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Game on: Gov’t rescues Warriors but warns TTFA about accounts

Trinidad and Tobago national football team manager William Wallace and captain Kenwyne Jones have confirmed that the “Soca Warriors” will take to the field this evening to fight for the regional title against Jamaica in the 2014 Caribbean Cup final.

The Warriors and Jamaica will square off from 9 pm (TT time) in Montego Bay, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago is seeking its first Caribbean title in 13 years.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Ataullah Guerra (left) prepares to fire home the opener in a 2-0 win over Jamaica on 19 November 2013. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Ataullah Guerra (left) prepares to fire home the opener in a 2-0 win over Jamaica on 19 November 2013.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Today’s Trinidad Guardian front page screamed about the likelihood of a boycotted Caribbean Cup final as Jones complained about “near $10 million” in unpaid salaries and match fees owed to the players and coaches by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).

In fact, Wallace explained that the money owed to the players and staff, which is closer to $5 million, was finally approved yesterday evening by the Ministry of Sport and word was passed to the players in Jamaica at around 7 pm. This sum will wipe out the TTFA’s debt to its players and cover roughly half of the coaches’ arrears.

“The game is on and we are paying the players as promised,” Wallace told Wired868. “It took some work to get it done but we are getting it done and I spoke to Kenwyne (Jones) and (Stephen) Hart and told them we had gotten through yesterday evening.

“So all I am concerned with now is us taking back the title this evening.”

Jones, on his Facebook page, confirmed that the players would not go through with the boycott but mused over the presumed panicked response from the local football body, which he accused of a string of broken promises.

The Cardiff City forward also hinted that the friction between the players and the TTFA was still unresolved.

“It’s funny how the threat of embarrassment changes situations,” stated Jones. “We the team will always represent our country with all that we have but for far too long we always have to threaten or fight with the authorities for just due. We would not in our wildest dreams get to this point and not finish our jobs…

“Our game is on but the future of this team is in the balance…”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain and Cardiff City forward Kenwyne Jones. (Courtesy Allan V. Crane/ Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain and Cardiff City forward Kenwyne Jones.
(Courtesy Allan V. Crane/ Wired868)

Jones confirmed to the TTFA Media that the situation was “dire.”

“I think we were in a dire situation,” said Jones. “As far as the team is concerned we had some discussions yesterday and we are all up for playing the game. We are definitely going to play tonight because I think for us as a team and a staff, it could be the first thing we win for Trinidad and Tobago and we want to achieve that.

“On the other hand, we’re not pleased with the situation regarding outstanding salaries for players and staff and it doesn’t spell anything good going forward for Trinidad and Tobago football.”

Richard Oliver, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport, confirmed that the funds have been released in quick time to quell a disturbance within the football body. He explained that the figure provided by the Government was not part of the TTFA’s budget.

“The (payment) process started yesterday and will be completed today,” said Oliver, who joined the Sport Ministry just last week. “This is a request for an emergency payment as this money was not initially budgeted… Altogether we are looking at approximately $3 million; and this covers match fees, bonuses, staff stipends and coach’s fees.”

Wired868 understands that the extent of the Government’s bail-out could reach up to $10 million, which would include funds for the Warriors’ 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup preparation and arrears for TTFA office staff.

Was the Government concerned about bailing out a body that, according to a letter from TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, had not conducted an audit in eight years?

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and former Sport Minister Anil Roberts at the FIFA World Cup trophy tour in 2013. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and former Sport Minister Anil Roberts at the FIFA World Cup trophy tour in 2013.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Oliver said the Ministry of Sport acted promptly so as to save Trinidad and Tobago from embarrassment. However, he suggested that the Government would not be an open kitty for the football body.

“As far as the accessing of funds from the ministry, when we are asked to intervene in this case it was an emergency situation where the reputation of the country is at stake,” Oliver told Wired868. “So it was a matter of giving support to the players and preserving the reputation of the country.

“Where there is need to access funds outside of this emergency situation, we will ask that they provide audited reports to ensure that their business is properly run and the money is accounted for.”

Tim Kee told the TTFA executive that Hart’s salary, which has not been paid in eight months, was now the business of the Ministry of Sport.

However, Oliver said the Ministry of Sport has only agreed to fund arrears and he is not aware of any other arrangement with the football body at the moment.

“I am not aware of that, I know we have agreed to take up arrears,” said the Permanent Secretary. “I think a formal request will need to be made if they want that to be carried forward. But I am unaware that any such arrangement has been made to date as I have not seen any information saying so.”

A Ministry of Sport release, published below, indicated that the Government would pay salaries for the entire technical staff up to June 2015.

Tim Kee left for Jamaica this morning to attend the Caribbean Cup final.

 

Ministry of Sport release:

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago via a 13 November Cabinet decision, has agreed, through the Ministry of Sport, to provide financial assistance in the amount of $9,964,368.00 to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA). The payment, which is expected to be processed today, will facilitate the clearing of a backlog of expenses related to the Senior Men’s National Team. These funds represent an unbudgeted addition to the annual subvention already allocated to the TTFA in the 2015 Budget.

The $9.964m is expected to cover the following:

  • Arrears of Match Fees and Bonuses for Senior Men’s National Team and technical staff
  • Arrears of Stipends for Senior Men’s National Team
  • Arrears of Salaries for five (5) members of Senior Men’s National Team staff
  • Senior Men’s National Team Participation in the 2015 Caribbean Cup Finals and associated Training Camps
  • Projected Remuneration for Senior Men’s National Team technical staff for the period November 2014 – June 2015

In order to assure greater accountability and transparency, and to ease the financial burden faced by the entire team, this Cabinet-approved payment will be made directly to the players and technical staff. A similar arrangement was made when the Government allocated funding to settle the debt owed to members of the 2006 World Cup squad. Ministry of Sport officials are therefore working closely with technocrats from the Ministry of Finance to expedite the necessary procedures and protocols that will ensure the imminent release of monies to the players, technical team members and staff.

It should be noted that in the past two years, the TTFA has benefitted from several million dollars’ worth of support from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago through the Ministry of Sport and the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago. Further, the association benefits from rent-free office space at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, and pays no utility bills, as those expenses are covered under the stadium’s overall operational cost.  The TTFA also enjoys free use of the Stadium for any and all TTFA-sanctioned games, tournaments and events.

The Ministry of Sport is and remains the single largest financial contributor to the TTFA and football in Trinidad and Tobago. Further, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago invests more state funds in sport per capita than any other country in the region.

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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63 comments

  1. Warns???…….LOL!!! Wannabe criminals and delinquents getting paid and professional athletes representing THE REPUPLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO on the International stage have to continuously source funds. It’s an exact replica how America treated Vietnam Vets as if they were undesirables…….. I really don’t get it. You are a friggin Minister or Manager or even employee belonging to the Ministry of Sport and all their company spin offs and there seems to be absolutely no shame whatsoever. If I shake my head anymore it might roll off yes, still don’t know why some heads can’t roll for real and let’s finally have competent people in these positions to ensure we never treat our athletes like this again!!

  2. Proud of the Players standing up for themselves.

  3. Why is it that the TTFA cannot after 8yrs or so are not able to get back on their feet. This is one of my problems with going on December 2nd as I’m not certain if my money will be put to go use or into the pockets of crooks.

  4. Brian you have to be real short. That one went clean over your head.

  5. Manzanilla? Glen, to suggest that you must really hate yuh cuz. Rain just wipe Manzanilla out

  6. Cuz, I realize that after years in Canada, you still have a lot to learn about financial arrangements in Trinidad. So make sure you don’t take your back-pay and invest in a beach house in Manzanilla!

  7. No to that saying Carlos! But! Ah could tell him where to put HE own. Lol!

  8. I could pass all of them and i know of quite a few others with experience and a love for the sport who can too.

  9. Debbie Espinal – Isn’t your favorite saying when questioned about things “go ask yuh mother’? lol

  10. Lol. Debbie Espinal – where have all the good men/women gone? We need background checks and lie detector test on future TTFA administrators.

  11. Buh Carlos yuh get away ONCE with comparing me to JW. Doh try dat again!!! Ever!!!

  12. Oh Gorm Carlos i didn’t know all ah dat else ah wouldna set mehself up so. Lol!

  13. Debbie Espinal – JW also told the TTFF to hire him and make him an Advisor. He said exactly what you’re saying to Jack (I know more about marketing than any of those jokers…..). Lol. Next thing we know you outsmart Kelvin Jack and the EB and run away with all we money. Lol. Yuh know is only “smart men” and “smart women” in TnT. Lmao

  14. To answer Kelvin, Tim Kee is Mayor of Port of Spain, PNM’s Treasurer aka Rowley’s little puppy dog, Head of the TTFA and a few other things unmentionable here. Sheldon Phillips is Tim Kee’s ” Mini Me” and the Son of Lincoln Phillips. To quote Sparrow ” that is ,that is all,that is all!”

  15. To start with Kelvin can hire me as his Marketing Manager as i know more about Marketing than any of those Jokers who now supposedly running Football. I have a solid reputation and i will help him get the sponsorship. Seriously he needs people with solid reputations and with a genuine love for the sport and who has it’s best interest at heart. Lasana Liburd re paying Hart til next year while i’m happy for TnT that he may stay and the other members of the technical staff and the players will get their money i cussing no arse because is our F***ing taxpayers money that bailing out Tim Kee, Phillips et al AGAIN with no accountability for our money. They/the Government should demand the full resignation of the current board of the TTFA and get an interim Board to over see the game and f***FIFA and their blasted postponement of TTFA elections for this bailout. Smart move Kamla. Smarter than Rowley cause you will come up smelling like roses with the footballing fraternity and possibly take some votes from the PNM due to their lack of judgement re Tim Kee that noose they don’t seem to recognize they have hanging around their neck.

  16. Thank God next year is elections !

  17. Am still having a problem…WHY NOT SORT OUT Mr. HART’S OUTSTANDING SALARY????…. Am sure he could be gettin bigger $’s in another country but he choose to remain here without being paid and still stuck to the team…..DEDICATION N DEVOTION TO T&T is al I can say

  18. That official release is so damning that it would have made more sense to not send it…

  19. Tim Kee and Phillips just sickening…can’t say anything more right now. Enough has been said time and time again

  20. Would be good to hear Kelvin Jack plans for a “new” TTFA led by him. How would he and his Executive Board (EB) fund national teams? How would he and his EB improve the brand that is the TTFA? How would he generate revenue and become an organization fully independent of the gov’t? How would he and his EB re-engage the fans/public and get them excited about supporting football in TnT again? What would be his plans for developing a strong pipeline of players and national teams? How will he get JW to cough up the billions of $$$ he owes to the TTFA/TTFF? And finally, how will he work to get all the village and city footbal fields to a standard that would better faciliate the development of football in TnT? I’m sure Lasana Liburd would be happy to allow Kelvin to use the Wired868.com forum to share his philosophy and vision for a “new” TTFA. We need change Kelvin. TTFA’s elections are scheduled for next year. Not a bad time to start sharing your vision for a “new” TTFA.

  21. It is not an easy job. You have the business sector that will have no confidence in anything with TTFA stamped on it. We need the business sector, we need the fans, we need government. I have no doubt that football can attract sponsorship. Football is an unbelievable vehicle in which to advertise ones company. I’m fed up of being laughed at by other countries. It has to stop.. Trinidad and Tobago is a wealthy nation. The wealthiest in the Caribbean by a country mile and yet footballers and other sportsmen and women have to virtually beg for assistance. Mind you the players need to toughen up as well but the main issue are those who are entrusted to run and organise the game.

  22. Debbie Espinal, the Government has committed to paying Stephen Hart up until June 2015.

  23. …That organisation needs a serious over-haul….somebody needs to get in there for a good 5-years and just Clean…Clean…Clean

  24. Mark.. It won’t end until those there leave.. They have absolutely no shame..

  25. This a temporary solution, but the problem (s) will arise again, if we don’t revamp the entire TTFA!!!! It starts there. It’s been decades this nonsense being going on. Many, many players have been mis-treated, over and over and over again.

  26. I am not doubting you Kelvin Jack not in the least bit. At the very least you would be doing it for the right reasons and not self interest.

  27. Kelvin Jack any honest person can do better, that’s it in a nutshell.

  28. Let’s be honest.. And I’m not being personal.. Who really is Sheldon Phillips? What’s his pedigree? I never heard of him before he just appeared.. Who is Raymond Tim Kee? The president who was part of the worst regime in the history of Trinidad and Tobago sports.. I acknowledge I am no doubt inexperienced at being a TTFA president but trust me I can do 1000 times better. I certainly know what it takes to succeed in football and when it comes to football, I will blow my own trumpet, few are more focused than me.

  29. I agree Kelvin Jack…. I know you have some interest in running for the top post…. I’m a believer is showing me with demonstrated experience that you can be successful. BTW I rather give you a shot that them jokers but not sure what relative experience you have. That’s a tough job that I wouldn’t want therefore I applaud you for even contemplating it.

  30. Those that run the TTFA are inept and embarrassing. They have no vision and haven’t showed leadership, transparency and know how. Truly incompetent at their jobs.

  31. I for one agree that we need a total revamping of the TTFA. Everyone should be replaced. However this still does not solve the issue of funding. Whenever you have an organization that is dependent on 2 parties Government and FIFA with no real way of sustaining themselves, you could put who, we will fail. Corporate donors will not put money into a product that has a negative brand and right now our brand is tarnished and getting worse

  32. How can they NOT comment on Stephen Hart’s salary??? Didn’t the man WORK for it????

  33. Hahaha. Barbara Jenkins, we are between the devil and the deep blue sea.
    Fayola Bostic, don’t you think an ID Card should be enough for entry at national team matches considering how much of our tax money jumping up? 🙂

  34. Haha the only reason most of them continue playing for the country is the love of the game and the love of the country. Also they probably feels like they owe it to Trinidad because most of them got seen through the avenue of the national team. Kenwyne Jones could retire from international football and be fine right now.

  35. Love it when this guvament asking ppl to account for money!

  36. So in other words, we, the taxpayers have paid twice for these salaries? Sweet

  37. The TTFA presidency does not come with a salary. The general secretary is effectively the CEO. So, presumably, Tim Kee is not being paid.

  38. Does Tim Kee get pay for what he isn’t doing at TTFA ?…just asking ….seems all presidents now getting paid and end doing shit

  39. Well said Anton Wolfe. Couldn’t have put it better myself.

  40. It’s embarrassing seriously after qualifying for a World/Cup our TTFF den which is TTFA nw shouldn’t be going tru any money problems @ all they put them selves in dis situation after allowing 1 man to wlk away with billions of $$$$$, which is theirs and should of hv it @ hand nw. But God don’t sleep. They all was vex wen members off d 2006 world cup squad took dem to court for misappropriation of funds. Guys lost dey careers due to dis lengthy court battle,was called all sorts of names and was blacklisted for our rights by d raging bull @ dat time Mr Warner who thinks he’s untouchable. Yes he maybe untouchable by those in human form but all dog hv it’s day. my God is a good god he tkes dwn anyting dat tings dey higher dan him.
    This is not only in our country u seeing or hearing bout this issue inno it’s Worldwide everyone knows wats going on in our country concerning sports. It’s a big shame on our football governing body @present I say d devil left but like he didn’t actually left he’s still around our football body pulling strings. Time for fresh blood in d footballing body new young ideas and maybe sponsors etc would come on board. The time is nw to mke dat drastic change. All d best too all my football brothers on d team. U guys wud win tonight. Play with heart and passion and tings wud be just fine. God richly bless u all.

  41. No truth in that at all Judy- Ann. He ketching he arse just like the others. Watch and see if he sticks around after tonight. Sometimes Trinis cannot comprehend that people will go beyond the call for love of the Sport, their Charges and their Country. Has Tim Kee or Phillips answered any of these questions re Hart’s salary with any kind of definity? Steups!!

  42. Judy, the TTFA initially said it was paying Hart through corporate sponsorship and urged Hart to keep quiet so as not to tarnish the football body’s reputation and make it harder for them to source the money.
    In fact, he has not been paid for some time.

  43. Nope. Too much credit for Gary Griffith there Debbie Espinal. He has been giving the TTFA as many empty promises as they have been giving everyone else. Lol

  44. They are probably still operating under old arrangements where all the TV rights money went to one jack.

  45. have to disagree with that sponsor a player/coach scenario. that will continue to bail out the inept FA. Your last line is very correct.

    btw, What was the FA’s financial intake from the south american tour, their share of TV rights alone should have been in the millions. Where is that money?

  46. It is rumored that Hart’s salary was being met by ‘corporate sponsors’. Any truth to that? It might explain why he’s still on the scene.

  47. Happy for the players but pissed that things were allowed to reach this state! Kenwyne is right…the team cannot continue to stutter along like this solely dependant on Govt handouts…having said that…where is the support from Corporate Trinidad & Tobago? Why havn’t any sponsors stepped forward? Sponsor a player or the coach if you dont trust the TTFA…and as for the TTFA…if after a term in office you cannot attract sponsorship…Get out and let someone who can run the football!

  48. Probably the shadow Min of Sport. The other Griffith.

  49. I understand that the bailout was not even negotiated by the TTFA but by a third party brought in by the technical staff. Hope to get details soon.

  50. Unfortunate but understandable to hear Jones say future of team could be in the balance could be up in the balance after this final – TTFA what have you done smh

  51. That’s just the way it is and that hurts especially in ah time when our football seems to be heading in the right direction from U15 to senior men and women #Getitright #TTFA

  52. This man Tim Kee hafta go yes he a real waste of time

  53. Lies, half truths and innuendoes. So Tim Kee lives to screw another day. SMH!!!

  54. I don’t know whether to be glad or pissed

  55. That would have been the perfect boycott. All the They care is about cashing in at COPA America. And the players won’t see a scent. Man I had a dream a team dropped out and Trinidad and Jam were in anyways. We go see

  56. Where is the football players Union

  57. So they also bailed out the women’s Soca warriors?

  58. Scotty Ranking

    Once again it seems that only utter embarrassment motivates the TTFA to respond. The government here has nothing to lose by their bailout, especially if they pay all owed monies directly to the creditors and NOT the TTFA …