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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.