay of that length.

  3. After that shameful episode with d women’s team nah

  4. Curious and revealing? Pray do tell how so? I hold no brief for Tim Kee. I stand corrected. He is part of the old TTFF. I trust none of them. V

  5. Chandani Boodoo, it is not about if he “could” hold elections now. He isn’t doing us a favour. He is obliged by the constitution to hold the election now. So this has nothing to do with whether or not he might win. I find your response very curious and possibly revealing.
    And I published the entire letter from FIFA. So I’m not sure what you’re getting at there.
    Any other concerns?

    • This is not the letter authorizing the extension of voting, this letter is a letter from 2 months earlier sent by Valcke, acknowledging the report of the Reform Commission. The letter in question is from September 25, 2014.

  6. Lasana, you omitted parts of the FIFA letter. I hope it was not intentional. There is more at stake for Tim Kee if he allows the changes not so? He could hold elections now under the present constitution and win, he risks much more allowing the diluting of powers. I disagree with this article, it just is not fairly written

  7. Lasana you just on s**t… you know full well why the delay was asked for by Tim Kee, and granted by FIFA. But keep grinding yuh axe, yuh credibility sinking lower with each turn of the wheel.

    • Lasana Liburd

      Thanks for the tip Bakes. The story says “why” they got the delay, from whom and for how long. The question of whether they should have gotten it and the length of the delay is what most people are concerned with though.

  8. Bruce.. Your words are always very calculated and wise.. I’m very selective of who I would want involved to finally get football on track..

  9. Correct Kelvin take your time and understand the politics. Select carefully the people you want around you. As Jamaicans say people talk out of both sides of their mouth.

  10. I’m a patient man with important things.. They can delay and run a bit but they can’t hide. Incompetent people with an inclination to suppress don’t suddenly become competent and professional. They want to hold on to their positions because it’s a powerful one. I’m certain myself and a chosen few can revive Trinidad and Tobago football. I shall wait, observe, and I guess this delay affords me the opportunity to better organise my busy schedule and plans..

  11. There are existing organisation comprising persons who have shown their capability in running football effectively.

  12. Anyone with a brain and willing to use it qualified for that wuk….

  13. Do we even have any
    alternative candidates willing to accept his position though? Anyone of note or credibility?

  14. If you have a corrupt business what kind of people would you want around you?

  15. FIFA MUST know his political affiliations. This is downright foolishness. Why must FIFA interefere in the political process? I can see implementation of policies; but Raymond Tim Kee should do the hounourable thing and resign. There should be a football strike….referees, coaches, players. Rowley and the PNM bigwigs should intevene and get TimKee to go. Nuff said. Are we a mediocre country…This raises my pores this morning

  16. There’s a symbiotic relationship being created in officialdom. Sounds familiar?

  17. Oh oh is that a good sign or another Jackie

  18. Kelvin Jack for President TTFA……

  19. Yes Lasana,they mafia protects their own ….like the lodge…..lol

  20. Prayers are always needed but we beat them before and we can beat them again. We are going to the World Cup. Keep the faith.

  21. If we let them…and Prince Borde, let us be real…do you know who our women will be coming up against?…CR, so let’s say a prayer

  22. Mervyn Boi they done cross that line long time.

  23. You’re right Mervyn Skeete just like Jack Warner actions in FIFA had nun to do with his MP status.

  24. Yes, no doubt, but I don’t think FIFA can dictate to T&T how to conduct our internal affairs (elections) that is crossing the line.

  25. Don’t bet any money on that Prince. The only corner FIFA is in is FIFA’s corner.

  26. FIFA are experts at turning a blind eye when it suits them and this suits them. They have many more pieces of silver to throw and many more waiting to catch. SMH!!

  27. Haha we women going to the World Cup now! FIFA is in our corner

  28. FIFA president Sepp Blatter once wrote a letter endorsing Warner’s political campaign. I won’t be so sure that FIFA is blind to national politics.

  29. Pray tell, why POLITICS Mark De Silva, there is no relation, and FIFA has no idea of his political affiliation….SICKENING, but then, can FIFA do this. Somebody needs to read the constitution of the TTFA..

  30. Not a damn dog dare bark at the almighty FIFA. Besides they have enough money to buy and sell Countries far more Lawyers. Poor Kelvin Jack. He dogs dead. SMH!!

  31. Kendall Tull, I doubt very much that this decision would stand if someone challenged it. But who would stick their head out to do so?
    I can’t see how it is legal.

  32. I will bring as much info on this as possible. I don’t know that FIFA can do this. But I don’t know that there is anyone who will stick his neck out to legally challenge FIFA.

  33. Dunno what else to say Debbie Espinal. Lol

  34. What I don’t understand is how could FIFA set this kind of precedent and blatantly interfere with a National association. This would NEVER happen in UEFA.

  35. They might make him VP soon too. What a load of crock

  36. What’s there to like Lasana???

  37. PNM’s Jack Warner! Good look for a coming election.

  38. “Incidentally, Trinidad and Tobago’s general election is constitutionally due in May 2015 although the People’s Partnership government suggested it could be pushed back to September.” Don’t go butting your head in vain against that wall; the law is clear. It says that the election is due not later than 90 days from the fifth anniversary of the first sitting of the Parliament. The current parliament sat first on June 16, I think so mid-September is in fact the deadline.

  39. My personal view is that this is just wrong and if I have to say why here that would be another article in itself.