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TTFA issues bizarre response to Guardian; DJW confirms and denies allegations

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams took time out today to simultaneously confirm and deny a Trinidad Guardian report, which referred to the football body’s failure to send press officer Shaun Fuentes and team managers Peter Rampersad and David Muhammad to an ongoing two match tour in South America.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams (centre) presents Naparima College attacker Jarred Dass with his 2015 National Intercol medal. Dass is a Connection youth team player. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams (centre) presents Naparima College attacker Jarred Dass with his 2015 National Intercol medal.
Dass is a Connection youth team player.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

The Guardian article, which was published on May 22, claimed that the trio were excluded from the games away to Peru and Uruguay as well as a June 3 friendly away to China in a “cost cutting exercise.”

John-Williams, via his preferred medium of a press release, stated that the TTFA has done no such thing.

“The TTFA has taken no decision to reduce the staff of the Men’s National Senior Team,” stated John-Williams, “not only for the ongoing three-match international tour, but also from a general standpoint as it relates to the operations of the National Senior Men’s Team.”

And yet, Fuentes, Rampersad and Muhammad are all in Trinidad while the “Soca Warriors” are in Lima.

John-Williams attempted to explain this apparent contradiction.

“The TTFA previously approved the National Senior Team operating with one manager as has been the case for four previous international matches this year,” stated the release. “(…) The TTFA will continue to facilitate the operations of the Senior National Team on a need to basis depending on the requirements necessary for the particular engagement.”

Photo: Argentina captain Lionel Messi (right) is tackled by Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland during their international fixture in Buenos Aires on 4 June 2014. (Copyright AFP 2014/ Juan Mabromata)
Photo: Argentina captain Lionel Messi (right) is tackled by Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland during their international fixture in Buenos Aires on 4 June 2014.
(Copyright AFP 2014/ Juan Mabromata)

So is the TTFA arguing that the Guardian is incorrect to say the managers were cut for the May tour because they were actually axed five months earlier? And, if so, is the football body contradicting itself when it says there was no reduction in staff?

In short, if there is no reduction in staff, then why are Muhammad and Rampersad not in Peru? And, if there was a staff reduction, then why take issue with the article?

“The organisation will not and does not intend to make decisions that will negatively affect any of our National Teams as it relates to operational staff,” stated the TTFA president.

And yet the national team had four managers for the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign. The current 2018 squad now has just one.

John-Williams had more to say about Fuentes. He pointed out that the media officer and ex-Guardian journalist travelled with the Warriors for four overseas CONCACAF assignments already in 2016.

Photo: Former UNC councillor Raymond Cozier (far right) watches Guaya United play in the Super League alongside Trinidad and Tobago seniorfootball team head coach Stephen Hart (second from right), then TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips (far left) and TTFA press officer Shaun Fuentes in May 2014. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Former UNC councillor Raymond Cozier (far right) watches Guaya United play in the Super League alongside Trinidad and Tobago seniorfootball team head coach Stephen Hart (second from right), then TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips (far left) and TTFA press officer Shaun Fuentes in May 2014.
(Courtesy Wired868)

“The TTFA also wishes to state that its media officer, Shaun Fuentes, has in fact travelled with the National Men’s Senior Team,” stated John-Williams, “for the World Cup qualifiers against St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Copa America Playoff as well as the CONCACAF Futsal playoff and the Women’s Olympic qualifiers.

“With this said, the TTFA is well aware of the requirements of providing the necessary communication services as it relates to the activities of our National Teams and other related activities of the association.”

However, the TTFA president neglected to mention that Fuentes’ appearance on this trips had little to do with the local football body. According to CONCACAF rules, all football bodies MUST send press officers to competitive matches.

And John-Williams failed to point out that Fuentes did not travel with the Women’s National Senior Team to the USA Victory Tour or the Natal International Tournament in Brazil. Nor did he accompany the Warriors to the March friendly in Grenada and, now, to games in South America and China.

In fact, Fuentes has been left out of every single trip in which the TTFA was not mandated to send him, due to CONCACAF rules.

Photo: United States record goal scorer Abby Wambach (centre) tries to sniff out an opportunity while Trinidad and Tobago defender Victoria Swift (right) keeps watch during international friendly action in San Antonio on Friday 11 December 2016. (Copyright AFP 2015/Chris Covatta)
Photo: United States record goal scorer Abby Wambach (centre) tries to sniff out an opportunity while Trinidad and Tobago defender Victoria Swift (right) keeps watch during international friendly action in San Antonio on Friday 11 December 2016.
(Copyright AFP 2015/Chris Covatta)

Arguably, a pattern is emerging for the new TTFA in the selection of staff.

The Trinidad and Tobago National Futsal Team played two exhibition matches in Costa Rica without the benefit of a team doctor. But for the CONCACAF Playoff against Honduras, Dave De Landro—who is also the W Connection team doctor—was flown in to support the Futsal team and ensure that the TTFA fulfilled its mandated obligation to its players in a competitive affair.

John-Williams attempted to explain why his press officer was absent from the South America tour.

“Fuentes has been invited by CONCACAF to attend a CONCACAF Champions League Summit and Media Officers Workshop in Miami on May 30/31,” said the TTFA president.

However, the Warriors return to Trinidad, via Miami, from Uruguay on May 28. So how can Fuentes’ absence from the tour be a consequence of the CONCACAF event when, if he travels with the squad, he will actually get to Miami two days early?

Without pointing to a single error in the Guardian article, the TTFA release, which was signed by John-Williams and Fuentes, further stated that: “Media officer Fuentes has also distanced himself from the Sunday Guardian report.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams (right) presents a Wired868 token of appreciation to "Soca Warriors" supporter Peter Cumberbatch during the 4th Annual Wired868 Football Festival at UWI SPEC Grounds, St Augustine on Saturday 2 January 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams (right) presents a Wired868 token of appreciation to “Soca Warriors” supporter Peter Cumberbatch during the 4th Annual Wired868 Football Festival at UWI SPEC Grounds, St Augustine on Saturday 2 January 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

But distanced himself from what exactly?

John-Williams, as usual, did not wish to comment.

“With all due respect, I have no comments to make on it,” the TTFA president told Wired868.

Fuentes attempted to clarify further.

“The newspaper article stated that I was ‘dropped’ for the contingent,” said Fuentes, “but I was not advised by my superiors that this was the case.

“The release explains the matter at hand.”

So Fuentes supposedly was not ‘dropped’ from the travelling party for South America. And yet, the team is in Peru and he is in Trinidad.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart makes a point during a training session in Sao Paulo in June 2014. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart makes a point during a training session in Sao Paulo in June 2014.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTFA Media)

(The full TTFA press release):

In reference to an article published in the Sunday Guardian on May 22nd, 2016 under the headline “TTFA drops Fuentes from Contingent”, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association wishes to state the following:

The TTFA has taken no decision to reduce the staff of the Men’s National Senior Team, not only for the ongoing three-match international tour, but also from a general standpoint as it relates to the operations of the National Senior Men’s Team.

The TTFA previously approved the National Senior Team operating with one manager as has been the case for four previous international matches this year, one international friendly against Grenada, the Copa America Centenario Playoff with Haiti and two World Cup qualifying matches against St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The TTFA will continue to facilitate the operations of the Senior National Team on a need to basis depending on the requirements necessary for the particular engagement. The organisation will not and does not intend to make decisions that will negatively affect any of our National Teams as it relates to operational staff.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team technical staff members (from right) Michael "Brow" Maurice, Derek King, Hutson "Barber" Charles and William Wallace exchange ideas before kick off against Nicaragua on 13 October 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team technical staff members (from right) Michael “Brow” Maurice, Derek King, Hutson “Barber” Charles and William Wallace exchange ideas before kick off against Nicaragua on 13 October 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The TTFA also wishes to state that its media officer, Shaun Fuentes, has in fact travelled with the National Men’s Senior Team for the World Cup qualifiers against St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Copa America Playoff as well as the CONCACAF Futsal playoff and the Women’s Olympic qualifiers.

With this said, the TTFA is well aware of the requirements of providing the necessary communication services as it relates to the activities of our National Teams and other related activities of the association.

Media officer Fuentes has been invited by CONCACAF to attend a CONCACAF Champions League Summit and Media Officers Workshop in Miami on May 30/31. He has also been chosen as a media officer for the league and the TTFA wishes to acknowledge this. The invitation was extended earlier this month to Fuentes.

Media officer has also distanced himself from the Sunday Guardian report.

The TTFA will continue with its best efforts to provide he necessary material and media updates pertaining to its various National Teams and various matters under the purview of the organisation.

We wish to thank you for your cooperation and support going forward.

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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17 comments

  1. Carib is not my favorite though. Budlight is!!

  2. But Brian Springer like you forget politicians tells the people in our sweet country plenty lies just to be voted in our what eh. Them really good yes.

  3. All the best to Trini football, from next month I will be back in Italy and my Federation will be FIGC hope Lasana Liburd will keep me informed

  4. WTF did I just read???? Who is this man claiming to be DJW??? Because this is NOT the same man who campaigned for the TTFA Presidency last year championing GREATER TRANSPERANCY!!! He’s rapidly starting to look like JW the 2nd coming…just NOT as funny…

  5. Does the TTFA organization have a P.R.O.? Sounds like a professional is needed in that area.

  6. No comments about the two VPs travelling? Lasana, can you confirm the members of the travelling party?

    • The members of the travelling party were not given to the media. And names can change. I would have waited until tickets were booked to make an issue over that.

    • I agree with you but until a name is change you have to go with the TTFA decided upon. So they would have made a decision prior to booking tickets…..right!

    • Yes. It can go either way Keith. I would have waited for proof because I think it would have come.
      In cases where you have no choice to go with the word of different witnesses, then sure. Go with them. The info checked out.
      But, for me, when you can get even harder evidence by just waiting a week or two… I would have waited.

  7. Fuentes grow a pair na…oh gosh! Yuh really put a signature to that nonsense? Wa d old ppl used to say…yuh playing smart wid chupidness!

  8. Scotty Ranking

    When will DJW learn that this maximum leadership style is fine if you are running your own personal club (like W Connection) but is atrocious for running an entity in public such as the TTFA?
    And once again it shows that he still has put no distance between himself and W Connection business despite his pre-election assurances. Somewhere Raymond Tim Kee must be rolling on the ground with laughter…