Home / Volley / Global Football / TTFA exorcises Native Spirit; “I Support Akeem” tee-shirts allegedly cost $53

TTFA exorcises Native Spirit; “I Support Akeem” tee-shirts allegedly cost $53

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) today drew a line under its relationship with the controversial “I Support Akeem” venture, which was done in tandem with Native Spirit. And it was not good news for the clothing company.

“It is twice we have dealt with that company,” said TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, “the first time and the last… I really don’t want to deal with them again.”

On October 31, the TTFA revealed that only $25 from each $100 shirt would go to 22-year-old former two-time World Youth Cup player Akeem Adams, who is fighting for his life in Hungary after suffering a massive heart attack in late September. It meant that from $200,000 collected by Native Spirit for the sale of 2,000 shirts, only $50,000 went to Adams.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Akeem Adams (far left) celebrates with two teammates during his brief playing stint with Hungarian club, Ferencvarosi. At present, Adams is waiting for a heart transplant after having his left leg amputated last month. (Courtesy Fradi.hu)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Akeem Adams (far left) celebrates with two teammates during his brief playing stint with Hungarian club, Ferencvaros.
At present, Adams is waiting for a heart transplant after having his left leg amputated last month.
(Courtesy Fradi.hu)

The news sparked outrage among well-wishers who bought tee-shirts after being told, by the TTFA, that all proceeds would go to the ailing player.

It took the local football body a week to apologise for misinforming the public and a further two days before the public was finally given something resembling a financial breakdown from the “I Support Akeem” venture.

TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips claimed today that, according to Native Spirit, the jerseys themselves cost an average of $26 each with a further $12 for print, $2 for artwork and $13 for VAT, which adds up to a combined $53.

The remaining $22, allegedly claimed by Native Spirit as sales and distribution costs, was harder to verify.

Phillips explained that an average of $3 per shirt was added to the cost for three deliveries to Tobago as well as $7 for rental of chairs and table to sell shirts at the Hasely Crawford Stadium for Trinidad and Tobago’s international friendly against New Zealand, $8 for overtime for staff and $5 for miscellaneous items such as signage boards and the rental of portable linx machines for use at the stadium.

It added up to a cost of $76 per shirt.

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and general secretary Sheldon Phillips pose with the FIFA World Cup trophy last week. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and general secretary Sheldon Phillips pose with the FIFA World Cup trophy last week.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Chica Emery, a Wired868 forumite who turned up to give his view as a supporter of the venture, was far from impressed.

“Native Spirit got so much mileage from this,” said Emery. “Can you imagine the cost if they had to pay for the advertising benefit? Well, what did they put?

“We put $100 (to Akeem Adams). What they put?”

Phillips offered an answer.

“Native Spirit’s contribution was their time and effort,” said Phillips.

The general secretary’s response did not seem to take into account the fact that Native Spirit had effectively billed Adams for that time and effort and certainly did not donate either for free.

Wired868 enquired about the $22 per shirt that Native Spirit claimed as sales and distribution costs.

How could there be an average cost for things like delivery to Tobago and use of portable linx machines when that only affected a few hundred shirts at best? Would there not be more transparency if Native Spirit specified what those costs were and deducted them from the $94,000 that remained after the stated average expenses for the tee-shirt production?

Photo: Young footballers from the Anthony Sherwood Coaching Academy pose with their "I Support Akeem" tee-shirts.
Photo: Young footballers from the Anthony Sherwood Coaching Academy pose with their “I Support Akeem” tee-shirts.

Phillips said Native Spirit had those figures and only the company could respond to that.

While Phillips was happy to offer Native Spirit the benefit of the doubt wherever possible, Tim Kee was blunt in his condemnation of the company and even his general secretary’s management of this venture.

“It was a mistake; it wasn’t thought out well,” said Tim Kee, about the joint venture. “All I can say is I am sorry about it…

“My comments were not complimentary to the auditor of (Native Spirit).”

Tim Kee described the “I Support Akeem” initiative as part of Phillips’ “learning curve.”

The TTFA general secretary, who is hired by the president after consultation with the executive board, is responsible for the daily operations of the football body while the president is not a full-time or paid employee.

Tim Kee said he would involve himself in the future work of the TTFA’s marketing and sales teams although he stressed that he would not attempt to micro-manage the staff.

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Could his dual position as Port of Spain mayor and football president affect his ability to handle either role effectively?

Tim Kee pointed out that neither post was a full-time one and claimed both corporations were set up to operate with little day-to-day involvement from its leader. He brushed aside any suggestion that he was incapable of doing both jobs.

“Have you been a football president?” Tim Kee asked rhetorically. “Have you been a mayor? So how do you know?”

It is unlikely to be the end of that debate, though.

Tim Kee reiterated a promise made earlier by Phillips, which was that the TTFA would apply to have VAT waived for the “I Support Akeem” tee-shirts and, if successful, send the full figure to Adams.

It could mean an extra $26,000 to aid Adams.

Photo: Ferencvarosi and Trinidad and Tobago left back Akeem Adams. (Courtesy www.fradi.hu)
Photo: Ferencvaros and Trinidad and Tobago left back Akeem Adams.
(Courtesy www.fradi.hu)

Otherwise, the TTFA washed its hands of Native Spirit.

Native Spirit managing director Bruce Kaufman has so far refused to give financial details of the venture to the public. If he holds to that position, it might be some time before his company extricates itself from the scandal of the “I Support Akeem” venture.

 

Editor’s Note: Wired868 reader, Tenacious Cornelis, offered a critique of Native Spirit’s figures on our Facebook page.

(Tenacious Cornelis)

Okay, now here’s why we can unravel that crappy accounting:

$26 for tee-shirt, $2 per tee-shirt for artwork, $12 per tee-shirt for printing and $13 per tee-shirt for VAT.

I wouldn’t even begin to laugh over the $2 per tee-shirt for artwork ($4,000 for that?).

I will just dissemble the obvious; VAT is only 15%.

So, 15% of (26+2+12) is 15% of $40$ which is $6 NOT 13$.

So, sorry, that BS (Business Solution) doesn’t fly.

Okay, let’s go into the other ridiculous accounting.

Adding $3 to the cost of each tee-shirt to cater for cost of shipping 3 deliveries of tee-shirts to Tobago?

(So given 2000 x 3 = $6,000 was cost of 3 deliveries to Tobago. What happened are consumers paying hotel cost as well?)

Adding $7 to EACH tee-shirt for rental of chairs and tables to sell shirts at the Hasely Crawford Stadium for Trinidad and Tobago’s international friendly against New Zealand means 2000 x 7 = $14,000 to rent tables and chairs for one day? I wasn’t there so pray do tell what sort of chairs.

Adding $8 to each tee-shirt for overtime for staff means 2000 x 8 = $16,000 in overtime. Wow Native Spirit staff was well paid for that overtime on that day.

Adding $5 to each tee-shirt for miscellaneous items such as signage boards and the rental of portable linx machines for use at the stadium means 2000 x 5 = $10,000 in signage and rental.

Assuming the above outrageous charges are correct does it mean that all further tee-shirts sold will have $74 contributed or is Native Spirit still recovering all these additional charges?

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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12 comments

  1. This is so disturbing to read, even in a state of emergency people do not have a heart to help others. I wonder if a close family member of Native Spirit was in the same situation as Akeem, would they still try to do such unthinkable criminal act. I also believe the country and TTFA can do much more for the family and for your fellow TTFA member. Trinidadians are very eager to be patriotic to success but in down times, when the support is pertinent, they become “CASPER”. According to Wired if possible please visit any RBC branch for making a deposit for Ancilla Dick at account number #100085172658914.
    The nature of theft and excuses is insufferable. Much disappointment………

  2. Right-thinking people will open their eyes wide after reading tenacious Cornelis’ post…and probably end up where Chica Emery and sl have ended up. I, for one, can’t see how right-thinking people can agree to give Mr Kaufman and Native Spirit another cent of their money after this clear, unconscionable exploitation for financial gain of the public’s genuine sympathy for Akeem Adams’ misfortune.

  3. Native Spirit should redeem themselves from this situation and donate ALL of the proceeds from the sale, absorb all production costs and consider it a donation. They obviously unconcerned about the negative impact this situation is having on the image of the business. I for one won’t ever purchase any Native Spirit products.

  4. All we have to continue doing is call it as it is….Because Trinidad is a “must look good in public” society, it matters to people in upper crust society (I used these words loosely) how they are viewed…We can go one step further and not only highlight, but call a spade a spade…If the TTFF show incompetence, go ahead and label the person incharge (including TIm Kee) incompetent (until they prove otherwise)….If Kaufman is a thief or a crook for his behaviour in this instance, then go ahead and insinuate he is a crook or thief or engages in dishonest business practices….Want change? have to engage in practices that change behaviour..(and that is key..do things that will force the change in behaviour) because they will be scared to be LABELED….it is a small thing but in certain circles, IT IS HUGE….

  5. I think someone needs to educate Native Spirit and the TTFF on the difference between fixed and variable costs and the accounting/reporting of such. And also educate society on the same to ensure we don’t eat the chain up they are trying to sling.

  6. The $13 VAT per t-shirt would be offset or refunded against their own VAT payable on other services they receive, so the t-shirts would cost them more like Est $40 and not $53 each to produce. I also wonder if they got any discounts from the supplier/printer of the t-shirts. Yup, It smells so fishy, where is the additional Est $60 per t-shirt collected on final sale? It seems somebody made a huge profit from Akeem’s sad plight, how galling!

  7. I think the only way @NativeSpirit & #TTFA will be believed about anything concerning @AkeemAdams will be after an OFFICIAL financial audit is taken on those Tee-Shirts! Until then, Please SUPPORT by making donations of money directly to the family at any RBC branch by making a deposit for Ancilla Dick-Adams at account number #100085172658914.

  8. The population should boycott the Native Spirit stores. To offer to help and end up donating nothing is disgusting. The TTFA should make up the shortfall as a show of good faith. They can try to recover the vat to offset some of their outlay, but the important thing would be that the public contributions have reached their intended destination. Come on Raymond I know you to be a decent human being.

  9. I won’t buy anything from Native Spirit ever in the future so let’s see how they make out in the long run.

  10. Our eyes are open we must let the TTFA and other bodies such as Native Spirit know that we the people / fans will not accept such foolishness. Native Spirit is a bunch of snakes, they took advantage of this whole situation. They came to the table with their hands empty and PRETEND that they are helping. The TTFA should stop Native Spirit from selling anymore of those I support Akeem tshirts.