Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad admitted to fielding a presentation from Ireland-based company, Bad Wolf Sports, but denied agreeing to any partnership with the company on behalf of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).
The query was one of three questions raised by Eastern Football Association of Trinidad and Tobago (EFATT) president Kieron Edwards in a virtual meeting hosted by the normalisation committee this evening. Hadad did not give details on what the Bad Wolf Sports presentation entailed or who was involved.
Bad Wolf Sports lists former TTFA marketing manager Peter Miller as a director and former Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Terry Fenwick as ‘technical director’. Both are Englishmen.
The British company was thrust into the public spotlight by Trinidad Express journalist Denyse Renne over the weekend, after she unearthed a wired payment of 20,000 pounds (TT$188,000) from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) to the obscure company.
Several correspondence between Bad Wolf Sport and the TTPS involved Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith.
Curiously, Bad Wolf first asked Griffith to pay TT$800,000 for a TTPS-funded ‘scholarship programme’ for young athletes on 12 April 2020 although the company did not officially exist until 8 October 2020, when it was registered in Kildare, Ireland.
Griffith subsequently stopped the TTPS payment to the Ireland-based company on 1 June 2021, based on his self-declared ‘due diligence’—at least 14 months after Bad Wolf officially reached out to him.
At the time of the payment freeze, Fenwick was simultaneously Trinidad and Tobago head coach, Bad Wolf technical director and de facto head administrator for the TTPS Commissioner’s Cup, which he coordinated in 2019. And the busy coach-cum-businessman was in Nassau preparing the Soca Warriors for a crucial Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier against The Bahamas.
Three days after Griffith stopped the payment to Bad Wolf Sports, the English coach left the commissioner’s son, Gary Griffith III, out of his match day squad to face the Bahamas—in what was expected to be Trinidad and Tobago’s easiest game of the qualifying series.
Fenwick’s decision to omit Griffith III was followed by a breach of team discipline by the teenager and then a row between the player and assistant coach Kelvin Jack, along with an outburst by Griffith Senior on Facebook.
The Warriors went on to draw goalless with the Bahamas, which marked the end of their World Cup campaign. Jack and assistant coach Derek King were subsequently fired on 10 June while Fenwick was axed a day later.
The normalisation committee, which comprises Hadad, Judy Daniel, Nigel Romano and Nicholas Gomez, did not offer any details on Trinidad and Tobago’s quickest exit from a World Cup qualifying campaign in 29 years. However, Romano suggested that one consequence of the disastrous showing should be that future national coaches are paid ‘a very low base salary’ with bonuses for qualifying to tournaments.
Neither Romano nor his fellow committee members suggested what the salary or bonuses should be. And they did not reveal the sum offered to current interim head coach Angus Eve, who was hired to steer the Warriors through next month’s Concacaf Gold Cup competition.
The TTFA will pocket US$100,000 (TT$680,000) if Trinidad and Tobago get past Montserrat and either Cuba or French Guiana and into the Gold Cup group stage, while the local body is due another US$125,000 (TT$850,000) if the Warriors get to the knockout stage.
Thereafter, Concacaf pays US$1 mil to the Gold Cup champion, and US$500,000 (TT$3.4 mil), US$200,000 (TT$1.4 mil) and US$150,000 (TT$1 mil) to the second, third and fourth placed finishers respectively.
Edwards also asked Hadad and his fellow committee members Judy Daniel, Nigel Romano and Nicholas Gomez to provide a copy of the Ernst & Young financial report on the TTFA to members. The constitution mandates that local football members are to receive all relevant financial documents on an annual basis.
However, Hadad, according to two observers, refused to share the document on the grounds that it was paid for by Fifa. As such, he said the financial document is ‘confidential’ and he would not share it ‘for the moment’.
It made Edwards’ third question more poignant than ever.
“Is the constitution of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association suspended, or is it active?” Edwards asked.
Hadad, according to members present, said the TTFA’s constitution is indeed operational.
So why, asked Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association (TTFRA) president Osmond Downer, has Hadad and the normalisation committee not followed it, by recognising or appointing standing committees—not to mention holding general meetings and providing TTFA members with relevant financial documents?
Because, Hadad allegedly replied, Fifa said he did not have to, since those committees were set up by the previous administration.
Hadad, the co-CEO of Hadco Limited, has repeatedly declared that he is answerable only to Fifa. However, he is yet to show any correspondence from the governing body that supports his claim of being beyond the reach of the TTFA’s constitution—whether in part or in full.
Thus far, the laws that Hadad claim he is empowered by Fifa to break appear to be those that require either transparency from the normalisation committee or that it takes counsel from advisory bodies.
Ironically, the normalisation committee’s meeting with the TTFA membership tonight was also unconstitutional—a point raised by several stakeholders.
“I am a bit baffled by the approach used to conduct this gathering, the time frame set out for it and the invitation timeline,” AYSO president and former technical committee member Dale Toney wrote to Hadad, Mohammed and the rest of the membership. “I think it is high time we set a proper example for those coming after us to follow. For starters, it seems we ignore rules and guidelines which we all voted to uphold.
“Can we for once read and follow the institution’s constitution which guides us in the actions of those elected, appointed and delegated to serve?
“If in fact, it was an error on the appointees, a simple apology and correction should suffice going forward. I look forward to a reply either by email or at the gathering.”
Hadad, Daniel, Romano, Gomez, and interim TTFA general secretary Amiel Mohammed did not so much as formally acknowledge Toney’s email.
Hadad told the 50-odd members this evening that he knew their gathering was not constitutional. The normalisation committee has never held a general meeting, despite being installed since 27 March 2020.
In a subsequent release, Mohammed stated that ‘an annual general meeting will be scheduled during the fourth quarter of 2021’.
The TTFA Constitution says the body must hold its AGM by October. However Hadad did not offer a date for the normalisation committee’s general meeting. He also did not say whether the mandated deadline for such meetings was another of the rules that Fifa supposedly allows him to ignore.
“Key issues discussed [this evening] were, the composition of the $98.5m debt, poor governance practices and lack of financial controls observed with past administrations,” stated Mohammed’s release, on behalf of the normalisation committee. “The NC re-iterated (sic) the difficulties being experienced in navigating football operations and meeting financial commitments during this turbulent health pandemic.”
The Hadad-led committee referred to this evening’s gathering as a ‘state of play update’. But the update was very limited.
The normalisation committee did not tell the meeting, for instance, which creditors had been paid, to what tune, and where the funding came from. And when a member asked for more information on what Hadad and his colleagues accomplished in their debt reduction endeavours, the chairman replied only that they were ‘working strenuously’.
Hadad did say, according to two observers, that the efforts of the normalisation committee should mean that ‘when the new administration comes in, they will not have any debt hanging over their heads’.
He did not give further details.
Hadad also informed the meeting that the normalisation committee received all Fifa funding available to the local football body for 2020 and 2021, which would mean a Covid-19 relief grant of US$500,000 (TT$3.4 mil) plus three tranches of US$800,000 (TT$5.4 mil) divided into: administration and operations (US$500,000), national team travel (US$200,000) and equipment (US$100,000).
Hadad, Daniel, Romano and Gomez did not explain how they spent the estimated US$2.9 mil (TT$19.7 mil) the committee received from Fifa so far. They are due another tranche of US$800,000 next month.
Hadad is believed to earn US$6,500 (TT$44,000) per month from Fifa for his duties as chairman, while the other members are due US$4,000 (TT$27,000) each. The NC members confirmed being paid but have not revealed the figures.
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