Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee secured a significant victory in his power struggle with Sport Minister Brent Sancho today with the announcement that the Government would resume funding of local football.
“The Ministry has therefore agreed to resume funding to the TTFA,” stated a joint release today from the TTFA and Sport Ministry, “with an initial release to cover two months outstanding salaries for coaches and technical staff of the senior men’s programme.
“Additionally, the Ministry has undertaken to review the TTFA’s request for funding to support the 2015 Gold Cup campaign which begins in July 2015…
“The Ministry also resolved to support the FIFA Goal project which will see the establishment of a National Training Centre in Trinidad and Tobago.”
The Sport Ministry’s decision would be viewed as a climbdown after Sancho stopped funding in April due to the TTFA’s failure to meet a mutually agreed March deadline to produced audited statements for 2014. Sancho also refused to pay the salaries of the national team coaches.
But, in the end, the Sport Ministry agreed to resume funding and pay the TTFA’s coaches in exchange for just the 2008/09 audited statement and an extended deadline for draft statements leading up to 2014.
“When the meeting concluded, Minister Brent Sancho was presented with draft audited financial statements from the TTFA for the periods 2008/09,” stated the release. “The Ministry committed to assisting the TTFA to bring the organisation’s accounting records up to date and determine how state funding will be accounted for in the future.
“However, as the submission of audited financials for previous years must be complete before going forward…”
The TTFA agreed to present draft accounting statements, as prepared by KPMG, on: May 22 (for the year 2010/11), June 8 (for the year 2011/12) and June 30 (for the year 2013/14).
Sancho’s need for the TTFA to endorse his proposed Women’s Premier League (WPL)—a point seized with relish by Tim Kee—was felt to have a been a factor in the softened tone by the Sport Ministry.
“With respect to the Women’s Premier League (WPL), the Ministry has submitted a prospectus on the proposed rules and regulations of the tournament,” stated the release, “and expects to secure the formal endorsement of the TTFA for the competition which is scheduled to commence in June 2015.”
But there was a potential sting in the tail for Tim Kee and the TTFA. KPMG, according to the joint release, found bank statements for 2008/09 that were not reflected in the football body’s accounts.
The football body has supposedly requested further records from the relevant banks and it could make for interesting reading, considering the chaotic state of the TTFA’s finances.
“A bank confirmation was received for (2008 and 2009), that included bank accounts that were not reflected in the accounts,” stated KPMG, according to the release. “TTFA’s management requested information from the relevant banks, most of which has not been received to date.
“Consequently, TTFA’s management was unable to provide the auditors with sufficient information for the completion of the audits for all years from 2008 onwards.”
The Sport Ministry gave KPMG’s assurance as its reason for an about-turn, which would benefit several national teams as well as the WPL. It is left to be seen what impact the truce would have on the TTFA’s vow to deliver greater financial transparency.