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TTFA VPs do not support Tim Kee; Guardian apologises for misleading article

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee’s re-election campaign got off to an embarrassing start this weekend, as, within hours of his announcement, all three TTFA vice-presidents declared that they do not support his candidacy.

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 furious responses from vice-presidents Lennox Watson, Rudi Thomas and Krishendath Kuarsingh were prompted by a Trinidad Guardian article, written by reporter Walter Alibey, which claimed that Tim Kee had the full support of his executive. The story followed an interview conducted by Alibey with TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips.

Kuarsingh made his view of Tim Kee’s tenure as president clear, via an email.

“I am of the view that, over the past three years, the TTFA functioned as an organisation totally controlled by (Tim Kee and Phillips),” stated Kuarsingh, “and, in so doing, (they) sidelined the duly elected Executive Committee and failed miserably to account for monies received and expended by the TTFA when requested to do so.

“To put it simply, the affairs of the TTFA was (sic), in my humble opinion, badly managed. Personally, I will not support the candidacy of Mr Tim Kee.”

Watson and Thomas both backed Kuarsingh’s stance. The problem is Phillips appears not to have made the reported claim at all.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips. (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips.
(Courtesy SPORTT)

Alibey told Wired868 he did not write the opening paragraph, which claimed that Tim Kee had the full support of his executive. And Guardian sport editor Rachel King admitted that she misinterpreted Alibey’s account of his interview with Phillips.

“The reporter spoke to him and that was the interpretation I got from my reporter,” King told Wired868. “I guess it is my wrong interpretation but we will work on it…

“Next time, I will ask my reporter to record their conversations.”

Watson and Thomas both demanded an apology from Phillips. Instead, it is likely that the Guardian will issue an apology and retraction for its misleading report of an interview with the TTFA general secretary.

Phillips, for his part, has declined comment.

Still, two days before the nomination deadline of Tuesday October 20, Tim Kee could have done without the courting of a public blast from his fellow executive members, who have already accused him of dishonesty, incompetence and dictatorial behaviour during his term.

Phillips told the Guardian that the TTFA was about to set up an independent Finance Committee, which would take charge of fund-raising issues.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national head coach Stephen Hart (left) with assistants Hutson Charles (centre) and Derek King. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national head coach Stephen Hart (left) with assistants Hutson Charles (centre) and Derek King.
(Courtesy Wired868)

However, Thomas told Wired868 that Tim Kee has chaired the TTFA’s Finance Committee for the past three years and failed to hold a single meeting in that time, even as the cash strapped football body struggled to pay its own staff, players and coaches.

According to the constitution, each vice-president is responsible for one of three responsibilities: finance, tournaments and technical appointments and development. But the alleged failure of the president to hold meetings meant that the football body simply ran on auto-pilot.

“Executive meetings are only called when Tim Kee wants to talk about something,” said Thomas. “At one time, I was in charge of technical appointments and development and I handed in my resignation on that because a lot of things were happening behind my back… Football is in such a mess.

“The president was the chairman of the Finance Committee for the past three years and that committee has not met even once!”

Watson declared that he will not seek re-election and would step aside immediately after the November 29 election. In his opinion, everyone involved in the TTFA at an executive level during the tainted Jack Warner era should also leave the game—even if they were never implicated in wrongdoing—if they cared for the national football set-up at all.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) Raymond Tim Kee (right) enjoys some conversation at the 2014 FIFA Congress in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Copyright TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) Raymond Tim Kee (right) enjoys some conversation at the 2014 FIFA Congress in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
(Copyright TTFA Media)

“It is my belief that those of us who were there from the Jack Warner era should get off the field,” Thomas told Wired868. “People may not have anything against us personally but, when something happens, they will always say ‘Jack Warner’s people again.’ I feel football needs a chance to breathe.

“And, on that basis, I am stepping aside to let young people come in with fresh ideas… I am not going to campaign for anyone but I reserve my right to say who I will not support.”

Thus far, only Tim Kee and DIRECTV W Connection president David John-Williams have officially announced their intention to run for football office. Former referees Ramesh Ramdhan and Clynt Taylor are believed to be also weighing up the challenge and have another 48 hours to decide.

The TTFA has appointed Elton Prescott SC, Mervyn Campbell and Dinanath Ramnarine to serve on its Electoral Committee, which is: responsible for the organising and supervision of the TTFA’s AGM.

Nominations can be submitted by any of the TTFA’s 49 voting members, which are split up as follows:

Photo: W Connection owner David John Williams (second from left), coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier (centre) and defender Joel Russell (far left) say a prayer of thanks after securing the 2013/14 Pro League trophy at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection owner David John Williams (second from left), coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier (centre) and defender Joel Russell (far left) say a prayer of thanks after securing the 2013/14 Pro League trophy at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Pro League (ten votes); Super League (eight votes); the Central, Eastern, Eastern Counties, Northern, Southern and Tobago zonal bodies (three votes each); the Women’s, Referees and Futsal associations (two votes each); the Primary School, Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL), Beach Soccer, Veteran Players, Coaches, Players and Trinidad and Tobago American Soccer Youth (TTAYSO) associations (one vote each).

At present, there is not believed to be an active players or coaches association. However, all 49 members were: “granted a transitional period of 18 months to submit the documents and declarations as required in the approved TTFA Constitution.”

This 18 month period, according to the TTFA Electoral Committee, started on 12 July 2015. Members who fail to comply within the deadline can be suspended although, of course, they would have already voted.

Thomas, as an outgoing executive member, does not have a vote under the new constitution. But he does not support Tim Kee’s bid.

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, who is a member of the FIFA Futsal Committee, tries out the furniture at the global football body's Zurich headquarters.
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, who is a member of the FIFA Futsal Committee, tries out the furniture at the global football body’s Zurich headquarters.

“After what happened in the last three years, there is no way I can support Raymond for president,” said Thomas. “Our football, from an administrative level, is in shambles.”

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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26 comments

  1. This controversy surrounding Tim Kee, the firing of Sheldon Phillips and now the withdrawal of support for Tim Kee by the Executive members of TTFA is getting more and more interesting. In the first place according to THE CONSTITUTION Article 39 – .PRESIDENT (3) … Only the President MAY PROPOSE the appointment and dismissal of the General Secretary, PROPOSE being the active word here…..Article 36 reads POWERS OF THE BOARD….The Board shall APPOINT AND DISMISS THE GENERAL SECRETARY ON THE PROPOSAL OF THE PRESIDENT…..Based on the above articles..TIM KEE OVER STEPPED HIS AUTHORITY. …In addition did Tim Kee substantiate what was printed in the newspaper? if not how could one be fired on unsubstantiated information…..Now we are reading the entire EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE have no intention of supporting Tim Kee in the upcoming TTFA elections because of his AUTOCRATIC attitude.Could someone please tell me where this organization is heading?

  2. why does football and bacchanal always go together?

  3. Well done Lasana, hopefully the day Tim Kee rides off into the sunset draws nearer.

  4. Hannibal Najjar

    What is crucial here is that, the National Senior Team’s focus is not blurred or thwarted by this set of reckless and negative energies. We must not have these men go into next month’s “war” with these “blasts” in their faces, but especially, minds! When family members walk out of their homes where “Dad” and “Mom” are cussing and fighting, accusing and abusing each other, the way ahead for the family members heading to “exams”, Common Entrance and “O” or “A” levels, as in my time, are going to be fumbling with those familial rumblings as the enter into the rooms and pages of those “exams”. Maybe, there is certainly one good thing behind the near 80% of the team being foreign based…. maybe, just maybe, they do not hear or get the BITTER taste of what is “boiling” on our local football stoves. And, I say bItter and not bEtter because the former possess the “I” or, “Me” factor, while the latter, the “E” or, “Everybody” factor.

  5. She is one of their sport editors. And was editor on the day.

  6. Ha Velentino Singh no longer Guardain sports editor? Lasana Liburd

  7. I’ve made a slight adjustment to initial story. I’ve included this quote from Guardian sport editor Rachel King: “Next time, I will ask my reporter to record their conversations.”
    At first, it seemed out of kilter with her admission that the Guardian was wrong.
    But, you know what, I will leave that to readers.

    • The Guardian article itself never attributes the “support” statement to Phillips… she just playing de ass by trying to suggest that the comment was made by him and then disavowed. Whatever shaky credibility she had is even further diminished by the insinuation.

    • Scotty Ranking

      Wait nah, so who really wrote the story then? Very confusing. It seems that someone is being less than truthful here about reporting what actually happened. And why, in 2015, is an editor suggesting that ‘next time’ the reporter should record the interview. Is that not de rigeur modus operandi for serious journalists in all media?

  8. I agree with Watson. A total change is required.

  9. The TTFA won’t do it, but can you post the positions that are going to be voted on. I thought it was ‘President’ alone. Thanks

  10. Really hope Ramadan don’t throw his hat in the ring, and i totally agree with Watson and Thomas stance.

  11. Yes they did actually. Several times on Wired868.

  12. Did they ever voice their concerns and dissatisfaction before?

  13. Well, well, again, Amazing Indeed !!!

    What a profound forthright joint statement from all three Vice Presidents..

    When you thought you had seen and heard it all.

    Clearly all Jack’s horses and all his men couldn’t put Humpty, Dumpty back together again.

    Facts are the new draft Constitution has to date not been properly approved in keeping with the TTFF/TTFA stated conditions of its existing Constitution.

    What a total and absolute mess !!!!! I am extremely sorry for the National footballers and preparation for the World Cup Qualifiers.

    I again ask? What TTFF/TTFA election on November 29th 2015, under what Constitution?

    Is the sudden rush to an election originally due in November 2014, a result of a directive from Blatter’s Zurich House of Shame?

    I trust the TTFF/TTFA recognition is not withdrawn within six months of its announced election date of November 29th 2015, by the new sanitized FIFA under a new leadership with integrity, in the post Blatter era.

    Again all are welcome to join the movement: “To Restore TT Football to its Glorious Past”, an initiative that is not restricted to the formation of a new National Football Body in TT, which may clearly become a requirement in this post Jack Warner era.

    Selby Browne

  14. Not a giant leap for mankind in local football but a baby step in the right direction. If e are able to get rid of the jack warner residue, things might just have a chance of getting better than they are at the moment.
    Maybe November 29, 2015 will become as memorable as November 19, 1989…for far different reasons!

  15. Scotty Ranking

    Lasan! Is like de Guardian has something against you personally, boy. Always printing stories contrary to what you put out in Wired868, then having to swallow a healthy portion of foot immediately therafter when their reporting is shown to be hopelessly skewed. What it is yuh do dem so, bwoy?

  16. A bunch of whining ass bi*shes. All they’ve tried to do ever since 2012 is obstruct anything the FA tried to do. Next time yuh email them yuh should ask Thomas, Watson and Kuarsingh how many times THEY called meetings of their own committees. Each of them was an “Executive” in name only. But perhaps I’m being harsh… I shouldn’t expect them to leak poisonous stories to the press AND hold meetings. Much better to bellyache and carp like scorned lovers.