‘Clearly unacceptable!’ Full TTFA letter condemning Robert Hadad and the Fifa-appointed NC

“[…] You have not called an annual general meeting and as such who will appoint the external auditors? Yourself? This is clearly unacceptable, since you cannot appoint an auditor that will audit your financial decisions.

“It is even more astounding that you have elected not to appoint an Audit and Compliance Committee […] as this committee is critical in reviewing the financial performance of your management. 

“Your decisions regarding the aforementioned fact are frightening and it is a breeding ground for mismanagement and fraud…”

Photo: Robert Hadad is co-CEO of Hadco and board member at the International School in POS.
Hadad was appointed head of Fifa’s normalisation committee in Trinidad and Tobago on 27 March 2020.
(Copyright Gary Jordan Photography ©2017)

The following letter on the supposedly appalling stewardship of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association by the Fifa-appointed normalisation committee, headed by Robert Hadad, was sent today by Eastern FA president Kieron Edwards to Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura today as well as to Hadad and other committee members Judy Daniel, Nigel Romano and Trevor Nicholas Gomez:

(The letter was signed by acting Pro League chairman Brent Sancho, Northern FA president Ross Russell, Central FA president Shymdeo Gosine, Southern FA president Richard Quan Chan, Eastern Counties FU vice-president Ian Pritchard, Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) president Merere Gonzales, and Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association (TTFRA) president Osmond Downer.)

Concerns of the TTFA Membership:

With reference to the above captioned subject, we the undersigned members of the TTFA wish to draw to your attention our concerns in relation to your performance in your management of the  Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).

Photo: A Trinidad and Tobago football fan waves his flag during their 2015 Concacaf Gold Cup fixture against Cuba in Phoenix.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

You were appointed on the 27 March 2020 and you were mandated by Fifa to execute the following during a two year term:

  1. Establish a debt repayment plan that is implementable by the TTFA;
  2. Review and amend the TTFA Statutes (and other regulations where necessary) and ensure their compliance with the Fifa Statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress;
  3. Run the TTFA’s daily affairs;
  4. Organise and conduct elections of a new TTFA executive committee for a four-year mandate.

(Debt Repayment Plan)

To date, either there has been no cohesive and structured debt repayment plan presented to the members of the TTFA or the members have not been made aware of such plan by the normalisation committee to liquidate the outstanding debts to coaches, players, technical staff, TTFA administrative staff and other creditors.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National U-17 head coach Angus Eve gesticulates outside the Ato Boldon Stadium on 25 August 2020, as coaches attempted to present their letters of appointment to normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad.
(Copyright Ghansham Mohammed/GhanShyam Photography/Wired868)

Rather, there seems to be a greater concern with setting up a ‘Unified League’ than developing and presenting a well-organised and practical debt repayment strategy as mandated. 

In fact, according to a media release dated 18 March, 2021, you stated that:

‘The current group of coaches have been paid completely, up until August of last year. All of the payments have been in. As soon as that comes through, we would then be paying the last four months of last year, I would say in the next month-and-a-half, then we’re only left with this year.’

It was further mentioned that ‘all of the other coaches, apart from the men’s team, have been brought up to date. The admin staff and the technical staff have been brought up to date. It’s just the men’s team that have to be brought up to date, and that is going to be done in the next couple of months.’

However, coaches have come forward to refute that claim stating that monies owed to them are still outstanding.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-15 Team head coach Keith Jeffrey assists the senior Soca Warriors during a practice session at the Police Barracks in St James on 3 July 2020.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

As such, we the undersigned request that you notify us of the dept repayment plan that has been implemented by the normalisation committee and as mandated by Fifa.

This is also critical, since this was the primary reason behind Fifa removing the duly elected administration and installing yourself as chairman of the normalisation committee and yet you too have been unable to present a practical and workable financially prudent debt re-payment plan.

(Increasing debt and poor financial management)

Since your appointment on the 27th of March 2020, there seems to be an increase in expenditure for the TTFA. In fact, Mr Adrian Romain was hired as manager of the Senior Men’s Team however, Mr Basil Thompson was already employed as the team’s manager.

As such, Mr Thompson now holds the position of logistics manager, a post nonexistent in our constitution. This is clearly an unnecessary expense which you have approved and it has increased the debt of the TTFA even further.

Photo: Soca Warriors manager Adrian Romain (centre) holds the attention of Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith (left) and TTFA interim general secretary Amiel Mohammed during a function at the residence of the police commissioner on 5 March 2021.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

In addition, you have hired a number of high-priced foreign coaches such as the Men’s Senior National Team head coach at US$20,000 per month, the goalkeeping coach at US$9,000 per month and the assistant coach to the national team at US$8,000 per month.

(Editor’s Note: The three persons mentioned—Terry Fenwick, Kelvin Jack, and Derek King respectively—were hired and offered their current salaries during the tenure of former TTFA president William Wallace.)

As we are sure you are aware, they are currently the highest paid coaching staff in the region. In an already cash strapped environment, would it not be more prudent to retain our well capable local coaches for a reasonable cost?

We the members are of the opinion that this is not financially prudent and it clearly illustrates poor financial management. Which is contrary to your instructions given by Fifa. 

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Terry Fenwick acknowledges fans in the stands during warmups before an international friendly against USA in Orlando on 31 January 2021.
(Copyright AP Photo/Phelan M Ebenhack)

There are also examples in the Futsal and the Beach Soccer Teams where you have hired expensive foreign coaches and during this financially turbulent time when you need to manage our limited funds wisely of which you have not been doing.

Your spending on coaches is exorbitant, excessive and ridiculous. Such expenditure cannot be justified given your debt management mandate by Fifa.  

Mr Hadad, it seems like you have adopted an ostentatious approach to the management of the Association. In a situation where the Normalisation Committee was introduced to liquidate our outstanding debt, under your stewardship, the TTFA has been incurring increasing debt and this illustrates how you have mismanaged the funding provided by Fifa. 

(Review and amend the TTFA statutes and ensure their compliance with the Fifa statutes)

The normalisation committee is expected to review and amend the TTFA Statues to ensure compliance with the Fifa Statutes and requirements and submit the amendments to the TTFA Congress for approval. 

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino (left) and secretary general Fatma Samoura.

To date, the members of the association have neither been informed of any such amendments to the statutes nor was it submitted to congress for approval.

Article13:m of the TTFA Constitution states that the members are obligated to ratify a constitution that is in accordance with the requirements of this (TTFA) Constitution. 

We therefore seek further clarification on the execution of this mandate as there has been no communication or consultation with us regarding same.

(Run the TTFA’s daily affairs)

Twelve months have passed since Fifa appointed you as the chairman of the normalisation committee of the TTFA and during this time, you have failed to conduct the daily affairs of the TTFA adequately. To date, there has been no communication between the normalisation committee and the members of the TTFA, no monthly management reports presented to members since the committee’s appointment in March 2020, no budgets or projected cash flow statements for the year 2021. 

Photo: Businessman Robert Hadad was appointed by Fifa on 27 March 2020 as head of Trinidad and Tobago’s normalisation committee.

Please note as members of the TTFA we are very concerned about the lack of transparency and accountability regarding the day-to-day affairs of the association. 

You were aware of the world cup qualifying game against Guyana for nine months and yet you failed to submit a proposal to the government ministries to obtain the approvals to play the game in Trinidad. In fact, you were publicly chastised by the minister of sports for not submitting the proposal on time; and by the time it was submitted it was too late and we had to play our home game in the Dominican Republic.

It is also interesting that you were also blamed for this [by] the head coach of the Senior Men’s National team.

But what was even more disturbing was that the staff of the TTFA was blamed for sabotaging the game. But the TTFA staff reports to you; so you are ultimately to blame. 

To date, there has been no Annual General Meeting called for the year 2020 which contravenes the TTFA’s Constitution.

Photo: Just over 20,000 Trinidad and Tobago supporters came out to watch the Women Soca Warriors face Ecuador in Port of Spain on 2 December 2014.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Article 27 of the TTFA Constitution states:

  1. The Annual General Meeting shall be held every year in the month of September. If it is not possible to hold the meeting in September, the date of the meeting by the Board of Directors on the date not later than 30th of November of the said year.
  2. The Board of Directors shall fix the place and date. The members shall be notified in writing at least 60 days in advance.
  3.  The formal convocation shall be made in writing at least 14 days before the date of the Annual General Meeting. This convocation shall contain the agenda, the activity report, the financial statements, the independent external auditors’ report, and the minutes of the last general meeting as well as any other relevant documents.

Further, Article 12:1 Members’ rights states that the: Members have the following rights: a) to take part in the General Meeting, to receive its agenda in advance, to be called to the General Meeting within the prescribed time and to exercise their voting rights.

Please indicate when the annual general meeting would be called for the year ended December 2020 as it is long overdue. 

Photo: Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad.

The Audited Financial Statements have not yet been presented to the TTFA members or published for the year ended 31st December, 2020. The deadline for publishing the TTFA’s Audited Financial Statements was the 31st March, 2021 and as such, it is overdue.

I wish to draw your attention to  article 71 of the TTFA’s Constitution which states: The independent external auditors appointed by the General Meeting shall audit the accounts approved by the Finance Committee in accordance with the appropriate principles of accounting and present a report to the General Meeting.

Kindly indicate when the Audited Financials will be completed and presented to the Members of the Association and published. 

This is clearly a sign of poor financial management and inept corporate governance. It is also a breeding ground for mismanagement and fraud.

We also wish to remind you that submission of audited financial statements is a critical part of the Compliance Process of Fifa and you have ignored this. This is not a good example to set for the clubs in Trinidad and Tobago, as they too must submit audited financial statements by 31 March, 2021. 

Here again you have failed in running the daily operations of Trinidad and Tobago football.

Photo: Central FC attacker Sean Bonval (left) slips the ball through the legs of W Connection defender Kurt Frederick during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 3 January 2020.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

You have not called an annual general meeting and as such who will appoint the external auditors? Yourself? This is clearly unacceptable, since you cannot appoint an auditor that will audit your financial decisions.

Here again you have flagrantly ignored proper corporate governance procedures. We wish to inform you that an auditor must be appointed for the year 2021 and this appointment must come from the members and not yourself. 

It is even more astounding that you have elected not to appoint an audit and compliance committee and this is a vital part of proper corporate governance as this committee is critical in reviewing the financial performance of your management.

Your decisions regarding the aforementioned fact are frightening and it is a breeding ground for mismanagement and fraud.

There have been no standing committees appointed by the normalisation committee to date. These committees form an integral part of effective management as their core function is to provide support and in house expertise required to manage and run the association efficiently and effectively. 

Photo: Fifa-appointed normalisation committee member Nigel L Romano.

Standing Committees are at the helm of international corporate governance and the requirement for them are enshrined in Article 43 of the constitution which states: 

The standing committees are: Finance Committee; Audit and Compliance Committee; Organising Committee for TTFA Competitions; Technical and Development Committee; Referees Committee; Legal Committee; Committee for Women’s Football; Youth Football and Development Committee; Sports Medicine Committee; Players’ Status Committee; Marketing Committee.

Article 40.2 of the TTFA Constitution states: members of the standing committees shall be designated for a term of office of four years. It is also noteworthy that Fifa’s Statues also state that standing committees shall advise and assist the executive.

Fifa, on appointment of the normalisation Committee did not disband our existing Committees which were implemented by the previous administration. Rather, they disbanded the executive and appointed the normalisation Committee.

As such, what became of those committees? 

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago right back Chrissy Mitchell (centre) prepares to boot away the ball while Puerto Rico attacker Malina Pardo (left) looks on during Concacaf U-20 Championship Round of 16 action in the Dominican Republic on 1 March 2020.
(Copyright MexSport/Concacaf)

Moreover, failure to appoint the aforementioned Standing Committees has resulted in a lack of transparency and accountability with the stakeholders of the TTFA, as well as a general distrust between the Members and the Normalisation Committee.

Furthermore, the absence of the aforementioned committees undermines the integrity of the Association and minimises our chances of optimal performance in the international arena. 

Article 47 of the Constitution states: The Technical and Development Committee shall primarily analyse the basic aspects of football training and technical development.

How therefore, do you propose to run football in Trinidad and Tobago without a Technical and Development Committee? As enshrined in our constitution, this committee is responsible for establishing and executing a structured plan aimed toward preparedness and advancement of our national teams on the international stage.

Yet, more than twelve months into your appointment, we have not heard or seen any evidence of such. 

Photo: Fifa-appointed normalisation committee vice-chairman Judy Daniel during her spell at the EMA over a decade ago.

In fact, to date there has been no presentation of development programs for our National Under-13, Under-15, Under-17 Football Teams and we are still awaiting a program for the development of Women’s Football. Here again you have failed in your mandate to run the daily affairs of football in Trinidad and Tobago.

We also wish to remind you that your primary function was to develop a debt repayment plan, yet you have not appointed a finance committee and this is incompetent on your part as you have not developed a debt repayment plan and even worse your decisions have increased the expenses of TTFA.  

You have failed to appoint a technical committee and this is a glaringly poor decision since you and your other committee members do not have football experience in Trinidad and therefore it would be difficult to manage the operation of football in Trinidad and Tobago without such experience. 

Who does the coaches report to? You? We urge that you must recognise that you do not have the technical footballing experience to supervise the performance of the national coaches and this will lead to poor decisions on your part.

Photo: Normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad (background) talks to players before a Men’s National Senior Team training session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 20 November 2020.
(via TTFA Media)

With Trinidad and Tobago football being in a depressed situation you have also failed to establish a development plan for under-13s, under-15s and under-17s men’s and women’s  teams and as such there is no forward planning on your part. Obviously, this is a bi-product of not having a  technical committee.  

You seem to believe that a team can prepare for eight months and this is sufficient to compete on an international level. This is not acceptable, teams must prepare for at least three years to be effective. 

This is a year for women’s world cup qualifying, yet you have not appointed a women’s coach as yet. This is also, grossly weak when one considers that the post has been advertised months ago and the TTFA has received funding from Fifa for women’s football.

Even more concerning, is that this is a World Cup qualifying for year for women’s football, and there is a real opportunity to qualify for this world cup and the women’s senior team is not even training, this is not acceptable and it is another sign of weak management.  

Photo: Fifa-appointed normalisation committee member Trevor Nicholas Gomez.

It is alleged that Mr Fenwick, at a press conference, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on Wednesday 21 March, 2021 physically assaulted Media Officer Shaun Fuentes in front of journalists. What became of this incident? 

As members of the TTFA, we would like to know what disciplinary measures were taken against Mr Fenwick for such aggressive and disrespectful behaviour. Is this the type of behaviour we allow to be swept under the carpet?

Needless to say, Article 18.2 of Mr Fenwick’s contract states: Where the coach is accused of criminal activity for an offence which carries a term of imprisonment of more than 12 months, and/or accused of any conduct which may bring the association into disrepute […], or such conduct as the association may in its absolute discretion declare to be disgraceful, the coach shall be immediately suspended to allow for the dispute resolution process as is hereinafter set out to take effect.

It seems like Mr Fenwick has a history of violence and indiscipline as this is not the first time he has been unable to control his temper.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Terry Fenwick (right) leans aggressively towards TTFA press officer Shaun Fuentes during an altercation at a press briefing on 17 March 2021.

On 4 November 2005, while employed as the head coach of San Juan Jabloteh, he physically assaulted W Connection Player, Gefferson Goulart with his forearm. At least he was suspended for approximately ten games. 

Furthermore, the national team head coach has on several occasions, publicly criticised the normalisation committee and your good self.

What measures have been taken by the committee to establish respect and discipline from its employees? Moreover, what disciplinary actions are taken against employees who are insubordinate? 

This type of misconduct from senior officials undermines the integrity of the game and shows poor corporate governance. It also shows a lack of discipline and respect. This type of behaviour poorly reflects on the TTFA and by extension Trinidad and Tobago. 

Here again you have mismanaged the situation and you are encouraging violence and aggression within the TTFA and this is unacceptable by the members.

Photo: (From left to right) TTFA press officer Shaun Fuentes, head coach Terry Fenwick, normalisation committee chair Robert Hadad, team manager Adrian Romain, and assistant coach Derek King pose at the Piarco International Airport before the team’s departure for Santo Domingo on 18 March 2021.

We wish to raise the following concerns regarding Mr Fenwick’s contract: 

The contract does not detail the reporting requirements of the head coach. As such various questions arise.

Who does the head coach report to? How often is he expected to report to them? Which reports are required and by what date? How is the association’s board of directors informed about the performance and progress of the Men’s Senior National Team? This is a very critical omission from the contract. 

Performance indicators and measurements are an intrinsic part of football and any contract. It helps its users understand how various entities of the game are performing and identifies whether or not goals are being met. 

The contract omits how the head coach’s performance is to be measured. That is, his win rate percentage target, goals scored per game target, goals conceded per game. These are normal key performance indicators that should be included in the contract that would ensure performance and value for money.

Photo: (From left to right) Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Terry Fenwick, Caribbean Chemicals chairman Joe Pires and then TTFA president William Wallace.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

Are these omissions of performance measures an error or was it on purpose?

The contract should also identify that if these targets are not met remedial action can be taken by TTFA which to date, it has not. 

Contrastingly, the contract has stated in clause 12 that the performance of the coach shall be reviewed on the 20th month out of its 24 months (24 months being the total duration of the contract) and a review will be submitted for the coach’s comments. 

This is unacceptable as the Coach must be held to a higher standard of accountability as the aforementioned review does not seem to be proportionate to the remuneration of the coach. Moreover, the coach should be evaluated on at least a quarterly basis to accurately determine the progress of the senior team.  

Image: Salary of Soca Warriors head coach Terry Fenwick.

This (remuneration in the image above) seems quite exorbitant when one considers that TTFA is insolvent due to debts of over fifty million dollars and no real means of repaying the debt. And yet a decision is made to pay one coach US$37,275 per month for four years and TTFA  has no stable source of income to pay this salary.

In addition, the TTFA seems to have a habit of issuing contracts to individuals without determining if they can afford it, and this process has created the massive debt of fifty million dollars. It is also the norm in TTFA to provide coaches with contracts and simply do not pay them.

In addition, if you compare what other coaches are paid in Caribbean Islands that are ranked higher than Trinidad and Tobago on Fifa World Rankings, the average salary is US$8,000 to US$12,000 per month. Mr Fenwick’s contract is over three times the average rate.

Also, this contract’s validity is questionable as the board of directors did not approve the terms of same. 

Mr Hadad, what measures have been taken to date, to address these very obvious irregularities?

Photo: TTFA general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan (left) makes a presentation to Men’s National Senior Team head coach Terry Fenwick during his unveiling at the National Cycling Centre, Couva on 6 January 2020.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/TTFA Media)

It is also disturbing that the past general secretary, Ramesh Ramdhan, was suspended and Terry Fenwick was retained. This does not seem logical since both have irregularities with their contract and one was retained and the other suspended. This precedent will obviously surface in the ensuing court case with Mr Ramdhan of which we are sure you can answer in court.

Ultimately, we the members are very concerned about the weak management of football in Trinidad and Tobago. To date, the mandate as outlined by Fifa’s appointment letter dated 27 March 2020 has not been achieved and it does not look like it will be achieved under your stewardship.

Moreover, you have failed to communicate effectively with the members, seemingly attempting to manage the TTFA on your own. 

You have also made several glaring errors regarding following proper corporate governance procedures—namely, failure to call the annual general meeting of TTFA, failure to produce audited financial statements for 2020 by the 31 March 2021 and the failure to appoint external auditors, a finance committee, an audit and compliance committee and a technical committee.     

Photo: Fifa-appointed normalisation committee Robert Hadad has not held a single general meeting or national press conference in over a year.

As such, we look forward to a prompt response from you with regards to our aforementioned concerns and ask that you specify in detail, how these matters will be addressed. 

(Full response from normalisation committee)

The normalisation committee of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has received a letter from TTFA Members on 1 May 2021. We understand the concerns of the TTFA Members and will be addressing those issues with the membership directly this week.

The normalisation process was fully allowed to function as of November 2020 and the process for any Member Association is difficult and challenging. FIFA and Concacaf continue to guide this process as we work towards resurrecting football out of its doldrums, which has been made more complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It must be noted that many details outlined in the document are inaccurate and based on assumptions. We will endeavour to improve on the communication channels between the TTFA and its membership so that the members are provided with accurate sources of information on these matters, with the aim of fostering a stronger relationship between all parties.

It is however unfortunate that this letter, which was sent internally, has found its way into the media space. Trust between the TTFA and its membership is paramount to developing this strong relationship and we believe that by working together earnestly, it can be achieved.

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One comment

  1. These accusations by the T.t.f.a members sending this letter against the Normalisation Committee may have some merit, but it all sounds like sour grapes to me, why? All the statutes and regulations outlined in the article, have those zones complied with any or part of them in their own backyard? They need to examine their own household of responsibility and then offer a solution to assist the debt ridden T.T.F.A not just highlight it’s problems , after all it was inherited from it’s previous administration, can two wrongs make anything right? Mr William Wallace must be patiently waiting to make his next move after all , was he not a stumbling block ? Well one more year to help the F.i.FA appointed Normalisation Committee fulfill their obligation, just hope we don’t end up with square pegs in round holes.

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