“[…] William Wallace has sought to clarify that he felt he was acting in the best interest of TTFA. However […] principle, if nothing else, dictates that you cannot campaign on something and then, upon being elected, do the exact thing that was being done by your predecessor.
“No declaration of intent can erase that fact…”
In the following Letter to the Editor, Louis Carrington offers questions to Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president William Wallace and shares his wish for the normalisation committee, football delegates and the future of the local body:
‘Organisations take on the characteristics of the head’ is an all too familiar statement that we should have heard at some point in our lives. The current impasse between Fifa and the TTFA has brought a sharp focus on the policies of Fifa and the professional conduct of both David John-Williams and William Wallace.
Close examination of Fifa’s policies indicate that while they preach certain things they appear to only practice them conveniently. The recent investigative report by Mark Bassant, if proven correct, places Fifa in a position with egg smeared all over its face.
This is because they have stated that audits of the TTFA’s use of funding received from Fifa were conducted annually; yet they did not discover any wrong doing on the part of the former president, David John-Williams. Let me hasten to remind all that the contents of the investigative report still have to be proven correct.
If proven correct, it would be difficult for Fifa to not be complicit in its role in facilitating the misuse of their funds.
Enter David John-Williams. How could it be acceptable, if proven correct, that as president of the TTFA and a businessman he would not be aware of his responsibilities as it relates to the Board of Directors of the TTFA?
Corporate governance reminds us of these duties and responsibilities, which include the following:
- To act within your powers: the powers conferred are to enable management of the entity in accordance, in this case, with the constitution of TTFA not the satisfaction of personal interest. Allegations have been made previously about the use of the emergency committee to circumvent the Board of Directors.
- To promote success: In promoting success of the TTFA, how does Mr Williams explain the inability of national teams to participate in tournaments due to insufficient funds, despite the apparent diverting of funds intended for that purpose to a private account. Again this is making the assumption that the investigative report is correct.
- To avoid conflicts of Interest: the Home of Football project is a controversial issue for many reasons and the apparent role of the former president in the acquisition of material and equipment for the construction of the HOF, according to the investigative report, suggests that he would have failed in avoiding such a conflict of interest.
These three duties would leave Mr John-Williams with plenty questions to answer once the allegations contained in the investigative report prove to be correct.
Let’s move closer to the present day. The specifics of the controversy in the building of the HOF were not know to the public; however, we were well aware that there were concerns, since at least one board member continually complained of a lack of transparency and accountability and the perceived misuse of the emergency committee to circumvent the board.
It was on that basis that the United TTFA contested and won the elections to lead the TTFA with the promise of transparency and accountability. Suffice it to say that prior to and thereafter, there are things that have occurred that appear questionable.
Examine the allegations that have been made and you will end at a point of more questions than answers.
The first allegation that must be examined is the suggestion that the intention of Fifa to implement a normalisation committee. Allegation are that a member of the John-Williams slate, prior to the election, mentioned a normalisation committee.
Incidentally, this individual represents an organisation that the writer is not convinced, from observation, is functional. Whenever, this organisation is mentioned only one name is associated with it.
Is it that Fifa intended to implement a normalisation committee regardless of the outcome of the election in November? If the answer is yes, on what basis was it going to be done and why not earlier?
The timing and the presence of the Fifa president at the opening of the HOF, days before the TTFA elections, suggest that not only was this to be used as a drawing card for DJW to be re-elected, but also an opportunity for Infantino to endorse DJW.
In light of the revelations in the investigative report, to do that was to endorse wrong-doing that Fifa ought to have been aware of—if they were acting with due care and diligence.
Elections complete, DJW is replaced and United TTFA is now in control, with the same responsibility to adhere to the duties that were applicable to DJW. William Wallace has sought to clarify that he felt he was acting in the best interest of TTFA.
However, there are questions that he must address more specifically. Principle, if nothing else, dictates that you cannot campaign on something and then, upon being elected, do the exact thing that was being done by your predecessor.
No declaration of intent can erase that fact.
Mr Wallace, while you are asking to be judged on your intent, it is difficult for anyone to show you that level of compassion in the face of the glaring evidence. Your actions for the short period that you were actually at the helm without Fifa’s intervention suggest that you had already begun to mirror your predecessor in lacking transparency and accountability.
All the contracts that were not approved by the board inclusive of those that were approved by the board and unilaterally changed by you, negates any request by you to ask forgiveness from the football loving public of Trinidad and Tobago.
While I understand your stance towards Fifa and, in principle, I support your position, I have no choice but to say that I cannot support you as president of TTFA—given the revelations of your short tenure.
You ought to tell us why you, as the employer, allowed the employee to dictate the terms and conditions of his employment. In this instance, I refer to Mr Terry Fenwick’s contract.
What is the importance of Mr Fenwick to your Presidency that an alternative national senior team coach could not be sought if agreement could not be reached on terms and conditions of employment?
Why would you align yourself with Mr Peter Miller, who has a very well documented checkered history and involvement in football both locally and in Europe?
His promise of sponsorship is not sufficient. Remember a promise is a comfort to a fool.
In closing, it is my view that there is no big sin and no small sin. On the evidence, neither David John Williams nor William Wallace—on the face of it, once the allegations are proven correct—can be seen as fit to lead Trinidad and Tobago Football into the future.
The organisational culture in Fifa and TTFA is so tainted that to rekindle confidence requires a fresh start. Fifa may be well advised to withdraw the normalisation committee, allow United TTFA as the duly elected executive to lead the TTFA.
To the delegates of the TTFA, correct the issue of the the change of delegates that were not properly communicated to the TTFA and petition the EGM through the correct channel.
Once this is done, both David John Williams and William Wallace may be well advised to remain far away from the election process.
Allow a fresh start without any perception of tainted individuals. Any persons offering themselves for service must do better.