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TTFA labels Sport Minister Sancho as a bully in surprise attack

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) today issued a stinging broadside aimed at the head of the football body’s main sponsor, Sport Minister Brent Sancho, as the tit for tat between the two parties was surprisingly restarted.

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)

The TTFA release, which was authorised by president Raymond Tim Kee and general secretary Sheldon Phillips, rebutted suggestions by the Sport Ministry that it had been less than forthright about funding received by CONCACAF.

However, the football body raised the ante by blaming Sancho, a former 2006 World Cup player and litigant against the TTFA, for putting politics over patriotism and creating a poisonous environment.

“Since Minister (Brent) Sancho’s appointment, recent incidents, including what can only be described as a coercive action where the ministry threatened at the last minute to withhold funding for our March friendly against Panama,” stated the TTFA release, “unless the TTFA accepted responsibility for a $625,000 travel bill authorized by the Ministry in 2014, have created an environment that is not conducive to working together on behalf of our national footballers and technical staff.”

The TTFA’s statements, whether accurate or not, are oddly timed with the National Senior Men’s Team, which is competing in the the CONCACAF Gold Cup, soon to be due match fee along with the National Under-23 Men’s Team and Senior Women’s Teams at the Pan American Games.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Sheldon Bateau (centre) celebrates the opening goal against Guatemala with teammates Radanfah Abu Bakr (left) and Khaleem Hyland. (Copyright Jonathan Daniel/AFP 2015)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Sheldon Bateau (centre) celebrates the opening goal against Guatemala with teammates Radanfah Abu Bakr (left) and Khaleem Hyland.
(Copyright Jonathan Daniel/AFP 2015)

The Sport Ministry virtually bankrolls the TTFA at present while the Women’s National Under-17 and Under-20 Teams are due for competitive action soon and the senior “Soca Warriors” start their Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign in October.

Of course, Trinidad and Tobago will hold its general election on September 7 and Tim Kee, who is treasurer of the opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) and the Port of Spain Mayor, might expect to have a new Government in place in two months time.

It might be interpreted in some quarters as a calculated political gamble then, which would mock the TTFA’s assertion that: “patriotism above politics will win out.”

Although the football body would probably retort that it is merely speaking up for itself in the face of alleged character assassination by the Sport Minister.

The following is the full TTFA release:

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and general secretary Sheldon Phillips. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and general secretary Sheldon Phillips.
(Courtesy Wired868)

The TTFA wishes to emphatically rebut recent assertions made by Minister of Sport, Brent Sancho, claiming our organization has not been forthcoming regarding supporting funds received from CONCACAF.

By way of written communication and via meetings between representatives of the Ministry and TTFA, the Ministry was alerted to funds available to TTFA from CONCACAF. It is clear, however, that the Ministry has not taken into consideration CONCACAF funds received would be shared among several of our national teams and not solely preserved for the Senior Men’s National Team.

The TTFA has received $71,000 USD from CONCACAF for use by our national teams currently in training and competition.

Of the $71,000 received, $25,161.14 USD has been used to support the travel-related expenses of our senior men’s team, U23 men’s team, U17 women’s team, and U20 women’s team. In anticipation of the disbursement from the Cabinet note that was specifically earmarked for the Senior Men’s National, the TTFA sought to provide funding for other lower profile, but equally important national teams.

Photo: The "Women Soca Warriors" enjoy a good result during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: The “Women Soca Warriors” enjoy a good result during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

These expenses include US visa payments, lodging, excess baggage fees, medical supplies for travel, and insurance. Therefore and contrary to a building narrative pushed, the TTFA was successful in sourcing alternative funding to support its teams in an effort to reduce dependency on the Ministry.

Despite our best efforts, communication with the Ministry continues to be an issue. We have worked with members of the Ministry who have, at heart, the best interests of T&T football and the TTFA will continue to work assiduously with the Ministry to achieve these common objectives.

However, it is vital for the two entities to work together on behalf of the national team players and technical staff who represent our twin island republic.

We have engaged in successful collaboration with the Ministry of Sports in the past and recently received tremendous support from the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of National Security in obtaining duties waivers for our national team kit.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister and Senator Brent Sancho. Sancho is a former World Cup 2006 player and CEO of local Pro League club, Central FC. (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister and Senator Brent Sancho.
Sancho is a former World Cup 2006 player and CEO of local Pro League club, Central FC.
(Courtesy SPORTT)

However, since Minister Sancho’s appointment, recent incidents, including what can only be described as a coercive action where the ministry threatened at the last minute to withhold funding for our March friendly against Panama unless the TTFA accepted responsibility for a $625,000 travel bill authorized by the Ministry in 2014, have created an environment that is not conducive to working together on behalf of our national footballers and technical staff.

Since the new TTFA administration took office, we have confronted numerous fiscal challenges inherited from the previous TTFF administrations with a solid plan to address the financial health of the organization.

We have managed to successfully engage in an aggressive debt reduction effort that has seen TTFA debt reduced from the $36 million that was met to currently $13 million in the space of 18 months.

We have engaged KPMG to restart their efforts in organizing TTFF audit reports; which were discontinued in 2008 and have authorized our audit partners to publish the completed reports from 2008 – 2014, which will be a first for the organization.

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 Women's World Cup 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 Women’s World Cup Play Off second leg on 2 December 2014.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

At the end of July, the TTFA will unveil its new brand, Socawarriors, to the public and the purpose will be utilize the revenue stream developed from Socawarriors gear sales to support national team players and technical staff in an effort to further reduce our dependence on government to compensate the two most vital pillars of the football family.

The TTFA has continuously stated its desire to work with the Ministry of Sport as a partner in advancing our football on the international level. We are hopeful the Minister can recall his days as a national footballer pushing to solicit support from the government, private sector, and the governing body for the benefit of his teammates.

Minister Sancho is now in the position to assist the TTFA in providing the same benefits and opportunities to current national team players he sought in his playing days.

It is our hope that patriotism above politics will win out and the spirit of cooperation will prevail for the advancement of football, the game we all love, in Trinidad and Tobago.

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)

TTFA’s Use of CONCACAF Travel Fund and Gold Cup Advance (USD)

Match fees: $33,000.00

Baggage Charges: $1,493.74

Insurance: $1,744.37

Visa Payments: $4,192.50

Ground Transportation: $2,546.87

Meals: $1,269.60

Medical Supplies: $5,950.31

Travel Kit: $2,851.25

Lodging: $5,112.50

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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201 comments

  1. Brian is the ultimate T & T supporter through thick and thin. Everyone who follows football seriously knows the “caller from Maraval”. Lol

  2. Okay Brian I will run alongside you. Just hope i can keep up. Lol.

  3. Ha ha ha…my friends say Im a dreamer…then I remind them that I believed we’d get to Germany in 2006 from our 1st game and so I say if we could achieve that with the inept TTFF we can overcome this TTFA too Debbie…but it will be a long hard struggle…fortunately Im a former marathon runner so I endure…

  4. I like your faith Brian Springer. I need to get me some of yours.

  5. Live in hope Brian Springer that we will ever get “A few good men” to run TnT Football. They hold on to their posts like lagley.

  6. I’m actually brakesing from some cuss for my statement. Lol.

  7. That he is Brian Springer that he is. I had the pleasure of speaking to some of his players and they love him too bad. He has their respect which is something many former Coaches couldn’t command for whatever reason.

  8. Yes indeed Debbie I know Stephen…your cuz is a real Patriot and he’s also an excellent coach and clearly an amazing motivator…he’s restored PRIDE to our football and the players have clearly bought into his philosophy.

  9. And Brian Springer i’m so proud of what my Cuz aka Hart and his staff are doing with the Team despite all the crap.

  10. Yeah and there is no turning back now. “WARRIORS” for life.

  11. YEAH Debbie we came back again and again and never gave up…and scored in open play too…if ever a team deserved to be called WARRIORS…its THIS one!!

  12. Totally agree Brian Springer. Look at what we’re accomplishing with little resources. Magnificent performance against Mexico. Great come back in the second half and great fighting spirit. Mexico still in shock. 4 in dey pwffen.

  13. And doing us VERY proud Debbie Espinal…can you imagine what we could achieve with a proper admin? The sky is the limit!

  14. And while those idiots sparring in public both Male and Female Warriors fighting their hearts out for our Country. Shame on them.

  15. hahahahaha is ah good thing that I don’t wear any caps eh

  16. Not vex with any one but who the cap fit pull the string.

  17. hahahahahaha who get you vex Bruce Aanensen

  18. Why do stupid people comment on things they know nothing about. If you do not know the facts, shut your mouth and let people like you.

  19. Kendall Tull

    This was an interesting thread. Such energy devoted to making the TTFA seems like the victims here. Sancho may or may not be an idiot but surely you all cannot be saying that the TTFA is a well run organisation. They are unable to properly register teams for tournaments, sent teams abroad with no money, not produced accounts for years which is a basic requirement of the Sports Ministry for funding and allowed millions to be siphoned off from theor accounts. I do believe that Tim Kee served as a VP while some of these things happened. I wonder if they realise that even a incorporated non-profit has to abide by the tenets of the Company’s Act and as such, can be held liable for allowing the fraud to take place by not implementing proper internal controls? There is no statute on taking such action either so a new Executive can pursue action later down the road. They can try to obfuscate the matter all they like but there is no question that the TTFA is not a well run organisation. Sooner or later, there will be a reckoning.

  20. Where can I see the game on the internet Lasana Liburd?

  21. Fair enough Trevor Bridglalsingh. Good point

  22. That is one of the problems ,we put people to do things ….because they did it before, no assessment ,just convenience. Meanwhile people who gave been successfully running youth leagues for years , with no pay are not even asked to submit a tender.

  23. Gordon Pierre you have to buss on me to eh, well best ah start back the bad vibes cause I am really curious as to the files thart you have to buss on me to eh. hahahahaha Gordon Pierre really good yes.

  24. Hahaha. That’s the life of a journalist. You run a headline saying: “worst sport minister ever” and you’re a PNM apologist. You have another saying: “Tim Kee is warner reincarnated” and you’re the PP’s mouth piece…
    The Ministry of Sport owes All Sport and dodges payment under Anil Roberts.
    Then Sancho comes in as Sport Minister and needs someone with experience to ensure that his women’s league doesn’t flop.
    Such a person is being owed by the ministry already.
    I would call that a marriage of convenience.
    I could enquire further about that. But there are just many more urgent stuff happening right now.

  25. I honestly did not know that one about the running of the youth league!! But ask the question why it is the debt was not paid then and why now?? And ask the ministry and spare us your reasoning because lately you is the minister and harford apologist!!

  26. Lol. Gordon Pierre you’re surprising me. The TTFA announced weeks ago that Harford will run its youth leagues this year and they are negotiating with him to take over Super League again.
    You really didn’t know that?
    Wired868 had written about the debt to All Sport years ago during Anil Roberts’ term.
    What is wrong with it being repaid if it is a genuine debt of the Sport Ministry’s?

  27. Yea boi uncle Earl Mango Pierre you know was backing strong i even warn you that i might have to bust some files on you and all if you ent bring go vibes!! lol but he is my boi still

  28. Gordon Pierre in the newsday papers yesterday I saw a headline and it said .Hart says “Warriors prove everyone wrong”, and in the story he spoke about the critics. I am hoping that somebodyelse wrote that in the papers because you know how some of these writers does say you say and you didn’t say ent, Anyway somebody just let Coach Hart knows if he really made that statement that he needs to bring home the trophy and only then he can make those comments eh. Them really good yes.

  29. Savitri Maharaj hahahaha my top of the line laptop just started acting up just so, just so yes,like somebody is trying to block meh.

  30. Tensions seems to be getting a bit high in here, so let me post this doubles recipe.

    DOUBLES RECIPE

    Bara
    1 lb flour
    1 tsp saffron powder (tumeric)
    1 tbsp. baking powder
    1 tsp yeast
    1/4 tsp. sugar
    1 tsp. salt
    2 cups water
    1 tbsp. oil
    oil for frying

    Channa
    2 cups channa, soaked overnight
    10 cups water, for boiling
    2 tsp. baking soda
    2 tbsp. oil
    1 tsp. curry
    1 tsp. saffron (tumeric)
    1 tsp. geera (cumin)
    1 tsp. masala
    2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
    1/2 onion, chopped finely
    5 leaves chadon beni ( bandhania), chopped finely
    salt and pepper to taste

    Eat a bara and cool it!

  31. hahaha yes uncle is your thing bacahnal!!! lol

  32. I calling you out for days now uncle Earl. You mussee have 101 notifications

  33. Buh A A is all this action I have been missing eh Gordon Pierre.

  34. Lasana Liburd i let some time before i
    responded to ur crap!! Harford is no longer involved in the super league or running TTFA youth leagues and it surprising that someone involved with football like yourself is not aware!! And as the last sport report find out if the sport ministry paid mr harford the 2million alledgely owed to Harford since when he was the man in charge of ttfa accounts and why? I am warning the football cowboys be very carefull!! Hurt the youths future you will face the consequence!!

  35. Auntie Debbie Espinal i will just like to state that i was one who vocally supported the team and coach!! Now it seems very clear Bruce Aanensen have a clear motive probable the secret meetings with the minister and a perpective TTFA presidental at the oval and other venue in and around port of spain could be very revealing? To the rest of the wired family be very cautious of the ministers “good intentions” as i said earlier an confirmed by Lasana Liburd it is not the first time he have done things to undermine the TTFA whether as minister or before!!! Strangely he is yet to be confirmed as
    a PP candidate so watch and enjoy as the story unfold!!

  36. How so? There are many who feel they know more than others and that may be the case, but there are plenty with axe to grind including those who benefitted financially but no longer can do so

  37. This discussion is going in the wrong direction. I gone.