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Tim Kee’s unmasking: TTFA president says plenty in Warriors attack

He is out of the closet now.

Fifteen months into his reign as Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president, Raymond Tim Kee, a salesman by trade, finally stepped out from behind the cover of clichés and friendly platitudes to give an insight into his true nature.

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

TV6 presenter Joel Villafana snagged the memorable interview for RawSport but Tim Kee did not need much coaxing to unload. Perhaps it was just time.

World Cup 2006 defender Brent Sancho, one of 13 “Soca Warriors” who have already waited nearly eight years for promised bonuses, vented his hurt at what he felt was the TTFA’s attempt to portray the players as impatient and unnecessarily confrontational. At present, the TTFA is four months late on its second payment to the Warriors and is yet to inform the players when they will be paid.

Villafana asked Tim Kee for his response to his irate creditor, Sancho.

Tim Kee began: “Well, I thought it wasn’t worthy of a response from me…”

Before you had our curiousity, Mr President, now you have our attention.

Tim Kee clumsily tried to suggest that he meant to show discourtesy to Sancho’s views rather than the individual. But it was nullified by later accusing the Central FC CEO of lacking common sense.

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago defender Brent Sancho (right) in action against Paraguay attacker Roberto Acuna at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago defender Brent Sancho (right) in action against Paraguay attacker Roberto Acuna at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

“What I thought Mr Sancho would understand and any thinking person should understand,” Tim Kee continued, “you make promises on things over which you have control and all things being equal you could satisfy those promises.

“If we have no control over those funds because we are depending on those funds to come from a certain source… There is nothing ambiguous about that. I thought that was simple.

“We did what we could have done. Everyone knows we don’t have money.”

Tim Kee, as TTFA president, entered in an agreement before the High Court to pay 13 footballers an agreed sum by a stipulated date, which he reneged on. And then, rather than empathise with his frustrated creditor, he insulted him.

“I am here to serve,” said Tim Kee, in his maiden address as president. “… I will welcome divergent thought, difference of opinion because generally it is the antithesis that defines the thesis and open doors from a new synthesis that comes with synergies that work to make us all better.

“In short, under my stewardship, no voice will be silenced; no idea suppressed and no thought expressed will be left unconsidered.”

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre) embraces 2006 World Cup goalkeeper Kelvin Jack after agreeing a settlement. Looking on are World Cup players David Atiba Charles (far right), Cyd Gray (second from right) and Brent Sancho. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre) embraces 2006 World Cup goalkeeper Kelvin Jack after agreeing a settlement.
Looking on are World Cup players David Atiba Charles (far right), Cyd Gray (second from right) and Brent Sancho.
(Courtesy Wired868)

The reality has always been different.

Senior TTFA vice-president Lennox Watson told Wired868 that he had no clue where the funds to settle with the Warriors was sourced. Another TTFA vice-president and chairman of the technical development committee Rudi Thomas, who heads the committee responsible for hiring coaches, found out through the media that Leo Beenhakker and Stephen Hart were approached to lead the “Soca Warriors.”

The sidelining of the old executive has been justified by the fact that most of them were handpicked by disgraced former TTFF special advisor Jack Warner.

First, this ignores the not-so-minor detail that so was Tim Kee. Second, when is ignoring democratic process and one’s own organizational structure ever a good thing as standard business practice?

How can it be bad for Warner but good for Tim Kee?

Photo: Chaguanas West MP and ex-FIFA vice-president Jack Warner handpicked most of the TTFA executive, including president Raymond Tim Kee.
Photo: Chaguanas West MP and ex-FIFA vice-president Jack Warner handpicked most of the TTFA executive, including president Raymond Tim Kee.

The point is Tim Kee has begun to run local football with such carefree abandon that it has poisoned his approach with the Warriors as well. And he looked straight into the cameras and suggested that he was not bound by a promise made before the highest court in the country.

Sancho and his teammates, he suggested, can get nothing through the court. The Warriors will only receive money if they keep quiet and wait for him to get back to them.

Sounds familiar?

Last March when he initially conjured up a settlement with the players, Tim Kee claimed the money given to the players was “unclaimed commercial and broadcast revenues that were due to the TTFF (from CONCACAF) for the 2014 World Cup cycle.”

It insults the intelligence to suggest that getting knocked out of the 2014 World Cup qualifying series in three months flat in the very first Caribbean phase was worth roughly $15 million (TT dollars). And, worse, that this money sat ignored and untouched for two years in a CONCACAF account while the TTFA struggled to find money to even hold training camps.

Photo: CONCACAF president Jeff Webb (right) has a word with FIFA president Sepp Blatter. Webb has taken a keen interest in the TTFA's affairs.
Photo: CONCACAF president Jeff Webb (right) has a word with FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Webb has taken a keen interest in the TTFA’s affairs.

CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb, TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips and Tim Kee must not think much of their audience to try to sell that story.

In his recent interview, the man who claimed to have a monopoly on common sense offered an even more convoluted story which suggested that FIFA had withheld money meant for the Warriors because of a delay in the construction of Brazil’s World Cup stadia. Either that or the dog ate it for dessert right after enjoying some tasty homework.

Tim Kee was speaking a bit quickly there. And you know something is up when your salesman ups the tempo.

In reality, it does not matter. Tim Kee made a promise to the High Court and you are supposed to keep those. Normal people know better than scoff at such a contract.

But this is where Tim Kee showed just how far he has come since he became TTFA president and then Port of Spain Mayor.

Photo: Caledonia AIA coach Jamaal Shabazz (centre) is allowed to leave with a bag of balls during the Soca Warriors' levy on the TTFF headquarters, two years ago. (Courtesy Patricia "Brown Sugar" Smart)
Photo: Caledonia AIA coach Jamaal Shabazz (centre) is allowed to leave with a bag of balls during the Soca Warriors’ levy on the TTFF headquarters, two years ago.
(Courtesy Patricia “Brown Sugar” Smart)

He sat right in the mayor’s office and told Villafana that he could escape the court at any time.

“I could have easily—as was the advice from many, including legal advice, and looking at the enormous debt to be paid—declared bankruptcy, which cannot be questioned,” said Tim Kee. “If that had been done, if I had adhered to that advice, this now would not have been an issue.”

It is worth remembering here that Tim Kee was a vice-president when the TTFF entered into its World Cup bonus agreement with the Warriors and he still held that position when the players began their court case. Through collective responsibility and his own silence during Warner’s era, Tim Kee is also a party to this deal.

Yet, he spoke flippantly about dodging the debt and denying the players their share of profits; money that the TTFF claimed was taken by Warner but then steadfastly refused to chase, despite the repeated urgings of Justice Devindra Rampersad.

Villafana, unfortunately, never asked Tim Kee why he apparently refuses to consider legal action against Warner, despite his body’s precarious financial problem.

Tim Kee, after raising the possibility of cheating his creditors by legal sleight of hand, then attempted to pat himself on the back for not doing the unethical thing and urged the players to follow suit.

Photo: The "Soca Warriors" received national chaconia silver medals for qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. Not their promised bonuses from the local football body, though.
Photo: The “Soca Warriors” received national chaconia silver medals for qualifying for the 2006 World Cup.
Not their promised bonuses from the local football body, though.

“I thought there would have been some greater appreciation for my selflessness and desire to see things done right,” said Tim Kee. “The pushing that is going on now; I still have the marbles in my hand to exercise options…”

The Warriors’ part of the deal was to qualify for the World Cup. Now, Tim Kee wants them to applaud too while he goes about not living up to his end of the agreement.

After calling the Warriors stupid for threatening to get redress from the High Court, Tim Kee warned the World Cup players that they would also be wasting their time if they sought help from FIFA.

“FIFA is a private organisation that accepts or rejects applicants that they want to accept or reject,” he said. “… This is not a company under any company act or anything like that; any organisation who meets the criteria for membership by FIFA could have (avoided debt through bankruptcy and still be fine).”

So, to summarise, the TTFA is being run by an egotistical leader who makes no secret of his political influence, considers himself to be untouchable by the law, is happy to make decisions without input from his executive and believes he can do as he likes because he has friends in FIFA.

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

If Tim Kee speaks this way now, imagine how he would sound if he had real power like a FIFA vice-presidency rather than just the leadership of a broke little FA on a tiny two island republic?

Meet Trinidad and Tobago’s new football chief; not much different to the old one.

AboutLasana 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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5 comments

  1. Edison he wasn’t schooled under Jack Warner nah there are many Jack Warner’s in our sweet country and the world. They uses sports to make plenty monies while they exploits our sportsmen and women. I have yet to understand why is it that the college players in the America makes plenty monies for the schools that they are attending while playing basketball, football, and other sports because of the TV rights etc, etc, the schools makes millions of monies and the players don’t get 1 penny for doing so and it is the same thing that goes on in our sweet country the Army and Police players doesn’t get 1 penny whenever they win the Pro League or any other money tournaments and this has been going on many moons ago in others the slavery mentality hasn’t gone anywhere and until our players acknowledges the ‘Players Association’ to put a stop to all this madness in our sweet country the exploitation of our players will continue.

  2. Scotty Ranking

    Only in T&T can such grand-charge behaviour be considered par for the course.

    But Lasana, you may be able to answer me this: if the TTFA/TTFF declares bankruptcy (as they are free to do), does that not then jeopardise the nation’s membership with FIFA and its immediate future eligibility for any and all FIFA-sanctioned tournaments? Would that not incur us a two-year ban from FIFA? No qualifying games for Caribbean Cup, Gold Cup, Confederations Cup nor World Cup? Nor CONCACAF Champions League either? Also not one single nation would be able to play us in a ‘friendly’ as that match and its events will not be counted to any player’s or nation’s official tally?

    If I am right, then Tim Kee is only playing smart with some powerful stupidness, as an old departed colleague of ours used to say …

    • Lasana Liburd

      From his interview, Raymond Tim Kee is suggesting that FIFA would allow him back into the fold regardless. So he appears confident that FIFA will be a party to the TTFA giving its creditors the slip.

  3. Welcome to the TRINIDAD & TOBAGO Mafia. Don Tim Kee! Well schooled by Warner!.
    Just othe day in PARADISE! ENT?

  4. He was well schooled under the previous Special adviser so he is playing the part well and showing his true colours