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