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‘Callous and exploitative!’ Coaches accuse Hadad of destroying local football, demand transparency

“[…] Not being paid according to agreement is unacceptable, but to add to that the dismissive nature with which the leadership of the TTFA has dealt with the crisis is callous and exploitative. This is the consensus of persons from every corner of the football fraternity.

“[…] Please be reminded, football belongs to the people of Trinidad and Tobago—not any one person or group of persons regardless of their position…”

Photo: Businessman Robert Hadad was appointed by Fifa on 27 March 2020 as head of Trinidad and Tobago’s normalisation committee.

The following press statement on the governance-style of Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad was submitted by Jefferson George, interim president of the National Football Coaches of Trinidad and Tobago (NFCTT) and ex-Boys National Under-15 Team goalkeeper coach:

As all sectors of our economy suffer from the effects of Covid-19, I am witnessing the destruction of the football industry by those who have the responsibility to manage it. (To avoid being ambiguous I am referring to the leadership of the TTFA.) 

From the infrastructure of clubs and leagues to what should be its most precious resources, the human capital. Players, technical staff and supporters all have been abandoned and left like sheep without a shepherd, in these most trying times.

The head of the normalisation committee, Mr Robert Hadad, pledged last December—after paying 50 percent of the amount owed to members of the national technical staff—that he will be open and available for discussions on moving football forward with all stakeholders. 

Photo: (From left to right) TTFA press officer Shaun Fuentes, head coach Terry Fenwick, normalisation committee chair Robert Hadad, team manager Adrian Romain, and assistant coach Derek King pose at the Piarco International Airport before the team’s departure for Santo Domingo on 18 March 2021.

Despite several efforts to get in touch, there has been no response from him up to this day. With mounting debts and no opportunity to ply their trade, members for the technical staff remain in the dark concerning the outstanding payments.

This same situation also applies to the staff of the Men’s National Senior Team, as they continue to work without payment since last year.

I also had an opportunity to speak to local players on the senior team who spoke of the challenges associated with training. While transportation is being provided by a third party from a particular location, there is no allowance given to the members of the squad.

With most of these players not having a contract  because there is no local league, they are using from their own limited resources to attend training and for equipment. 

Players have also had to consider the logical choice of going to make a ‘day work’ instead of attending training, because they have to feed their families.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Justin Sadoo (right) glides past the challenge of an Orange XI during a friendly match at the St James Police Barracks on 6 March 2021.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

As far as I am aware none of the staff of national teams have been paid this year, including the Futsal team which will be in competition in the upcoming weeks. That is contradictory to what Mr Hadad said in an interview recently when he stated that payment to all teams were up to date. 

Not being paid according to agreement is unacceptable, but to add to that the dismissive nature with which the leadership of the TTFA has dealt with the crisis is callous and exploitative. This is the consensus of persons from every corner of the football fraternity.

On behalf of the Coaches Association, I am expressing extreme dissatisfaction with the treatment of staff and players, and the lack  of transparency in the dealings of the TTFA. 

Please be reminded, football belongs to the people of Trinidad and Tobago—not any one person or group of persons regardless of their position.

Given that our expectations seem unrealistic to the TTFA, we will like to pose some pertinent questions:

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)
  1. Why are staff members not being paid although money has been received from Fifa?
  2. What priority does the normalisation committee/TTFA place on staff payment?
  3. Why are foreign coaches being hired while local coaches go unpaid?
  4. What is the Fifa funding being used for currently?
  5. Are there any plans to engage with local football stakeholders to map the way forward?

Editor’s Note: Click HERE to read the concerns about the leadership of the Fifa-appointed normalisation committee, raised today by Men’s National Senior Team players.

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