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TTFA official questions validity of Tim Kee sacking; Phillips promises “dignified exit”

Did Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee have the authority to sack his general secretary, Sheldon Phillips?

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

Tim Kee fired Phillips this afternoon and communicated his decision to the public, via a press release.

According to Tim Kee, Phillips was axed for his: “failure to adhere to directives regarding the operational activities of the FA.”

However, a TTFA executive committee member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, suggested that the football president had no such power under the constitution.

“He has the authority to propose the appointment and dismissal of the general secretary,” the source told Wired868, “but he cannot fire anybody. That is the prerogative of the executive committee.”

Phillips’ dismissal, according to an informed source, was the result of an interview he gave to the Trinidad Guardian in which the paper suggested that Phillips said the TTFA executive gave its “full support” to Tim Kee.

The story brought a furious and humiliating response from the TTFA’s vice-presidents, Lennox Watson, Rudy Thomas and Krishna Kuairsingh, and Tim Kee demanded Phillips’ resignation on Monday evening before sacking him when he did not comply.

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre), ex-2006 World Cup player Brent Sancho (right) and TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips address the media in 2013. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre), ex-2006 World Cup player Brent Sancho (right) and TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips address the media in 2013.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Ironically, the TTFA executive member explained that such hasty and unilateral decisions by Tim Kee where precisely why he had lost the confidence of his board.

“Article 39 of the new constitution will tell you what are the authorities of the president,” he said. “The problem is (Tim Kee) thinks that he is an executive president, which he is not. And he keeps making decisions on his own which should be an executive responsibility.

“In neither the old nor the new constitution does he have that kind of authority.”

Article 39 of the TTFA constitution, which was ratified and adopted on 12 July 2015, the TTFA president is responsible for: “implementing the decisions passed by the General Meeting and the Board of Directors through the General Secretariat… (and) only the President may propose the appointment or dismissal of the General Secretary.”

As such, the TTFA executive member suggested that Tim Kee could not dismiss anyone but had to take his proposal to the football body for action. He wondered too if the football president had opened the body up to the threat of litigation from Phillips, who holds a law degree.

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.

“I do not know if he is opening himself and the TTFA up for litigation,” said the anonymous source, “because, if you cannot fire a man, you cannot make a public pronouncement like that. That is a very sensitive situation.”

Wired868 tried to reach Tim Kee for comment without success.

Phillips said he intends to make a dignified exit from local football and did not intend to enter into a nasty battle with his former employers. Although he did say that he would keep his options open in terms of his next move.

“I am just taking things in and reflecting on the situation,” Phillips told Wired868. “So I will need a couple of days to weigh all my options. For now, it is important for me to get out to the public how appreciative I am of the opportunity to serve…

“Football in Trinidad and Tobago has a real chance of entering into a period of normalcy. You have teams doing well and people are starting to come back to games and there is some hope and excitement about the national team.

“So we have the opportunity to ride the wave and help the team do even better. For me or anyone else to come in suck the energy of out the room with exposés would be self-centred.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Sheldon Bateau (centre) celebrates the opening goal against Guatemala with teammates Radanfah Abu Bakr (left) and Khaleem Hyland during their 3-1 Gold Cup win. (Copyright Jonathan Daniel/AFP 2015)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Sheldon Bateau (centre) celebrates the opening goal against Guatemala with teammates Radanfah Abu Bakr (left) and Khaleem Hyland during their 3-1 Gold Cup win.
(Copyright Jonathan Daniel/AFP 2015)

Phillips declined comment on Tim Kee’s stated reason for his dismissal, which was that the former general secretary failed to adhere to directives from the FA.

“You would have to ask the president,” said Phillips, “I have no comment to make on that.”

He did promise to speak in greater detail about the TTFA licensing fee scandal that overshadowed the exhibition match against Argentina as well as the controversial Akeem Adams fundraiser.

“At some point in time, I want to address the Argentina and Adams thing in a way I couldn’t before,” said Phillips. “But there won’t be any bussing files really… I am grateful for the opportunity to have served and grateful for the chance to work with the players and the coaches and staff.”

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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32 comments

  1. Bakes

    …and now we know the answer to the “questions.” Interesting to see how things play out now that Tim Kee has been knocked back a peg and Phillips restored.

  2. Waste a time as a mayor waste a time as a ttfa president

  3. The important thing is that he NEVER took it to the Board, and this cannot now be done retroactively. If Sheldon was asked to resign for not following directives, should the President not be asked to do the same for not following the directives of the constitution? If he refuses the Board can dismiss him.
    Fun times ahead. Let us see if the “BOARD” has the testicular fortitude to collectively apply the directives of the constitution.

  4. ..Local football. An embarraament. Ebery day worse..

  5. Hmmm. That “shall” statement is pretty strong. To me that implies “must”, but I’m sure lawyers could have a field day with such a word?

  6. No Carlos it is not a rubber stamping at all. The Board can reject the proposal of the President. Tim Kee is NOT an Executive President.

  7. Kendall Tull – not sure if it’s that easy a case for Sheldon. When you read the Powers of the Board of Directors (BODs) as it pertains to the firing of the GS, they essentially have a rubber-stamping role. Article 36 (f) states that the BODs “shall appoint or dismiss the GS on the proposal of the President”.

    • Bakes

      Phillips has an open and shut case for breach of contract. Folks are getting caught up in the procedural deficiencies of the firing (HOW it was done) and not the substantive deficiencies (the flaw in WHY- as explained by Tim Kee- he was fired). According to Tim Kee it was explicitly because of the Guardian article… which of course was the acknowledged fault of the Guardian, which means that Phillips was terminated w/o cause… in clear breach of his contract. If this were an “at-will” relationship it wouldn’t matter the cause. In fact the TTFA would need no cause to terminate, they could just sever the relationship. But this was a binding contract with set provisions governing termination. Tim Kee climb inside he feelings, ketch a vaps and now it will be the TTFA to ketch.

    • But the President never took it to the BOD. I think thats the point Kendall is making

  8. Bruce – Tim Kee had no power to dismiss and Sheldon can sue and win easily.

  9. A copy of the relevant portion of the Constitution is available.

  10. Is this a political ploy to attract votes from clubs who dislike Sheldon Phillips? Not resigning but asking to be fired clearly means that this is not the end. Wonder what his contract of employment says? Was he given the full right to be heard?
    This may even be a source of distraction before the election.
    Ramesh Ramdhan who threw his hat in the ring today for the President’s position is an employee of the TTFA. What does this mean? Is his boss going to be happy with this development?
    Time will tell.

  11. Actually – I take back that statement. On closer review the President is the only one who can propose the appointment or dismissal of the GS. Technically he can’t truly fire the GS, but can propose such to the Board of Directors.

  12. Chris Tanner – actually based on the current TTFA Constitution, the President is the only individual who can fire the GS.

  13. “Executive President”, we have quite a few here who doh understand their roles and responsibilities.

  14. Rowley I hope you watching. This is yuh treasurer.

  15. Tim Kee is a waste of space. He needs to go!

  16. Bakes

    “Phillips’ dismissal, according to an informed source, was the result of an interview he gave to the Trinidad Guardian in which he was quoted as saying that the TTFA executive gave its “full support” to Tim Kee.”

    At NO point in the Guardian article was Phillips ever “quoted” as saying the ExCo gave Tim Kee its full support, this is just sloppiness on your part now. The “full support” statement was a standalone statement that the Guardian fished out of God-knows-where. The statement wasn’t even attributed to Phillips, it was merely juxtaposed against another independent statement he made. A clear insinuation was intended since the Guardian editor claims she misunderstood her own reporter’s story. This is either poor journalism on your part or it borders on mischief.

    As for the TTFA’s concerns about litigation, I don’t know if Phillips intends to sue or not, but he’d have an excellent case, given the reasons Tim Kee presented in this dismissal letter to Phillips (not the press release, but the actual letter), it’s purely nonsensical.

  17. I swear Tim Kee has two left feet.

  18. this is surely correct … no president can sack a GS without a board discussion at least