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Sham! TTFA allegedly faked ‘congratulations’ from Women Warriors

The credibility of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has taken another hit after an allegation that the beleagured football body sent invented quotes to media from national women’s team player Tasha St Louis, which congratulated the TTFA over its treatment of the national women footballers.

Yesterday, a TTFA press release quoted St Louis and national team manager Vernetta Flanders complimenting the organisation for its efforts during the team’s 2015 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre) gestures to an Ecuador player before kick off while Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) has a word to her grandson before kick off of the FIFA Play Off second leg on 2 December 2014. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre) gestures to an Ecuador player before kick off while Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) has a word to her grandson before kick off of the FIFA Play Off second leg on 2 December 2014.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“The FA came through for us,” said St Louis, according to a TTFA press release, “and we received more resources and payment over the last three months than we have received since over the ten years or more that I’ve been a part of the program.”

Flanders allegedly thanked the football body for paying the players before the holiday period.

“It’s been a long campaign for everyone on the team including players and staff and we wish to say thank you to the TTFA and those who ensured the players in particular were able to receive their payments before the holiday period,” Flanders allegedly told the TTFA Media. “The experience has been one of a lifetime for everyone in the team and again we appreciate the efforts of the association.”

However, Wired868 was informed that both persons privately denied conducted any such interview with TTFA press officer Shaun Fuentes or anyone else from the local football body.

“No, I didn’t do an interview,” St Louis told Wired868. “Shaun called me but I told him I was busy and he didn’t call back.”

Wired868 read out St Louis’ alleged statement and asked if those were her words. She replied in the negative.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Tasha St Louis (right) controls the ball away from Costa Rica midfielder Katherine Alvarado during the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship semifinals in Chester, Pennsylvania. (Copyright Mitchell Leff/AFP 2014)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Tasha St Louis (right) controls the ball away from Costa Rica midfielder Katherine Alvarado during the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship semifinals in Chester, Pennsylvania.
(Copyright Mitchell Leff/AFP 2014)

Flanders said she heard about her supposed statement but, when asked if she gave an interview to the TTFA Media or was accurately quoted, she responded: “no comment.”

Fuentes, who sent to the release to the media, told Wired868 that he did not speak to St Louis or Flanders but claimed he received the quotes in a draft done by TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips.

The long-serving press officer admitted that he called St Louis but was told she was driving at the time while his second attempt to reach the player was unsuccessful. He was also unable to contact defender Arin King for a comment regarding the payment of their match fees and stipends.

Fuentes alleged that Phillips then sent him a draft press release with quotes from St Louis and Flanders. So he assumed that his boss spoke to both women.

“The release was put together by (Phillips) who said he had confirmed with the player that it was okay to use that quote,” Fuentes told Wired868. “He inserted the quote in the final draft to me and indicated that he spoke to her… He sent me a quote from both of them.”

Wired868 phoned Phillips for comment and left a message. But, up to the time of publication, he had not responded.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips. (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips.
(Courtesy SPORTT)

The allegedly faked interviews followed criticism from team captain Maylee Attin-Johnson and star attacker Kennya “Yaya” Cordner who blasted the TTFA’s tardiness in paying its players among other issues.

“To be honest, there are times when (the TTFA) was good to us,” Cordner told Wired868, “but most times when we needed them the most they were not good at all.”

At just 26 years of age, Cordner is already a three-time TTFA Women’s Player of the Year and recently became the first Caribbean player to be named on a shortlist for the CONCACAF Player of the Year award.

But, rather than call Cordner into a meeting to discuss her disenchantment, the TTFA appeared to counter her complaints by allegedly fabricatinig quotes that were credited to her teammate, St Louis, which claimed that: “The FA came through for us.”

If true, the stunt will do little for the image of the TTFA at a time when its integrity is being questioned more than ever since the depature of its former special advisor Jack Warner.

Phillips was alleged to be involved in a license fee racket, which cost taxpayers $400,000 in May. And football president Raymond Tim Kee deceived his own football executive over monies owed to coach Stephen Hart and his players and allegedly tried to hide Darren Millien’s role with the TTFA from the ExCo as well as Tourism Minister Gerald Hadeed.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago star Kennya "Yaya" Cordner (right) runs at the Guatemala defence during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago star Kennya “Yaya” Cordner (right) runs at the Guatemala defence during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

St Louis’ claim suggests that the TTFA has now turned to using players as pawns to shield themselves from criticism.

Tim Kee, in response to Cordner’s suggestion that the women’s team is now dormant, said that coach Randy Waldrum had already submitted plans for 2015, which included practice games. Just minutes after the final qualifying game on December 2, Phillips also indicated that Waldrum would be kept on.

It raised the question as to whether the TTFA technical committee, which is chaired by Richard Quan Chan, is no more than a rubber stamp. It is the technical committee’s remit to gauge and recommend coaches. But, if Waldrum did send his plans for 2015 to the football body, neither Tim Kee nor Phillips bothered to forward them to Quan Chan.

“We have not had yet had a report from Randy and we will not do anything until a report from him is submitted,” Quan Chan told Wired868. “The fraternity might accept at this point that Mr Waldrum has done a good job (and) the women believe he has brought them a long way…

“Mr Waldrum is the coach of Dallas Dash and I do not know that we are in a financial position to hire a foreign coach at this time. But there will be a full discussion on his performance and what kinds of options we might have.”

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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69 comments

  1. Maven Huggins think you misunderstood my comment

  2. ^^^Kirwin Weston >> ugly souled men – using, playing, abusing and manipulating women..what else is new. but i love your assessment and the truth and fact is BOTH (men and women, players and admin) need psych evaluations…in this case and societal…in reality. this is a mere caption of the larger trini cosmos. and still
    an understatement. thanks for writing that. really on point!!

  3. They really worked hard. I ent enjoy football like that in a long time. just hope they get all their money and more

  4. Listen the voice of the people is the voice of god and you’ll are treating our athletes wrong tim kee or bobo lee who ever stop the blame game and do whats right you’ll keep stealing public funds and not accounting for it sports health security education tourism energy stop stealing the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago money and not doing what you’ll are paid for what sense we have PS or auditor general no one is held accountable

  5. Tim kee say it was Under Jack Warner and Oliver Camps watch money from TTFA went missing,,,,now he in charge & still no answer on where the Money gone,,,,,Tim kee was under Jack & Oliver watch,,,so what all yuh expect,,,,,,jus like the Political Parties out now,,Recycle Politicians and call it Change,,,it’s just different name but still the same sets of thieves.

  6. Someone needs a psych. evaluation. Either the players or Mr. Phillips. This is madness.

  7. Sheldon Phillips is conveniently unavailable to comment or explain. How very predictable. Something to hide? Shame on the TTFA! 🙂

  8. Debbie Espinal Indeed, Fuentes explanation does look bit fishy. As a media offficer myself and i know many other sports team PR people, it strange for general secretary to seek quotes from a player and give his media people to use in a press release.

  9. New blood needed to run ttfa one who has no political affiliations and understands tnt fball

  10. Things to make u go uhhhhhhh hummmmm

  11. What do Tim kee and kamla have in common?
    They both claim innocence in blatant wrong doing and going on during their watch and claim to be as transparent as g5 tint on a govt range rover driving on d bus route.

  12. But i exposed a lie they made to you. You sounding uncertain, giving false reports to the media is par for the course.

  13. I’d say this is unbelievable and make the general point that this must be the ultimate TTFA low. But we all thought them sending the girls to USA with that little money was it. So i’ll hold my breath until the TTFA does something ever more crazy next month…*orders popcorn*

  14. This is inconceivable .and atrocious . how low can people go I am disgusted by the ruthlessness

  15. Even when you get the facts they want to mash you up for disclosing it

  16. Tim Kee is bad press for the PNM. Don’t know why the party doesn’t ditch him.

  17. Thus far, I have been unable to reach general secretary Sheldon Phillips. If an when he does find his voice, I hope his response is very clear.
    The question is: did you attribute quotes to Tasha St Louis that were not given by her to be used in a press release?

  18. Well, I try hard to get those facts for you and my other readers Gerard Emile Zatopek Pinard. But if it only takes the accused to say “no comment” to stave off criticism, then it is a loophole that would be routinely exploited. Consider that as well.

  19. A most sinister aspect here is the indication that the words that were falsely attributed to Tasha were used in the release in a specific attempt to rebut/refute concerns that were actually expressed by her very own teammates. That’s beyond callous.

  20. Some people also comment when they have something sensible to say, rather than just to say something eh. In my line of work the first 3 rules are 1. Get the facts, 2. Get the facts and 3. Get the facts.

  21. NICE.
    Yuh take in front dey nice boy! Hahaha

  22. These people need to be gone and not just from governing football, but investigated and pay the consequences.. but this is TnT.. 🙂

  23. Subject: Problem at the TTFA.
    Who might be to blame: Wired868 or Native Spirit or the 2006 World Cup players or the Pro League clubs or Brent Sancho or W Connection or Central FC or Jamaal Shabazz or the executive committee or Nissi Tours or David Atiba Charles or the Sport Ministry or the Sportt Company or the Ministry of Tourism or the old Permanent Secretary or the new Permanent Secretary or the private sector or the public sector…
    Who is definitely never to blame: president Raymond Tim Kee and general secretary Sheldon Phillips.

  24. Fuentes is known to issue quotes on players’ behalf without their consent. I have personally involved in one of those Press Releases

  25. Soon the TTFA will forge the players names on a document stating they decline any payment, watch!

  26. Kelvin – you have real belly to want to enter that rat’s nest. The institution is rotten to the core. If you need help getting a grip on the finances, give me a shout.

  27. ahahah,you are the best investigator in T&T Lasana Liburd

  28. jAH doh sleep! This is why we did’nt qualify, to much greed and deception in our little island.

  29. Lasana some people only comment when it suits their purpose. Is like “Two Pull” staring yuh in yuh face and some people still believe it wasn’t he. SMH!!

  30. What a shallow excuse from Fuentes. I suppose if Phillips tell him go jump over a cliff he will do so? This whole bunch ah TTFA so called Executives are just ^%$%%$ shameless! SMDH!!

  31. Yuh too Mauvais Langue Lasana…

  32. I’m not sure if i should laugh or cry.. I’m even sure if there is a word in the Oxford English Dictionary to describe these people. I will keep it simple.. disgraceful inept clowns..

  33. Same as with everyone else, Lasana, I believe in thorough investigation of all serious allegations and holding people accountable for any wrongdoing, but I’m not likely to waste too much time commenting on every unproven allegation in this mauvais langue society. Life is too short!

  34. Sheldon Phillips is effectively the CEO of the TTFA as general secretary. However it is not an elected post so he serves at the discretion of president Raymond Tim Kee and the executive committee.

  35. As much as I get your point Gerard, remember Jack Warner never confessed to anything either. Not sure what your stance on him would be.

  36. Lasana that is the cop out used in this banana . Even with conclusive evidence the condoners of wrongdoing avoid taking action claiming that it is only allegations .

  37. Ay, i rel fed up of these jokers. Is there any way we could scrap d TTFA and replace it with a bag of crapaud? They would clearly do a FAR better job -_-

  38. Then you “may” comment? Suppose Sheldon Phillips never comments on it. But you have statements from the player in question and the press officer.
    Once the accused doesn’t confess to wrongdoing, it doesn’t deserve comment?

  39. If it becomes more than an “allegation” I may comment, Lasana.

  40. Who is Sheldon again? Dais he wuk now?

  41. Well, Shaun said the quotes were passed on by Sheldon Phillips and he believed that it was done with the approval of the player.

  42. Well just keep in mind that Shaun’s job is PR. i am not defending what he did by any means, just saying in PR it is normal. However, generally even if you fabricate the quote, it must be approved by the person or at least someone else.

  43. My question is would you give you permission to someone to post a statement in your name when they feel the situation requires it?
    I can’t speak for the PR industry. If a journalist is caught fabricating quotes, he or she can be suspended or fired. That is the world I know.
    When you say someone said something and they didn’t, the word that comes to mind for me is “dishonest” not “PR.” But I admit that PR is not my field. And I’m relieved. Lol.

  44. Lasana that is normal PR. You feel every statement u see in the press actually come from the person????? LOL!

  45. So Shari if someone told you that they want to release a statement on their behalf you would say yes? I would never give anyone such a blank cheque myself.

  46. LOL!!!! Oh Lord… the TTFA real ridiculous yes. This is normal PR practice but you only pull these stunts when the persons you are quoting have agreed way in advance that you can speak on their behalf so that when a quote is released they know to say, ‘Yes, just refresh my memory on which statement you are referring to exactly please? I gave more than one interview recently’ Gosh… basic protocols. People make fake quotes for others all the time, but it must be with the person’s consent.

  47. I give up. So they falsifying quotes an all?

  48. What I still don’t understand is what the entire Exco are doing tolerating this nonsense for so long. I would not be part of a regime that committed these type of acts.

  49. Well yes, for real oui!…They so shameless, this earth not big enough to hide them nah

  50. It’s amazing. I wonder how long this practice has gone on for. And how much pressure are players put under to give approval for statements in their name that are released to the media?

  51. Nah man….say it ain’t so. But they lower than the white line on the priority bus route…wdf

  52. Plumbing to new depths of deceit and desperation. Really – fake releases? Is there no limit to how low these people will go?

  53. What de ass I reading here boi? Steups TTFA allyuh go knead bread for the devil yes

  54. @Zatopek Pinard…so basically what you are saying is that you rather wait till a police does the same thing Lasana did( ask the player and other person if they indeed said that.. then confirm with the person who put out the story..who said he got the info from his boss) and then a judge rules that Sheldon Phillips is liable, culpable, or guilty( choose whichever) of fabricating quotes on players? So you doh rely on good old common sense awa??? So if 2 of your family members got robbed(God forbid) and they pointed the person out to you and someone independent who was around confirmed that it was indeed the same person who was pointed out by the family members…you waiting on a judge to tell you that it was indeed that person for you to be sure ent?? Lololol

  55. It defies comprehension that Phillips would capriciously and unnecessarily make up a quote without actually speaking to St. Louis. Why would he do something like that… when it would be so easy for the player to call him out on it? What would it benefit him to lie under those circumstances? There was no real need to “counter” Cordner’s complaints… she was clearly emotional and venting. She claimed that the TTFA didn’t even contact them to let them know what’s going on… on the same day that Wired868 reported that Flanders had communicated to the team that they would be paid yesterday.

    • Lasana Liburd

      No need for Sheldon Phillips to hide behind a half bake. He can come out himself and say whether Tasha St Louis and Vernetta Flanders gave him those messages or not.