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‘Nobody is being told anything!’ Hadad slammed for poor communication and constitutional violations

Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association (TTFRA) vice-president Osmond Downer has criticised Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad for either ignoring the local body’s constitution or totally misunderstanding his role within the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).

Hadad and his three-member committee, which includes Judy Daniel and Nigel Romano, replaced the TTFA Board on 27 March 2020 with a specific mandate to: run the TTFA’s daily affairs, establish a debt repayment plan, review and amend the constitution (where necessary), and conduct elections for a new board.

Photo: Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad.

However, whereas Fifa president Gianni Infantino sends press statements to inform stakeholders of his plans for the local body, Hadad has formally informed neither the TTFA’s member delegates nor the public of his operations.

Nine months since his appointment and nearly three months since for mer TTFA president William Wallace was removed by members, Hadad is yet to hold a general meeting or press conference to offer feedback or address concerns of the nation.

Downer, one of the framers of the TTFA Constitution, said former president David John-Williams was one of the worst communicators he ever saw in that role. Hadad, he suggested, was worse.

“The normalisation committee has not sought the opinion of anyone [and] consultation should be made with the membership,” Downer told Wired868. “In fact one of the biggest complaints against John-Williams was his lack of communication and failure to let the membership know what is going on. John-Williams had his faults there, but after nine months with this one (Hadad), communication is nil. Nil! There is nothing!

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

“The TTFA comprises the members, without the members there is no TTFA. So therefore the members have a right to know what is going on and to be kept up to date. But nobody is being told anything and that is not satisfactory.”

Does Hadad, the co-CEO of HadCo Limited, think he is more powerful than Infantino and can do whatever he feels like within football on the twin island republic?

Downer noted that even Infantino operates within a structure and has to answer for decisions made within Fifa.

“The very seven-man Bureau of the Fifa Council, with Infantino as its chairman, which made the decision to remove the TTFA executive—their every meeting has to be ratified by the Fifa Council made up of 30-something members,” said Downer. “And in some cases, like with the suspension of a member, their decisions have to be ratified by the congress, made up of all the membership.

“So why does the normalisation committee not seem to think it has to work within our structure?”

Photo: Normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad (background) talks to players before a Men’s National Senior Team training session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 20 November 2020.
(via TTFA Media)

Downer said one particularly important blindspot for the Hadad-led normalisation committee appears to be its lack of regard for standing committees. The TTFA has just over a dozen standing committees and most were activated under the former executive.

Downer said the Fifa Statutes and TTFA Constitution both state that its standing committees ‘shall advise and assist the executive’ and must exist.

Article 40.2 of the TTFA Constitution states: ‘[…] the members of the standing committees shall be designated for a term of office of four years.’

And article 8.2 of the Fifa Statutes, which deals with ‘normalisation’ states: ‘executive bodies of member associations may under exceptional circumstances be removed from office by the Council, in consultation with the relevant confederation, and replaced by a normalisation committee for a specific period of time.’

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino (centre) poses with Sport Minister Darryl Smith (second from left), National Security Minister Edmund Dillon (second from right) and Speaker of the House Esmond Forde (third from right) after an exhibition match at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 10 April 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

“The constitution of the TTFA still exists and it is mandatory, otherwise there would be no TTFA for the normalisation committee to run,” said Downer. “The normalisation committee must follow the rules of the TTFA because Fifa has not suspended the rules of the TTFA, nor has it suspended or removed the standing committees. Fifa has removed one body alone, the board of directors. 

“[…] The standing committees are entrenched in the constitution. Nobody can disband or remove a standing committee, unless it is done by a constitutional amendment. 

“Not even Infantino can remove the standing committees—that is why they are called ‘standing’, they stand there.”

Since each committee, barring the audit and compliance committee, must be led by a member of the board, Hadad is entitled to place a normalisation committee member at the helm of each one.

Instead, Hadad and his assistant Amiel Mohammed implied—in meetings with stakeholders and in press statements—that the normalisation committee would decide on the appointment of national coaches, which national teams would be re-instated, and what the various standing committees would look like in the future.

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.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

The TTFA’s standing committees are: finance, audit and compliance, organising for TTFA competitions, technical and development, referees, legal, women’s football, youth football and development, sports medicine, players’ status, and marketing.

During the John-Williams-led administration, the number of active standing committees dropped to just one: the referees committee. Coincidentally, the TTFA plunged from 49th in the Fifa rankings to 104th during his four year term.

Downer tried to explain what the TTFA missed out on under John-Williams—a mistake that may now be repeated.

“No executive has all the in-house expertise necessary to run football,” said Downer, “because most of the members of the boards are administrators. They are not football experts or technical people, they are not doctors or lawyers, and that is why you would have expertise on your committees to advise the executive.

“Not even the Fifa executive, which has 38 members, has all the necessary expertise—and Fifa has standing committees from A to Z. The executive has to function using the advice of their standing committees. 

Photo: A female Trinidad and Tobago fan (centre) phones it in during a lull in action at the 2018 World Cup qualifier between Trinidad and Tobago and the United States on 17 November 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“Take the selection of coaches and other technical staff for national teams. The board ultimately selects these people, but they do it on the advice of the people on the technical committee.”

The TTFA Board comprises of 15 people, all of whom are actively involved in local football at some level. The normalisation committee has just three persons—none of whom have any standing in the local game.

It is remarkable then that Hadad, Daniel and Romano apparently chose to operate without a single standing committee for close to a year already.

“They should rely on committees even more than a normal TTFA board, because there is nobody on the normalisation committee with any real football experience,” said Downer. “For instance, a member of the last board, [Keith] Look Loy, was very knowledgable on technical matters as a former player and a coach, and a technical advisory member for Concacaf. So the board could have depended on him for some guidance.

Photo: FC Santa Rosa president and technical director Keith Look Loy (far right) looks on during Ascension Invitational action against Guaya Utd at the Arima Velodrome on 23 August 2019.
Look Loy resigned as TTSL president, TTFA technical committee chairman and board member on 16 October 2020.
(Copyright Nicholas Bhajan/CA-Images/Wired868)

“But even then, the board still had to seek advice from the technical committee on technical matters. No board, not even the Fifa board, can exist without the standing committees.

“[…] Basically, if the board is the driver steering the association, and the players are the wheel on which the machine runs, then the standing committees would be the engine.”

Downer expressed concerns about reports that Hadad was pushing ahead with a new football league involving Pro League and Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) clubs, without consultation with the competitions committee.

The competitions committee comprises the general secretary of each zone as well as from the Women’s League of Football (WoLF).

“If the TTFA Board was still in existence and it wanted to start a competition,” he said, “it would put it in the hands of the competition committee, who would then put their plans to the board for ratification.” 

Photo: Defence Force attacker Reon Moore (left) dribbles past AC PoS defender Jokiah Leacock during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 14 February 2020.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

The normalisation committee can enter into financial arrangements on behalf of the TTFA, just as the board could. However, this must be relayed to the membership.

Downer said there is particular interest in the TTFA’s debt repayment plan and members are anxious to hear from the normalisation committee on this, and to ask them questions.

“Any use of money must be decided by the board or, in this case, the normalisation committee,” said Downer, “but then at the very next general meeting, the general membership has to be informed—because that money belongs to the TTFA, which comprises the membership. If they spend it badly, they can be brought to account. 

“[…] It is not the funds of the president, or the board. It is the funds of the members.”

Downer believes an emergency general meeting is long overdue, as football stakeholders hope to recover from a traumatic 2020 due to normalisation and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Photo: Soca Warriors head coach Terry Fenwick (left) has a word with assistants Keon Trim (centre) and Adrian Romain during a training session at the St James Police Barracks on 13 November 2020.
Neither Trim nor Romain were appointed by the TTFA Board.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

“People want to know what’s going on,” he said. “How many people know the details about this upcoming competition? What are the plans? What is going on with the debt repayment plans? 

“What are the plans for the amendments of the constitution that Fifa so desires?”

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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14 comments

  1. Hadad is a circus character… Just like the minister of sport. These dumb as nails administrators can’t even understand how they are being used by DJW to further an agenda of corruption.
    But, as evidenced by some of the comments here, we have a serious problem in this country with reading and understanding. Even the PM and the CJ displayed thei national penchant for superficial analysis… Or is that a Tobago thing… That would be true in this case only if hadad was Tobagonian as well…
    It is only now I’m concerned for our young footballers,.
    Now it is clear as day that ALL of the leadership in football from political to administrative, don’t give a flying obscenity about the sport of football.. I was disgusted by the behaviour of the minister of sport, the PM, the CJ and I 95 especially in not admonishing DJW for what he did to local football. I have noted a few articles well from Mr Liburd on the shameful performance of this normalisation Committee and this dumb as nails hadad man, and I wondering where is all the public outcry.?? I guess when Andre Erroll Baptiste, Roxanne Gialdo and Tony Lee made up a narrative that we should be concerned about “being banned by fifa,” as opposed to the narrative of “what the hell was DJW doing whilst he was in office” , they pulled the ultimate con job on the public, and the “not to bright” club owners and coaches. So now we have a football association in shambles, run by a dictatorship,, headed by a man with an obvious cognitive ability problem. And we have a membership that is unable to rein in the NC because they allowed 3 officials with an inadequate grasp of the issue at hand take the wrong decision on their behalf, simply because they let corrupt persons influence their thinking. Thanks i95! Thanks for a big fat nothing!
    Keep up the jamming Mr Liburd… Maybe when drop to 200 and somethingth then the minister of sport and her boss would wake up and take corrective action.. And no Mr Best, I’m not going to hold my breath.. Lol

  2. Mr. Downer seems to be a good man with great knowledge of the TTFA Constitution but he has a short memory when it comes to the Fifa Normalisation Committee’s consultations.

    Not too long ago the membership were consulted. The membership, in a general meeting attended by Mr. Downer, accepted Fifa’s absolute right to install a normalization committee within Fifa’s statutes. The Committee’s mandate was stated by Fifa at the outset and the members accepted that mandate through a grovelling hand-written letter of apology to Fifa.

    They must have recognized that in applying the corrective measures needed by the TTFA, the Normalisation Committee has a right to run the day to day operations as it sees fit and make the necessary changes to the Constitution provided that it brings them to the TTFA Congress for ratification at an appropriate time in the future.

    The stakeholders have made their bed and just have to sleep in it until Fifa decides that the normalisation is complete.

    It seems that some justice was achieved after all, even if it is only poetic.

    Rest well William Wallace.

    Peace

    • You not serious right? You read the article?
      After reading, this is what you come up with?
      No wonder this country cave in on Wallace… Its simply dotish we dealing with….

      • We are not at odds Tall one…read carefully, and the Nation hasn’t caved on Wallace, the membership did that in a General Meeting. They, quite disgustingly, crawled on their bellies to Hadad/Fifa, so it is no surprise to some of us that he sh@ts on them now. Poetic Justice.

        But no winter lasts forever and Point 4 of the Normalization Committee’s mandate clearly states that it must organise and conduct ELECTIONS of a new TTFA Executive Committee for a four-year mandate.

        That is where you and others must find hope and inspiration to work for Trinidad & Tobago’s football future as a patriot. You know the day of that election comes because Fifa told you so.

        William Wallace’s sacrifices would have been in vain if faithful patriots on the ground just sit around and allow the ‘faithless’ to make up the electorate at that inevitable general meeting when the ‘Normalization Committee’ expires.

        Wallace et al in the meantime, have earned the right to sound sleep for many nights to come

        Read carefully 🙂

        • @N. Joseph… In this article Mr Liburd is referring to constitutional expert Downer to point out that the nc cannot do as they please…. And the underlying reason for that is the constitution! Not what you are on about, and definitely not because of some deliberate action on the part of the weak – belly members. Go back and take your own advice. The standing committees stand, and were already established… And please once i95 carried out their assault on the truth, they turned the nation against Wallace… Because you don’t get a doctorate and get called Honorable by using your head to only wear hat…. And we all know what would have happened if what was done to Wallace by fifa, was done to that doctor from maisonn Hall… It would have been fire and brimstone. They turned the pulsing against Wallace… Because they know how easy it is to shift the goalpost on allyuh

  3. One percenter getting more support for doing less than the other guy. All of a sudden people want to know if criticism is justified.

    • Big Blood, it is evident you have missed my point. Perhaps it is my fault and I should have only indicated that the other side of the story has to be heard.

      My question was meant to infer that we do not have the whole story so how can we know if indeed the criticism is justified. I am by no means implying that the criticism is not justified. We only have 1 side of the story.

      It is unfortunate that the aspect of “one percenter” is injected, as immediately, objectivity is lost as a consequence of an inherent bias. *sigh*

  4. Is this scathing criticism justified? Is it premature?

    Looking forward to the story from the other side to be better informed.

    • Lasana Liburd

      We all want to hear the ‘other side’. That’s the point. Join the line.
      Premature you say? Ironic. The normalisation committee has been in charge for three times as long as the last executive, which got the boot for supposedly not doing enough in the time it was given.

      • I didn’t say. I asked.

        In the absence of the story from the other side, I am unable to arrive at an informed opinion. I can speculate for sure.

        • Lasana Liburd

          The other side is always sought thought. Hadad is clearly very selective about who he engages in. You should also ask whether that is fitting of someone in any position that reads: ‘Trinidad and Tobago’.

      • And that is such a valid point eh… The time line given… It is soo obvious what happened to the United TTFA that it sickens the stomach to contemplate the actions of the minister of sport, the PM, the CJ and i95fm and worst of them all the treason committed by DJW… Absolutely disgusting behaviour by all mentioned… Disgusting!!!!

  5. Earl Best

    Is a non-communicator a poor communicator? If I don’t try to tell you anything because I don’t think you are important enough to warrant my talking to you, that that mean that I am not a good communicator?

    So I disagree with your opinion, Ossie. I think Hadad has made his message quite clear: FAAA!