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Board votes to take Home of Football project away from DJW; bills and contracts still missing

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams has allegedly retreated from the Home of Football project, after being outvoted by four to three on a motion to bring the construction work under the control of the Board of Directors.

Remarkably, almost a year since work started on the TTFA’s technical centre, training pitch, hotel and entertainment centre, Wired868 understands there is still no sign of Board approval for contracts related to the project or details on how much money has so far been spent.

Photo: FIFA president Gianni Infantino (right) and TTFA president David John-Williams at a media conference at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 10 April, 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

On Saturday, John-Williams, who insisted that the work done on the Home of Football had Board approval, was ordered by TTFA members to prove his claim by providing all details on the project to date. However, not only was John-Williams still unable to do so at yesterday’s emergency Board meeting but the figure supposedly spent on the project allegedly doubled in the space of three days.

At Saturday’s AGM, the embattled TTFA president told members that he split the US$2.25 million FIFA funding for the project into US$50,000 packages and had already given out one such project.

On Tuesday, John-Williams, who is a contractor himself, told members that he had given out two contracts and denied ever saying otherwise.

Regardless, he could not find paperwork to support either claim or a copy of the contracts entered into by the football body. It means that neither the Board nor stakeholders have any idea how much football money has been committed already—and to whom.

John-Williams also sought to defend his decision to hire a project manager while keeping some aspects of the works under TTFA watch, such as the purchasing of material like limestone. He allegedly claimed that he did so to save money for the football body.

Photo: The site for a Beach Soccer Pitch, Recreation and Entertainment Centre, Restaurant and training pitch at the TTFA’s Home of Football project in Couva.
(Copyright TTFA Media)

“Show me where in the Constitution it says the Board has to approve [every] contract,” John-Williams allegedly told his fellow Board members.

Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) president Keith Look Loy, who joined the Board in January 2018, moved a motion for:

  • The establishment of a Tenders sub-committee of the Board;
  • Submission of all draft contracts for approval by the Board;
  • Approval of all selected contractors by the Board;
  • Award of all contracts by the Board.

In what would arguably be an eye-raising stance in almost any organisation barring the TTFA, three administrators allegedly abstained on vote as to whether the president should be allowed to give contracts to whomever he pleased without having to so much as notify the Board.

The three abstentions came from John-Williams, his first vice-president Ewing Davis—who would take over the top role if a no confidence motions were successfully moved against the president—and Eastern Counties Football Union (ECFU) president Sherwyn Dyer.

Photo: TTFA president David John-Williams (third from right) poses with Women’s National Senior Team coaches (from left) Nicola Williams, Carolina Morace and Elisabetta Bavagnoli at a media conference in the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 1 February, 2017.
Also in the photograph are TTFA vice-presidents Joanne Salazar (second from right) and Ewing Davis (third from left) and then TTFA technical director Muhammad Isa (far left).
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Northern Football Association (NFA) delegate Kanjabari Williams, Southern Football Association (SFA) delegate Richard Quan Chan, Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association (TTFRA) president Joseph Taylor and Look Loy voted to bring the Home of Football project under Board supervision.

Having lost the vote, John-Williams allegedly told the meeting that he was withdrawing from the helm of the project “to protect [his] integrity.” The meeting promptly ruled that Davis should head the Tenders Committee, which will also include second vice-president Joanne Salazar and Quan Chan.

There were changes at Board level too yesterday, as interim Pro League CEO Julia Baptiste and attorney Colin Partap—a former UNC MP—attended their first meetings as representatives of the Pro League and Central Football Association (CFA) respectively. Neither will have voting rights until the next AGM.

In the departure lounge was WOLF president Sharon O’Brien who agreed to step down after members insisted that her dual roles of Board member and TTFA employee constituted a conflict of interest. She opted to keep the latter position and informed the Board that the women’s football body will select her replacement in 14 days.

Eastern Football Association (EFA) representative Wayne Cunningham is yet to officially concede his Board role, though, despite continuing to operate in the role of media officer for the TTFA.

Photo: TTFA press officer Wayne Cunningham poses with Mexico football fans during Trinidad and Tobago’s World Cup qualifying campaign.

Wired868 understands that Cunningham described his paid job for the football body as that of a consultant and not employee, although TTFA members seem unlikely to accept that there is any material difference between the two titles.

The TTFA Board also passed a resolution yesterday to immediately suspend any TTFA member which had not submitted by the deadline of 31 March, 2018 all of the documents required for membership compliance.

TTFA general secretary Justin Latapy-George was mandated to provide an updated list of all compliant and non-compliant members by Friday 6 April, 2018.

The Board’s provisional suspension of members will come up for ratification at an Extraordinary General Meeting on 30 April, 2018.

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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19 comments

  1. So we won a silver medal in swimming and everybody celebrating – congratulations.
    Suddenly, all are singing praises for sports and we have forgotten yesterday’s sport news – football, cricket, swimming, Ministry of Sports, Sporting Company, athletics, gymnastics, table tennis, etc.
    Did anyone notice that we won less medals at CARIFTA Junior Games but the NAAA is declaring the participation as “successful”?
    Did anyone notice that swimmers had to pay to participate in a swim meet in Jamaica and arrived late?
    But we celebrating!! And even praising the administrators??

    • Earl Best

      It’s hard not to notice that Carter has been transformed overnight from “T&T swimmer” to “T&T swimming sensation…”
      Ah, boy! We really are the original fig-skin nation, oui, also called a banana republic.

  2. The ONLY surprise is that people surprised

  3. ALL sports in TNT are poorly managed. But to get persons to give up the glory of doing nothing will be very difficult.

  4. We can’t buy a boat…we can’t build a biulding much less even a sand castle without some smell if corruption in this country. Just greed and failure all around.

  5. From JW to DJW. Same pants, different pocket.

  6. Like is only scamps in the football fraternity

  7. Appears that the lessons Jack Warner taught were learnt well by at least one person…

  8. Where is the oversight? TTFA Executive? Ministry of Sports? Sports Company of TnT? FIFA? JW rules!! I now know why I was warned to stay out of sports administration and it has nothing to do with my non-sporting ability??

  9. Due to the demand for transparency by Keith Look Loy the public is seeing lots of mismanagement by the TTFA president. This vote is a step in the right direction to encourage transparency in Football administration

  10. are we surprised? actually I am actually shocked they voted to take it away from him

  11. Why can’t they just vote to remove him completely from the TTFA?

  12. I tell you…it’s all fuzzy under this man. How could he be so unprofessional for a project of this magnitude. I wonder how much of the funds has he spent already. Also, did he award himself these contracts? I’m surprised that there are board members that voted with John Williams in this motion…smh

  13. ….and the controversy continues.