Southern FA (SFA) president and former Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) Board member Richard Quan Chan has rebuked a Trinidad Guardian article which claimed that he wants Fifa to take action against former local football president William Wallace and vice-presidents Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Sam Phillip.
In fact, Quan Chan said he has not spoken to Guardian reporter Walter Alibey in months and is amazed to have been quoted by him.
“I have had no discussion with Alibey in the past eight months and I have no intention of leading any charge against anyone,” Quan Chan told Wired868. “With all of the things that were going on in local football since the 17th of March and I said nothing. Why when there is a level of calm now would I come out and say I want to target anyone?! That is madness!”
“The last time I spoke to Alibey was some months ago when he called to ask me about my thoughts on the football and he didn’t print anything from our discussion. I see he wrote that ‘Guardian Media was reliably informed’. Well, I don’t know where that ‘reliability’ came from!”
Wired868 asked Alibey, via a social media message, whether he interviewed Quan Chan for his story yesterday and if he had any response to the official’s denial. He had not responded up to the time of publication.
However, an audio of Alibey’s interview with Quan Chan has surfaced, and, although the date is uncertain, Quan Chan is heard mentioning something he was told by board member Brent Sancho in July.
The chat between the SFA president and the Guardian sport reporter happened much more recently than the former man acknowledged.
But did the Guardian accurately quote Quan Chan?
In the article, Alibey wrote that: ‘Quan Chan said that he will lead a charge for action to be taken against the members of the previous TTFA administration, which Fifa removed from office in March […] as well as anyone else who may be found culpable in the mismanagement of the embattled football association…’
The Guardian article also quoted Quan Chan as stating: “[Robert] Hadad is the person now responsible for paying bills, is he just going to accept that TT$700,000 as legal cost, or would he seek the support of people who were there before?
“How can one meet Hadad and have a discussion with him? Can we confirm how much of the $60 million is a legitimate cost? Once we find this out then we will know what actions to take against the administration.”
Quan Chan said the excerpt regarding the wisdom of speaking to Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad was familiar but denied giving them to Alibey.
“Yes I did say to Kieron Edwards recently that it would be nice if Mr Hadad would come and talk to the last board members, so he can have a feel for where we are and what happened,” said Quan Chan. “ I said I’m not sure if Hadad is aware of all the issues and questions regarding things like Sheldon Phillips’ contract, for instance, so it would be nice if he spoke to the last board to find out some of the things that happened. But that is it.
“[…] I see the article had me talking about $700,000 in legal costs. What do I know about the court action and the costs?!”
In fact, the audio shows that Alibey quoted Quan Chan verbatim, including about the legal costs.
However, the Guardian headline said ‘Quan Chan wants action against previous TTFA executive’ with Alibey claiming that Quan Chan ‘has his eyes set on former president William Wallace and his three vice presidents Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Joseph Sam Phillip, as well as anyone else who may be found culpable in the mismanagement of the embattled football association’.
What did Quan Chan really say?
Alibey (from audio recording): What I am asking you now as one of the leading decision makers in the sport […] how far do you intend to go with this? If it means lobbying your membership to say there were decisions made without our confirmation or consultation and therefore we need to take action. Do you intend to do that?
Quan Chan: I would need information… I don’t have the information. I’m dealing with hearsay and what the press say.
Alibey (later in the interview): What is the level of redress we can take against the last administration if they are found culpable?
Quan Chan: If they are found culpable? I don’t like to see that they hold board members culpable but that is one of the options they have. If the actions they took is straight TTFA then I would like legal advice on that. We should not jump as laymen and say we are going to sue and we are going to ask people to do things without firm legal advice.
Alibey did interview Quan Chan and quoted him accurately. But, based on the audio, the reporter created a headline and attributed sentiments to the official which he not only did not say—but he clearly disagreed with.
Editor’s Note: Wired868 updated story on the morning of 28 November 2020, after becoming privy to an undated audio recording of the interview between Walter Alibey and Richard Quan Chan.