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Wallace accuses Fifa of using coaches as pawns, Fifa allegedly paid TT$492k to NC

Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad is still mum on the salary that he and his fellow members collect monthly from the world governing body, even as coaches and players remain unpaid.

Hadad admitted in a recent SportsMax interview that he and his colleagues are paid by Fifa but did not reveal his remuneration package. However, media reports in Pakistan and Ghana suggest that the going rate for the job is US$6,500 (TT$44,000) per month for the normalisation committee chairman and US$4,000 (TT$27,000) for members.

Photo: Robert Hadad is co-CEO of Hadco and board member at the International School in POS.
Hadad was appointed head of Fifa’s normalisation committee in Trinidad and Tobago on 27 March 2020.
(Copyright Gary Jordan Photography ©2017)

Fifa appointed Hadad, vice-chair Judy Daniel and Nigel Romano on 27 April. At the aforementioned figure, Hadad, the co-CEO of family-owned business HadCo Limited, would have received US$32,500 (TT$220,501) from Zurich by now, while Daniel and Romano may have pocketed US$20,000 (TT$135,700) each.

It is unclear whether that money, which amounts to just over TT$492,000 so far, is deducted from Fifa’s annual remittance to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA)—as suggested in the Ghanian press. Hadad did not respond to Wired868’s questions on the subject.

Fifa’s mandate to its normalisation committee in Trinidad and Tobago included:

  • to run the TTFA’s daily affairs;
  • to establish a debt repayment plan that is implementable by the TTFA;
  • to review and amend the TTFA Statutes (and other regulations where necessary) and to ensure their compliance with the FIFA Statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress;
  • to organise and to conduct elections of a new TTFA Executive Committee for a four-year mandate.
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Khaleem Hyland (second from right) leads his team out to face Honduras for Concacaf Nations League action in Port of Spain on 10 October 2019.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

In theory, the normalisation committee can remain in place until March 2022 and, ironically, they are replacing unpaid board members. The TTFA president is the only elected member who is compensated by Fifa, although it is estimated to be just US$2,000 (TT$13,600) per month.

The technical staff members of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) have not been nearly as fortunate as the normalisation committee members.

Today, besieged TTFA president William Wallace accused the normalisation committee of trying to exploit its football coaches for political mileage, in a bid to increase pressure on the elected officials. And, in an emailed statement, he begged the coaches steering committee for their ‘indulgence over the next two weeks’, while they await remuneration.

The coaches steering committee comprises of Wayne Sheppard, Clayton Morris, Richard Hood, Angus Eve and Jefferson George.

On Monday, the coaches steering committee wrote to Wallace—on behalf of the technical staff members of the national teams—to relay word from the normalisation committee that Fifa is unwilling to pay them ‘because of the reinstated court action by the United TTFA [slate]’.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National U-20 coach Richard Hood makes a pass during training at UWI, St Augustine on 6 February 2020.
Hood led the U-20s to the Concacaf quarterfinals in February but is yet to be paid.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

At present, Wallace and vice-presidents Clynt Taylor and Sam Phillip are contesting the Bureau of the Fifa Council’s decision to replace them with a normalisation committee on 13 April. The elected officers expect a verdict from High Court Judge Carol Gobin on 9 October.

If the High Court rules that Wallace remains the rightful head of local football, the president promised to call an extraordinary general meeting within 10 days to take counsel from member delegates on his next move—although Fifa president Gianni Infantino, via secretary general Fatma Samoura, has said repeatedly there would be no reconciliation with the estranged administrator.

Wallace said he ‘empathises’ with the coaches but noted that Fifa said it will only release funding to its normalisation committee. He insisted that the United TTFA slate has ‘done nothing to impede the NC (normalisation committee) in those functions that contributed to the welfare of staff’.

“It is passing strange that the NC got money to pay office staff, promised coaches payment, all this while our matter is before the court,” stated the TTFA president, “and suddenly, with no change in the status quo, is now using the court matter as an excuse to justify reneging on the commitment made to coaches.”

Photo: TTFA technical director Dion La Foucade.

In fact, the normalisation committee has paid technical staff members too; but only selectively.

On 27 April, Hadad promised Soca Warriors coaches to initiate steps towards their remuneration in a virtual meeting. However, in July, the coaches discovered—through the media—that the normalisation committee secretly put through payments to technical director Dion La Foucade and director of football Richard Piper, along with office staff, without getting back to them.

After public protests by technical staff members in August, the normalisation committee granted meetings to the various head coaches to discuss their grievance.

On 10 September, the coaches steering committee informed the public that there had been a breakthrough.

“[…] The commitment was given by the normalisation committee to return to our group with a final proposal for settlement in a couple days,” stated the coaches. “[…] We believe there is good reason to be optimistic of this process being completed within the time frame suggested by the normalisation committee.

“This optimism is borne out of the productive and transparent nature of the meetings between both parties thus far.”

Photo: TTFA normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad is also the co-CEO of family-owned business HadCo Limited.
(via Trinidad Guardian)

Three weeks later, though, there has been no change to the situation.

In the interim, on 24 September, the Bureau of the Fifa Council suspended the TTFA from international football—a move that saw the local body lose all its membership rights while Fifa warned members ‘not to enter into any sporting contact with the TTFA’.

Within hours of the suspension, Concacaf president Victor Montagliani, who serves on the Bureau alongside Infantino, informed the TTFA that they would remain in the 2021 Gold Cup draw, on the understanding that the twin island republic bends to the world governing body by 18 December.

Fifa has not disbanded its normalisation committee in Trinidad and Tobago either.

Wallace suggested that Fifa and its normalisation committee are playing games, and using the coaches as pawns.

“We are fully cognisant that the reason for this recent position by the NC is to continue their public pressure on us to withdraw the matter from the court,” stated Wallace. “This new strategy is to add the voice of the coaches to those voices out there that are singing for their supper, which amounts to the crumbs that fall from the table of ‘massa’.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national football team coaches were temporarily barred from entering the Ato Boldon Stadium to deliver appointment letters for normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad on 25 August 2020.
(Copyright Ghansham Mohammed/GhanShyam Photography/Wired868)

“We are asking the coaches to allow us the opportunity to right a wrong and to put football back into the hands of the membership where it belongs. We beg your indulgence over the next two weeks and whatever the outcome, what is due to you will be honoured.”

Wallace did not state how he intends to ‘honour’ the coaches’ contracts, since the TTFA is functionally bankrupt and Fifa made it clear that not a cent of its allocation money would be put within his reach.

However, the TTFA president is expected to either resign or face a move for his ouster, after the High Court ruling in two weeks’ time.

(Coaches Steering Committee letter on 28 September)

Good day sir,

The Trinidad and Tobago technical staff members have been locked in negotiations with the Fifa-appointed normalisation committee for the better part of the last month. At present, we believe that we have an understanding and agreement (between both parties) of the payment amounts due to us and mechanism by which we will be paid.

In previous newspaper articles and interviews, you and other members of the United TTFA have indicated that you were not opposed to the office staff and coaches being paid by Fifa or Concacaf and would not interfere or act in any manner to negatively affect the payment of staff.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National U-17 head coach Angus Eve gesticulates outside the Ato Boldon Stadium on 25 August 2020.
(Copyright Ghansham Mohammed/GhanShyam Photography/Wired868)

On Saturday 26th September, however, we were informed by the Normalisation Committee that FIFA is unwilling to make these payments because of the reinstated court action by the United TTFA.

We, the national staff members, would appreciate hearing from you how you can assist us with regard to our remuneration in the existing circumstances.

(TTFA president William Wallace response on 30 September)

Dear Members of the Coaches Steering Committee,

On behalf of the executive FIFA has deposed within FIFA, and by extension members of the UTTFA, we fully understand your plight and more than that empathise with you, during a most difficult time in our football history.

We have always indicated that we will do what has to be done to make sure that all staff both administrative and technical be paid for their services.  That was demonstrated back in February when FIFA refused to release funding to us, resulting in us borrowing money to ensure that the office staff was paid.

FIFA has clearly stated that the Normalisation Committee (NC) is in charge of football and while our challenge to FIFA’s position is in the hands of the court, we have done nothing to impede the NC in those functions that contributed to the welfare of staff.

Photo: (From left to right) Then Soca Warriors technical staff members William Wallace, Hutson Charles, Derek King and Michael Maurice exchange ideas before kick off against Nicaragua on 13 October 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

It is passing strange that the NC got money to pay office staff, promised coaches payment, all this while our matter is before the court and suddenly with no change in the status quo, is now using the court matter as an excuse to justify reneging on the commitment made to coaches.

We are fully cognisant that the reason for this recent position by the NC is to continue their public pressure on us to withdraw the matter from the court. This new strategy is to add the voice of the coaches to those voices out there that are singing for their supper, which amounts to the crumbs that fall from the table of ‘massa’.

We are asking the coaches to allow us the opportunity to right a wrong and to put football back into the hands of the membership where it belongs. We beg your indulgence over the next two weeks and whatever the outcome, what is due to you will be honoured.

Regards,

William Wallace

TTFA President (Elect)

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and 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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5 comments

  1. Paging the minister of sport…. Anybody see her????
    I suppose in her twisted mind Wallace made the coaches meet with the NC, and it was really Wallace with a hadad mask on, that met with the coaches and promised them their pay.
    You see, this is the dotishness that Fifa, the NC, and the minister stand for….. When you idiots issued your treasured ban for filling a withdrawal 2 minutes late, you didn’t think about that’s things did you? Nooooo, because all of you are on the proverbial waste matter!
    Minister of sport, you supported fifa banning your own country, you called persons that served this country longer, and more faithful than you jokers and clowns.
    Solve this problem now nah….

    • Tall Dog, I must have missed it but I do not recall reading that the Minister of Sport “supported FIFA banning your own country”.

      Help me by posting a link in relation to the Minister’s alleged support for a FIFA ban.

      Much thanks in advance.

      • Tall me when she spoke out against fifa ‘s plethora of actions that led up to us being banned?
        When they threatened to ban?
        Or when they refused on 9 occasions to meet with united TTFA to discuss the issues?
        Or when fifa made it impossible for the matter to be brought before CAS by not agreeing to a reasonable share of the cost of the matter?
        How about when fifa banned us because United TTFA withdrew the matter a whole 2 minutes late?
        You could link those questions to her unsettling and unsupportive comments to Wallace, and the multitude of pictures amply supplied by wired 868, and you would get all the links you looking for… Capiche?

  2. What if United TTFA wins a ‘permanent’ injunction against the FIFA in the courts? Then it may mean that TTFA would be unable to have a statute that qualifies for full membership in the FIFA. Which may mean that an alternate Association may have to be created to represent Trinidad and Tobago on the international level provided that the laws of T&T does not prohibit such a creation. There is a very serious possibility that this entire scenario may be far from over in two weeks as proclaimed by United TTFA. This battle is far greater than United TTFA vs FIFA it is challenging the current structure of world sports in regards to CAS. The existence of CAS is considered sacred by some. The United TTFA should not expect the FIFA to make their task easier, they are at war. The United TTFA themselves are constantly chastising the FIFA. So they need not to complain. Now is the time to make sure that they are not cutting their noses to spite their faces and work on a solution that would leave each party with some kind of respect.

    • Mr. Peters, let’s hope there is light at the end of the tunnel after the TTFA wins their case against FIFA. That “alternate Association” you are referring to is called CONIFA. The CONIFA organization, even though much smaller than FIFA, accepts nations that are not in FIFA.