Home / Volley / Global Football / Dear editor: Why did satisfying Fenwick and Miller matter so much to you, Mr Wallace?

Dear editor: Why did satisfying Fenwick and Miller matter so much to you, Mr Wallace?

“[…] 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:

Photo: TTFA president William Wallace.
(Courtesy TTFA Media/Allan V Crane)

‘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?

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino (centre) and former TTFA president David John-Williams (left) turn the sod at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva while then Sport Minister Darryl Smith pretends to help on 10 April 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Corporate governance reminds us of these duties and responsibilities, which include the following:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Photo: (From right) TTFA president David John-Williams, Sport Minister Shamfa Cudjoe and FIFA official Veron Mosengo-Omba inspect the TTFA’s Home of Football in Couva on 20 August 2018.
(Courtesy MSYA)

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.

Photo: (From left to right) Football administrators Anthony Moore, Selby Browne and Collin Partap sit at the head table during the launch of the TTFA League of Champions in November 2019.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/TTFA Media)

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.

Photo: TTFA general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan (left) makes a presentation to Men’s National Senior Team head coach Terry Fenwick during his unveiling at the National Cycling Centre, Couva on 6 January 2020.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/TTFA Media)

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.

Photo: TTFA general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan (centre) accompanies president William Wallace (far right), office staff Sharon O’Brien (far left) and technical director Dion La Foucade (second from left) during a Women’s National U-20 Team practice session at the Ato Boldon Stadium training field in Couva on 7 February 2020.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

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.

Photo: Then SSFL president William Wallace (centre) prepares to hand over the 2019 Premier Division trophy to Naparima College at CIC grounds on 4 November 2019.
Wallace was elected TTFA president on 24 November 2019.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

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.

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10 comments

  1. So are we as a society doom to Cynicism because our Culture dictate such. Unlike Diogenes my experience with our culture favor the Optimist.

    Diogenes was not going to find a ‘Good’ person for he had already convinced himself that no such thing exist..except for maybe himself.

    We have plenty of ‘ Good’ people in T&T who fit the requirements that we are looking for, we simply have to start our search outside of the Gentlemen Club.

    So if we starting from Cedros you can find them by the time you reach Point, if you starting from Toco you can find them by the time you reach Matelot.

    We just have not pick up the Lantern and search.

    We can get the Betterment we seek in all our sports with optimism and determination.

    For a starting point we will fix our Football.

    No more Jack, John or Wally…..

  2. To expand on ‘ Good’ people

    Let’s just start by saying it’s not another Jack, John or Wally…

    How about some people that are not self-centered and willing to put the needs of the people before there own.

    It’s my belief that the majority of Trini people know what honest mean to them.

    *** Going to the market place with $500 in your pocket and coming back home with $100 worth of goods in your basket and saying all the money spend on goods is not honest.

    *** Going into Granny purse and taking her money to give your friends and partners without her permission, with plans to tell her about it after the fact is not honest.

    Here are few characteristics of the ‘Good’ people we looking for high integrity, intelligent, honest, competent and value fairness….I trust my football family can surely finish the list.

    Here are a few things that these ‘Good’ people we looking for can do for us..

    1. Respect and adhere to good governance of our football. (Abide by our Constitution)

    2. Ensure proper administration and management of all our football business…(Grassroots, Youth leagues, School, Pro, National etc )

    3. Spend all not part of our monies on football business be fiscally prudence with it.

    4. Develop our football from the ground to top.(Manage from bottom up not top down) To be clear some of same issues plaguing our football in TTFA are occurring in the lower leagues, competitions and local football organizations….Follow de leader leader leader…

    5. Adequately invest in developing our football for all age groups and genders.

    6. Deliver results by knowing and doing what’s needed to get our national teams and players positive outcomes doing things the right way.

    7. Embrace and practice Teamwork, Collaboration and Diplomacy it’s not a one man show.

    The notion that ‘Good’ people can’t run TTFA and successfully work with FIFA is a myth or real?

    At this point we are ready to take the risk that it’s a myth….can we please get a few good people to run TTFA so we can put this myth to a rest.

    We just want Betterment!

    • Earl Best

      I see you did not google Diogenes and so you missed my essential point.

      It’s not that we don’t WANT good people to run not just football but all sports. The Diogenes problem is that even if you walk from Cedros to Toco with a heavy-duty searchlight, there is no guarantee that you will FIND any.

      You sort of concede that with your point about what happens “in the lower leagues, competitions and local football organizations.”

      Culture, my brother, is quicksand. We can want to be good, we want betterment but do we know how to be good…and efficient at the same time?
      That, I think, is the question.

  3. “ Once this is done, both David John/Williams and William Wallaces may be well advised to remain far away from the election process”

    We had enough of this!!!

    Can we get a few good people in charge.

    Top two requirements:

    1) No members of the Gentlemen Club
    2) Honest people

    We Just want Betterment….

    • Earl Best

      You have to define “good.” Wallace is a good (= honest) man but look where his goodness has got us.

      According to Angus Eve, jack Warner, who straight like Lady Young Road, was good for T&T football.

      And Infantino came all the way from Europe to tell us that DJW is good for Trinbago football.

      So we are going to need you to say what you mean by “a few good men” before we decide whether we can find any of that species in T&T. As I advised somebody else earlier today, google Diogenes and come back and tell us all if the story is relevant.

  4. Earl Best

    Wired868, this headline is certainly eye-catching, attractive, arresting even.

    I am well aware that there is no requirement so to be but still I ask this: on the basis of the entirety of the story, is it FAIR? Is Wallace the one who should be the focus of an ARRESTING headline?

    • Lasana Liburd

      Ever so ofter, a columnist sends in an piece that deals with three or four topics or subjects. You can’t put them all into the headline. So which do you choose?
      For me, it is the most topical one, once it is relevant to the column. I think it was.

      • Earl Best

        It most certainly is topical. The most topical? You got me there.

        How about something from here: “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.”

        Or from here: “Once this is done, both David John-Williams and William Wallace may be well advised to remain far away from the election process.”

        But Wired868 is clearly a closet DJW supporter so ride Wallace all the time.

        He back broad

  5. Earl Best

    It’s hard not to agree with a lot of what is said herein. But I ran into trouble with your conclusion.

    A rapid look through the pages of our sporting history would turn up quite a few names of administrators who were–and are–in it for what they can get out of it. No names. You know and I know who and what I am talking about.

    So it is probably not a good idea to set the bar as low as you did at the end. Still, I fear that, today in the 21st century, even armed with a high-powered searchlight, you may well have the Diogenes experience. Google it.