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Collective head-scratching as Fifa lists Corneal, De Four and Caesar as employees

Who returned Anton Corneal, Stephan De Four and Wayne Caesar to their former Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) portfolios?

At present, the Fifa website lists the aforementioned men as technical director, Women’s National Senior Team head coach and referee’s department head respectively. However, none of those appointments were made by the TTFA board and at least two of those roles were already filled.

Photo: Stephan De Four directs from the sidelines during his tenure as Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team head coach in 2020 Olympic qualifying action against Aruba in Couva on 30 September 2019.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/CA-Images/Wired868)

The board hired Dion La Foucade as its technical director on 15 January while Boni Bishop was selected to head the referee’s department last month. They replaced Corneal and Caesar respectively—Corneal left the football body on 31 July 2019, after his contract was not renewed by then football president David John-Williams.

The top Women Soca Warriors coaching post was vacant, as the William Wallace-led administration sacked De Four on 14 December 2019 but had not named his replacement, with American Randy Waldrum believed to be their first choice.

At present, the TTFA is splintered due to a Fifa decision on 17 March 2020 to implement a normalisation committee in the twin island republic. It means that although Wallace remains the elected leader of the local football body, Fifa is recognising Robert Hadad as its man of business here.

Neither Wallace nor Hadad claim to know anything about the recent ‘appointments’, which showed up this weekend on the Fifa website.

“That is news to me—I haven’t seen that,” Hadad told Wired868. “Everyone was told that everything must remain as it is until we hear from Fifa. So we are moving in a holding pattern.”

Photo: The FIFA’s website page for the TTFA as of 5 April 2020.

Hadad said he will field a call from Fifa tomorrow, although he is not sure who he will speak to, since the governing body apparently assigned a few persons to ‘guide’ its normalisation committee on different things. He will ask for clarification on the inclusions of Corneal, De Four and Caesar.

The Hadco co-CEO and Queen’s Park Cricket Club (QPCC) member said he is anxious to meet the TTFA staff as soon as the government advises that it is safe for ‘non-essential’ companies to reopen, which could be as early as 16 April.

He hopes to access subvention money from Fifa, which was withheld from Wallace, to pay outstanding salaries to employees and technical staff members.

“For now, I am just looking at numbers and figures and the size of the debt, and trying to work out a strategy in terms of how we approach it,” said Hadad. “But I really want to meet the staff before I say more to the media.”

Corneal, for his part, said he was just as surprised and confused as everyone else.

“I know nothing about that [re-appointment] so I think it is false news,” he said. “Nothing was said to me.”

Photo: Former TTFA technical director Anton Corneal.
(Copyright Nicholas Bhajan/CA-Images/Wired868)

Wired868 confirmed that, generally, Fifa updates its member association information based on particulars sent directly by the general secretary or media officer of the respective football body, or through the latter’s website.

The TTFA’s website continues to list Wallace and his slate as its leaders with La Foucade and Terry Fenwick as technical director and Men’s National Senior Team head coach respectively.

Media manager Shaun Fuentes denied giving Fifa any ‘new’ information about the positions in question. General secretary Ramesh Ramdhan could not be reached by phone, although, based on Hadad’s position, it is unlikely that he would have done so.

Since Fifa lists Hadad as president and Judy Daniel—incorrectly added as ‘Daniel Judy’—as vice-president, it is certain that the Gianni Infantino-headed body has updated the TTFA’s page.

Time will tell whether the aforementioned additions of Corneal, De Four and Caesar were clerical errors or something more meaningful.

Fifa, in consultation with Concacaf, ‘reserves the right to revoke the mandate of any of the members of the TTFA normalisation committee and/or to appoint further members at any time’.

Photo: FIFA president Gianni Infantino (left) presents Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley with a personalised football jersey during the opening of the TTFA Home of Football in Couva on 18 November 2019.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTFA Media)

As such, Hadad and company can be ordered to follow the dictates of Fifa on most matters. But it is worth noting too that, according to the TTFA constitution, only the local football body’s board of directors can hire or fire employees.

Wallace and his vice-presidents, Clynt Taylor, Sharon Joseph-Warrick and Sam Phillip, have vowed to challenge Fifa’s decision to implement a normalisation committee in Trinidad and Tobago at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). They have until 8 April to do so.

Fifa did not respond to a request for clarification on its website entry, up until the time of publication.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief 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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