FIFA chose to involve itself in Trinidad and Tobago’s football business on an obscure premise. Now, the world governing body has no choice but to play referee.
Two of the three Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) vice-presidents, Lennox Watson and Rudi Thomas, told Wired868 that they wrote to FIFA on October 20 to complain about the alleged undemocratic management of current president Raymond Tim Kee.
The TTFA executive committee will also hold a special meeting this week without Tim Kee and his general secretary Sheldon Phillip while the members intend to see FIFA officials directly on Thursday.
Watson and Thomas complained that Tim Kee, who is also the Port of Spain mayor and PNM treasurer, has operated as a maximum leader in a similar style to the disgraced ex-FIFA vice-president Jack Warner.
“The TTFA’s governance has reached to a ‘Lone Ranger and Tonto’ stage,” said Thomas, who is the TTFA’s second vice-president. “The president is supposed to carry out the will of the executive committee. He is the legal representative of the organisation; but the constitution does not give him the authority to make decisions on behalf of the organisation.
“Yet it seems that the executive committee does not matter anymore. If you think things were bad in the Jack Warner days, it not so good now…
“We thought this was the opportunity to move the organisation into the 21st century; and yet here we are.”
The TTFA has made little headway with corporate Trinidad and Tobago under Tim Kee while several administrative bungles, including national senior team coach Randy Waldrum’s tweet for financial assistance, tested the patience of football fans.
Watson and Thomas claimed the football president was just as unpopular within football circles due to the alleged mismanagement and the lack of transparency under his watch.
Both vice-presidents also accused Tim Kee of violating the constitution by failing to hold quarterly executive committee members or present financial reports. Tim Kee is the chairman of the TTFA Financial Committee although the body has never had an official meeting during his two-year term.
“There have been no financial reports at all (from the TTFA president and general secretary) since Tim Kee was in charge starting with the Peru game (in March 2013),” said Watson, “but money spending like a hell.
“And the fellah feels he can do whatever he likes.”
The tipping point for Watson and Thomas came on Sunday when, after being approached by a mediator, the executive committee agreed to meet Tim Kee to try and settle their differences.
Tim Kee initially gave an assurance that he and Phillips would attend any such meeting in the interest of football. However, once the executive took up the offer, the president allegedly baulked.
“The meeting was called to discuss the various issues of the organisation,” said Thomas. “He promised to come and, at the last moment, he called to find out who was there and then said he wasn’t coming.”
The following day, the TTFA sent a media release, which stated that FIFA has postponed the football elections until June 2015. Trinidad and Tobago’s general election is constitutionally due in May 2015 and the Opposition party is favoured to return to power.
FIFA suggested that the reason for the delay was to get Trinidad and Tobago’s constitution in line with the governing body’s although, conversely, the zonal elections will be allowed to proceed next month.
Thomas agrees that the local football constitution needs to be revamped. However, he found it odd that FIFA took such a strong stance based on the constitution since it was the world governing body that approved it in the first place.
“The (TTFF) constitution was last updated in 2008 with the assistance of FIFA,” said Thomas. “The various TTFF constitutions were all approved by FIFA… So, right now, we don’t know what to make of this; because FIFA is taking action based on a letter from Mr Tim Kee and we are not aware of that letter’s contents.”
Tim Kee could not be reached for comment while, up to publishing time, Phillips had not responded to questions by Wired868.
The local football officials had hoped to use the ballot to show their disapproval of the TTFA president next month. But, based on FIFA’s stance, that option seems temporarily denied to them.
However, the TTFA vice-presidents said they will do what they can to make their feelings on Tim Kee’s governance style clear to FIFA and the local football president.
“If they don’t know, they can’t address,” said Watson. “If they know and don’t address, then that is not my fault.”
Tim Kee has already taken his shot. Now, the TTFA executive is calling for an infringement.
It is FIFA’s call; and it might be the governing body’s most important decision in these parts since Warner got the boot in 2011.
Ironically, both sides are accusing the other of following in Warner’s footsteps.