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TTFA delays WPL endorsement; requests ‘transparency’ from Sport Ministry

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee said the local football body will delay its formal endorsement of the Ministry of Sport’s proposed Women’s Professional League (WPL) until it receives a formal proposal on the competition.

Sport Minister Brent Sancho made the WPL his most ambitious project when he was appointed in February 2015, although it has been met with mixed responses from football stakeholders and the general public.

Photo: Sport Minister Brent Sancho (centre) pays a visit to Bourg Mulatresse. (Courtesy SPORTT Company)
Photo: Sport Minister Brent Sancho (centre) pays a visit to Bourg Mulatresse.
(Courtesy SPORTT Company)

On Tuesday May 5, the Sport Ministry agreed to do an interactive chat on the WPL with members of the public but failed to show as readers demanded answers on the long-term viability of the project and criticised its timing and focus.

However, Tim Kee’s stance on the league—whose kick off has already been delayed from “late May” to “mid-June”—is likely to be seen as retort to the Sport Ministry over its refusal to fund the local football body in the absence of audited financial statements.

The TTFA president insisted that he was not using the WPL as leverage or being confrontational, but only needed information to report back to FIFA. And TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips claimed that he requested a written proposal on the league from Sport Ministry advisor Kevin Harrison weeks earlier.

“FIFA asked about the league and they wanted more information on it,” Tim Kee told Wired868. “Up to this day, we have not seen anything in writing about it, like: how is it going to be operated and, very importantly, who the sponsors are… So, I sent a message today to the minister reminding him that those things need to be done for it to be sanctioned by the association.”

Thus far, Wired868 understands the WPL will comprise of six franchises—worth TT$350,000 each to investors—who will compete on community fields throughout the country. Admission is expected to be free for the maiden season.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (left) tussles with United States attacker Alex Morgan (centre) while Tasha St Louis looks on during CONCACAF action in Kansas City. (Copyright Kyle Rivas/AFP 2014)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (left) tussles with United States attacker Alex Morgan (centre) while Tasha St Louis looks on during CONCACAF action in Kansas City.
(Copyright Kyle Rivas/AFP 2014)

Shanghai Construction, Flow and NGC are said to be three of four companies who gave verbal commitments to the competition. The Ministry of Sport is said to be looking at importing players from the Caribbean, North America and even China to boost the quality of the competition while foreign coaches are also being sounded out.

However, Sancho denied the suggestion that the Sport Ministry did not provide the TTFA with a written proposal and claimed that All Sports director Anthony Harford, who is lending administrative advice to the WPL, forwarded a document to the football body last week. He also dismissed Phillips’ suggestion that he had made such a request of the Government.

“I’m a bit surprised that he still needs a proposal despite the fact that we have had several meetings with the WOLF administration inclusive of president Sharon O’Brien,” Sancho told Wired868. “I just spoke to Tony (Harford) and he said he sent them something in writing last week and they were supposed to come in to finalise it…

“Nobody from WOLF or (TTFA general secretary) Sheldon Phillips ever expressed any need for something in writing.”

Harford supported Sancho’s statement.

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre), ex-2006 World Cup player Brent Sancho (right) and TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips address the media during a happy moment between the trio in 2013. Sancho was announced as the Sport Minister in February 2015. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre), ex-2006 World Cup player Brent Sancho (right) and TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips address the media during a happy moment between the trio in 2013.
Sancho was announced as the Sport Minister in February 2015.
(Courtesy Wired868)

“I was asked by the Ministry of Sport to develop a proposal for them, which I did,” said Harford. “He asked me to speak to them independently about some of the problems they were having and I sent a copy to Sharon O’Brien… For Tim Kee to say he didn’t receive it is not exactly an ingenious statement.

“The Ministry asked me for a meeting last week to get it going to try and bring this matter to resolution. But Sheldon (Phillips) said he was not able to get the president’s consent to the meeting so it never happened.”

Trinidad and Tobago WOLF (Women’s League Football) president Sharon O’Brien confirmed receipt of Harford’s written proposal but could not verify whether it got to Tim Kee. She pointed that although she is a TTFA executive committee member and WOLF is an affiliate of the TTFA, there is a formal separation between the two bodies.

“Harford gave it to me as the president of WOLF and he indicated to me that he would send it to Mr Phillips and Mr Tim Kee,” she said. “WOLF is an affiliate of the TTFA but we are a separate body.”

The 2015 WOLF season was launched on Saturday May 9 but, with the WPL competition still in the formative stages, there is concern about disruptions to the WOLF competition as registered players are likely to be lured away for screening sessions with professional franchises or transferred. Several local clubs supposedly also raised the issue of compensation for their players.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Tasha St Louis (right) keeps the ball away from Costa Rica midfielder Katherine Alvarado during the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship semifinals in Chester, Pennsylvania. (Copyright Mitchell Leff/AFP 2014)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Tasha St Louis (right) keeps the ball away from Costa Rica midfielder Katherine Alvarado during the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship semifinals in Chester, Pennsylvania.
(Copyright Mitchell Leff/AFP 2014)

“Basically, clubs want to know how are they going to be compensated for their players,” said O’Brien. “They wanted more detail on the movement of their players during that period, whether they will come back to clubs (for more players) when national team players leave (for the Pan American Games and Under-20 World Cup and Olympic qualifiers), if there is no financial benefit (to clubs) then what is going to trickle down to them for the players they developed…”

Harford is believed to have made some headway in allaying their concerns while the Sport Ministry, according to Sancho, agreed to give financial assistance to WOLF and some of its member clubs. One of the new proposals tabled is that the WPL and WOLF competitions will combine for double headers whenever possible.

Tim Kee expressed concern that players attached to United States universities might lose their scholarships if they competed in the WPL, although he said Sancho, a former St John’s University player and 2006 World Cup defender, assured him that no such risk would be taken.

Despite the unease between the two sporting bodies, Tim Kee insisted that he has no intention of being an impediment to the wellbeing of women’s footballers. He said he only wants the relationship between the TTFA and the Sport Ministry, with regards to the WPL, to be one of “transparency and accountability.”

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre) gestures to an Ecuador player while Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) has a word to her grandson before kick off of the FIFA Play Off second leg on 2 December 2014. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre) gestures to an Ecuador player while Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) has a word to her grandson before kick off of the FIFA Play Off second leg on 2 December 2014.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“This isn’t a simple domestic league or a family thing in the back yard,” Tim Kee told Wired868. “I don’t see a problem because anything to do with the upliftment of football, I support it. It is just that things have to be done in a certain way…

“Everything must be predicated in transparency and accountability; and we want to strictly adhere to those processes in everything we do.”

Sancho and Tim Kee are due to meet later this week to discuss the TTFA’s financial situation and it is debatable as to which administrator would be on stronger footing.

Tim Kee said its audit was delayed due to missing information, which was on a computer seized by the 2006 World Cup players in 2012. Sancho was among the players who swooped down on the football body with a court-appointed marshall, due to unpaid debts.

The Sport Minister softened his tone slightly when asked if the Government would release funds to the TTFA before its audit is complete.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago scorer Kevin Molino (far left) leads teammates Hughtun Hector (second from left) and captain Kenwyne Jones (second from right) in a goal dance during 2014 Caribbean Cup qualifying action against Antigua and Barbuda. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago scorer Kevin Molino (far left) leads teammates Hughtun Hector (second from left) and captain Kenwyne Jones (second from right) in a goal dance during 2014 Caribbean Cup qualifying action against Antigua and Barbuda.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“We expect to get the audit this week, so we will cross that bridge when we get there,” said Sancho. “They are now saying they have challenges (in completing the audit), so we want to get the information as relates to that.

“As far as we know, they were one week away from giving it to us, so I don’t know what has changed from then to now. The computer didn’t go missing after they spoke to me so why wasn’t it expressed then?

“We want to ensure that neither the men’s team or women’s team suffers but there must be an adherence and understanding of the policies that surround taxpayers’ dollars.”

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief 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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114 comments

  1. The Army team (Bomb Squad) Julien “Shiggy” Garcia, Desmond Thomas Reynold Carrington, Roderick “Rambo” Gibbs, Barrington, Timothy Haynes Berthrand OB Obrien, Neil Williams, Russel Sutton, Clem Elder (Goalkeeper) Hayden Thomas (Goalkeeper) Fleary,

  2. Milan United one of the greatest Tirni team that represented in Brooklyn.. Kurt Barrington, Gerald Barrington.Basil Williams, Leston Paul, Earl Sausy Bailey, Andrew Ali, Andre Legendre, Clifford Speedy Smith, Sheldon Mousy Brathwaite, Nixon Brian Griffith,Kurt Forde, Shelly Noel,

  3. Trinidad and Tobago Internationals ( Haitain Semi Pro League New Jersey..

  4. Trinidad and Tobago Copa Latino team Kurtwyn Baird(Coach/Player, Marvin Oliver, Leeben Mc Gregor, Sheldon Mousy Brathwaite, Earl Bailey, Kevin Placid (Goal Keeper) Wiltshire Marlon Rojas, Kurt Scotland.

  5. Garfield. Neil Williams, Sheldon Mousy Brathwaite, Irasto Kinghts, Samuel James, Brian Griffith, Kevin Barrow Drayton (Dollar) Grenada, Patrick Patty Modeste, (Grenada) and Felix (goalkeeper) Grenada.

  6. Leroy De Leon ‘ The General” and the greatest player that ever represented our sweet country.

  7. Trinidad and Tobago Caribbean Cup team 1993…Crispin St Louis, Ricardo Aleong, Brent Bennet, Leston Paul, Sheldon Mousy Braithwaite, Andrew Ali, Andy Haynes, Warren Pogi Salandy (Tobago) Andre Legendre, Dean Quamina, Basil Williams.Anthony Rougierre, Dave Byoe Holder. Roger Lizo Wilson,

  8. My indoor team with Andrew Ali, Leston Paul, Earl Sausy Bailey, Barry Swift and others.

  9. Trin Am United… with bound to score Samuel James for Belmont, Crispin St. Louis (Goalkeeper) and others.

  10. Mark Anthony Scott A whole exodus of a players had left our sweet country in the mid 80’s early 90’s and that was other problem with our football most of our younger players didn’t see them play to follow their footsteps. NY. Ball Giants Clint Marcelle’s team with Anthony Furnance. Les Pierre, Marlon, Daryl Sinnerine and others

  11. Since in 1992 it was started in Brooklyn N.Y. to educate our players about football professional contracts, school, and to defend them in the court of law when folks like the corrupted con artists like Jack Warner and his cronies cheated them out of their well earned monies and now it should be up and running in our sweet country a long time ago since after Brent Sancho and the other 2006 World Cup Players sued the corrupted Jack Warner and the corrupted TTFA in order to get their millions and to stop all the madness that continues with the present Mayor Tim Kee and his present cronies in our sweet country.. Them really good yes.

  12. The point is that a successful player’sunion is needed.

  13. ..But I believe it will all be sorted out soon

  14. Yeah and I agree 1000% the same where the CORRUPTED TTFA should also be giving millions to our Professional League because it is the same players that they are always using to make plenty millions Them really good yes.

  15. …So even though there are just 2 matches left in that League Season…they could be suspended Uncle Earl Mango Pierre

  16. …They passed a law i think where cash from TV should be spread out evenly for all clubs

  17. …From 16 May La Liga matches will be suspended by the Football Federation…however the Spanish Professional League is taking Court Action…it is all over TV Rights

  18. What is happening Mark Anthony Scott talk nah or post the Story here nah Mr’ Live Wire?

  19. Kurtwyn Baird you should know by now that I don’t care what is happening in any other place but on Wired 868 fuss ah like the bacchanal thing eh, so just share with us nah. hahahaha

  20. Lasana Liburd,Mark Anthony Scott,Earl Earl Mango Pierre,Savitri Maharaj are you guys following what is happening right now in the Spanish la liga concerning the player Union?

  21. Mark Anthony Scott it wasn’t only about their personal choices nah it was about my dead men presidents monies eh, and when my Coaches returned to our sweet country eh and multiplied that by 6 TT dollars eh well they were good to go just some time ago I was hearing the testimony from one of our great Legend player and Coach who also passed away Kenwyn Cooper eh and he told me that while he was Coaching this young team eh and driving his old old car eh, the fella who owns a car company told him to drop by his business place eh and when he got there the man told him to choose a vehicle yes free and that was because his son was in the young team and the man really appreciated what Kenwhn was doing for his son and his team and I am positively certain other coaches in our sweet country have the same kind of testimonies on how they are treated when they come to my second sweet country to coach ent why do you think that our sweet country cannot beat up my American team eh and won’t be doing so any time soon and this is what Kurtwyn Baird , Earl Carter and many others is also doing developing plenty young American Players and geting paid to do so and who will be making the USA national youth teams and senior teams and who are also getting scholarships to attend universities to get their education free of charge and yes many of our players do get lost in the system and never returns to our sweet country to experience all the bad treatments nah from the corrupted TTFA .steuuppss Them really good yes

  22. …It seems that way Savitri Maharaj….it certainly seems that way

  23. …Since the 1980’through the 1990’s s the likes of Alvin Corneal…Lincoln Phillips…Bertille St. Clair…Peter Granville and many others have contributed to the success of the USA on the football field by giving of their time and expertise to coach youngsters during the summer holidays…and while it is their personal choice…we have lost a great deal by this…and not to mention players that have gotten Scholarships and after representing a T&T Age Group Team…and they have gotten lost in the American system…countless and some have obviously stopped playing and had careers otherwise…but Uncle Earl Mango Pierre you can testify to this

  24. Mark Anthony Scott as the saying goes….”If you fail to prepare , prepare to fail….steeuuppsss Them really good yes.

  25. …Well Kurtwyn Baird…therein lies the problem…and i made that point earlier about preparing only when a Tournament is close….then when we fail to qualify….we Bitch and we Moan…but we accept it year in…year out….STOP THE MADNESS

  26. Kurtwyn Baird And now Jamaica has won the Caribbean Cup in Brooklyn N.Y. about 11 years now yes 2003 – 2005 with 7 of them back to back from 2006 – 2012 then St Lucia won 2013 and JA again 2013 – 2014 and I wouldn’t be surprised that they will continue winning nah because all they do is wait until their league in JA has concluded and then send for their guns ent to represent their sweet country but the folks who is running our Trini team continues to spin top in mud because of the same mentality of the fellas in the corrupted TTFA and I am just leaving them to continue to do their madness until they all understand that our players comes first eh and it is not about them and getting the glory when our sweet country is victorious and our Trini team was joint winners with JA when it first started in 1992 and only won it once in 1996 When Marvin Oliver scored the last penalty to beat up Grenada in the final. Them really good yes.

  27. Mark Anthony Scott this is what we have been doing for years but not consistently it has found quality players but also missed also,because we only do this near a tournament time,it is always a hussle to accept the player in present form,then not always the best players go to the powerhouse schools,then what is the quality of the scouting coaches?

  28. …Yes Kurtwyn Baird…I also have no problem with a foreign coach…but the local coaches that have taken the time to get their badges should be utilised as well…find a place for them to work alongside the people that run Coaching Schools…place them in the Primary and Secondary Schools…let them scour the country looking for talent and report back to a Technical Director…Age Group Coaches or Senior National Coach

  29. Kurtwyn Baird hahahaha and yuh remember when you was sent for by that other corrupted con artist who sent for you to be the Coach of the Trinidad and Tobago Caribbean Cup team in Brooklyn NY eh that I had to take to court and exposed him with all his wrong doings to ent, well he passed away now and may he rest in peace but when I saw you play I said WHAT !!!! coach eh then I told you that you will be playing for my team and while you on the field you will also do the Coaching for me eh, you just watched me and laughed yes but although you was in your early thirties eh I done saw that yuh was a football general back in your early days yes and I know now that you are on your way to be one of our great Coaches in the future but please stay away from that corrupted TTFA eh because I know that you love our sweet country really bad, bad, bad, the same like many of us eh, but continue to do it in the America eh, and you will never have any regrets. Them really good yes.

  30. …Uncle Earl Mango Pierre…i have always believed that some of the solutions to our problems are right in front of us…we don’t need a foreigner to come and tell us what our issues are…we already know…the thing is…those in high positions think that it is Beneath Them to Consult with the small-man or those that are not in a high position as they are…all it takes is dialogue…when we failed to qualify for Italia 1990…right away the task to make sure that our U-17…U-20 and Senior Men’s team qualify for World Cups…yes we appeared in Germany 2006…but like it or not we have fallen off.

  31. Earl Mango Pierre I never suck up to anyone but my wife but Earl mango Pierre since I met you in 2001 you have been preaching this to us but you are 100% right the lack of Knowledge would be a lot of footballers down fall and a small few con artist gains

  32. Mark Anthony Scott who really feel that they really care about doing anything like that eh, they are just interested in everybody else to do the ground work eh, then Hire a Coach eh, and want the Sports Ministry to pay them with the tax payers monies eh, and then racked in all the Millions of monies from the FIFA, and sponsors eh and always go the banks home and in the foreign smiling steeuuppss Them really good yes.

  33. …The TTFA should be in constant contact with these Coaching Schools…they should all be working in tandem to improve the standard of T&T football from the Grassroots level right up…these Coaching Schools are Crucial to T&T’s Football Landscape…they should Not Be Alienated by the TTFA

  34. Kurtwyn Baird you are so right eh, and that is why when I was invited by Dion La Foucade some years ago to his football academy eh when he had representatives from my greatest team in the universe Manchester United eh I told the Coaches and players the importance of the Coaches Association and if they had listened to me many moons ago eh all this madness wouldn’t be happening my idea was that the Coaches Association would have had their own fundraisers and I am positively certain that sponsors wudda got on board to eh so our coaches would have been helped with the monies to go and get their Coaching Licenses abroad but some of the Coaches had their own agendas because of their selfishness and I also told them that the 3 should be working together. The TTFA, The Coaches Association, and The Players Association because that is how is done in meh second sweetest country the America. Them really good yes.

  35. I was really surprised when I read some time ago when some of our Coaches was now taking the “D” Licence eh, and they are Coaching teams in the big leagues eh. I said to myself Buh wah trouble is this eh, no wonder the pro league level it is the way it is eh, and also why our players haven;t been developed on the level to compete with meh other foreign base players from the other nationals teams eh. Them really good yes.

  36. I agree that the Pro League should mandate that all coaches, including youth coaches, are certified. I’m sure many of them are. But it should be a rule.

  37. Mark Anthony Scott you need to do a back ground check eh, and you will be surprise as to the Coaching Licenses some of our bootleg Coaches have eh and they are allowed to Coach our national teams and Pro league teams and make certain that you mention the names eh, who me if I was the President of our Pro league eh, no Coach will be Coaching any professional team unless that you have the highest Coaches License , which will make plenty of our bootleg Coaches finally get with the program and elevate themselves to be the bestest in our sweet country. Them really good yes.

  38. Levi’s trial was in November right? I don’t know what he did between then and January but it was disappointing to see how he had slipped.
    Everyone there was looking out for form but he just wasn’t in good condition. But then with the possible exception of Martieon Watson, none of the schoolboy players delivered.
    So as bad as the Pro League might be, it prepared the players between than school football.
    Neveal Hackshaw, Akeem Garcia, Aikim Andrews, Shannon Gomez and Kadeem Corbin were examples of players who kept their standard or improved and all were pro league players.
    Jabari Mitchell, who went back to school, was another example of a player who went backwards since the Caribbean tournament.

  39. No lasana he was not the sports minister in january the point I was making is how he went out of his way 2 victimise levi how can you just come a few weeks from getting top coaching and playing with top pros and all of a sudden you out of form when them jokers here getting school boy training and 2 hour waste of time pfl training and gone pass him just so that does not make no sense

  40. ….Every Single Coach in T&T that earns a A B or C License can be Utilised if they are not attached to a Club…Planning…Just Proper Planning…that’s all……STOP THE MADNESS

  41. Mark Anthony Scott you like many others really feel that the corrupted TTFA cannot sustain themselves eh, like you is the treasurer or the advisor or what eh. remove the cobwebs from your eyes nah man, look at the millions, millions, of monies that corrupted Jack Warner racked in while he was the advisor eh, so where have all the millions gone and why is it that the Mayor Tim Kee and them still donot want to show their accounting books eh to reveal the TRUTH eh, like you didn;t read the story that Mr. Live Wire did about the amount of monies that sponsors was giving eh, until they read about the corrupted TTFA eh and they didn’t give them the monies anymore eh, ah wonder how many other sponsors who did give to them eh. Them really good yes.

  42. …We are too much of a small close-knit country Not to have regular screening for Age Group players…both Boys and Girls…the only part of T&T that you have to jump on a Plane to go is Tobago…so there should be Coaches (National) Contracted by the TTFA going to ALL Parts of T&T…Liaising with Coaching Schools…Community Groups…Clubs…Schools…in an effort to Identify Boys and Girls from age 8…Let these Coaches look at these players for 2 or 3 weekends and during July/August Vacation for 4 weeks…so you have an 8 year old that will be monitored for the the U-15 Boys and Girls team in 5 years time…Why is something like this not done???…And Don’t tell me about No Money…B#^@%$T…because if you put the idea in place…the money to sustain it will come…we are sooooooo far behind in Football Development in T&T…The USA is Huge yet they do it…WHAT’S OUR EXCUSE….STOP THE MADNESS

  43. …Whether you folks realise it or not…we are in dire straights….take your heads out of the sand people….NOW

  44. …First of all…other than the current TTFA Constitution…other things Need to be changed…that arrangement with regard to coaches Needs to be changed…The TTFA and the MOS Must be in sync as to who pays the coaches….as far as I am concerned…it Must Always Be The TTFA that pays them…While the MOS has to supply the $$$ Because up to now (2015) the TTFA cannot sustain itself (SHAME) so it seems that we are still in the 1980’s with regard to our thinking…We qualified for a World Cup…and yet still we have an Institution that has Not Moved Forward….STOP THE MADNESS

  45. Mark Anthony Scott but that is what our Coaches and players should have been doing for a very long time knowing the track records of that corrupted TTFA and what others before them had gone through but they only speak out after they are no longer with that corrupted TTFA just like how Jamaal Shabazz and Gally Cummmings and others that are speaking out after they have been axed eh anytime individuals with kids who have a little Trini blood in them eh and they ask me about their kids representing our sweet country eh I say to them, alyuh mad or what eh, look let them represent the America team or England eh because they will always be treated a million times better steeuuppss Them really good yes.

  46. Mark Anthony Scott I am really confused about that arrangements yes because if the coaches are attached to the Sports Ministry like how Gally was back in the days attached to the Sports Ministry eh and was paid directly from them eh, why is it now that the monies have to go to the corrupted TTFA in order to do so they should continue to be paid by the sports ministry on a timely basis ent.