Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams has received a pre-action protocol letter for his non-disclosure of financial details relating to the football body’s controversial US$2.25 million Home of Football project.
The pre-action protocol letter was issued yesterday by TTFA board member Keith Look Loy, who is represented by attorneys Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle and Sheriza Khan.
The legal document cited Look Loy’s requests—from 26 December 2017—for information regarding:
- The contribution made by FIFA, TTFA and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in respect of the technical centre under construction in Balmain;
- The names of all the companies/parties which submitted construction / professional bids in connection with the said construction;
- The TTFA committee, delegate or employee responsible for the selection of the contractor and any subcontractor who has been, is and/or it is intended will be engaged in any way on this project;
- The name of the project manager is and was and/or it is intended will be engaged in managing this project;
- The name of the contractors and any subcontractors who have been, who are, and who it is intended will be involved in the said project;
- The value, duration and terms of all contracts, sub-contracts and/or any other instruments under which services are engaged and/or managed;
- The current financial and construction status of the project, together with the documentary evidence of same.
John-Williams has repeatedly refused to give the requested information to either Look Loy or the TTFA membership. At an extraordinary general meeting on 13 June, the W Connection owner and contractor told the local football membership that he would not share financial details of the football body’s spending with them because he was afraid it might be leaked publicly, the file was too big and he did not remember everything they wanted to find out.
Instead, the football president showed a video about the Home of Football project with some—but not all—of the requested details, and held up a massive ledger, which he said contained all the TTFA’s purchases during his tenure.
“[John-Williams] showed a generic video with FIFA members explaining the level of control and oversight they exercise over [projects like the Home of Football],” said one member, who spoke to Wired868 on condition of anonymity. “So some members said if FIFA is overseeing the project, then that is good enough for them.”
John-Williams also explained, at the EGM, why members were not given financial documents 10 days before the meeting, as mandated by the TTFA constitution.
“He said the file was too big to send,” said another member, “and he was afraid the information would be leaked.”
John-Williams said anyone was able to request to peruse the ledger. However, more than a month later, Look Loy still has not been able to access that information at the TTFA’s office either.
At last month’s EGM, the TTFA membership opted to censure and praise John-Williams for his behaviour; and move on.
“I hereby move a motion to compliment the President for the yeomen effort he has given to advance our beloved game,” said Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association (TTRFA) vice-president Osmond Downer, during last night’s TTFA EGM, “but also censure the President for the way in which he approached the [Home of Football] project singlehandedly.”
Thus far, Look Loy, who is also the Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) president, is adamant that he would not give up the chase that easily.
“The fact that you have failed to provide this information as sought has caused Mr Look Loy and those who he represents to have grave concerns,” stated the legal document, “as to what may be the possible reasons for this total failure of disclosure.
“In light of the above, this is the final demand my client will make, before approaching the High Court to seek to have a Judge order you make the necessary disclosure forthwith.”
Look Loy suggested too that, if John-Williams continued to ignore his requests, he would not rely on the internal mechanisms of the football body for justice.
“Mr Look Loy has considered Clause 65 of the TTFA Constitution which seeks to exclude the jurisdiction of the courts,” stated Gayle. “Given the central role played by the President and the wider Board of Directors in the establishing of any tribunal thereunder, he is of the firm view that the informed, fair-minded observer would apprehend the possibility of bias in respect of any tribunal established under the TTFA Constitution.
“As such, this letter is sent in compliance with Mr Look Loy’s obligations as set out in the relevant pre-action protocol(s) to the Civil Proceedings Rules 1998.”
John-Williams was given until noon on 24 July 2018 to provide Look Loy with “all requested and relevant information.” If such information is not forthcoming, his legal team assured the administrator that “a claim will be filed in the High Court without further warning.”