Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad successfully navigated today’s online extraordinary general meeting of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), as the local football body’s 2019 financial statement was passed by 27 votes to four
Former TTFA president David John-Williams appeared to be dissatisfied with the auditor’s report at the general meeting on 26 September and there were hints by his loyalists—Veteran Footballers Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago (VFFOTT) president Selby Browne and AC Port of Spain director Michael Awai—that they would force Hadad’s hand by refusing to accept the financial statement.
A despatch from Fifa on Friday 8 October suggested that the governing body was sufficiently concerned by a threatened hold-up, as Christoph Suppiger, Fifa’s head of Financial Governance and Oversight Services, emailed Hadad and acting TTFA general secretary Amiel Mohammed with a gesture to its preferred weapon of choice in these parts: money.
“We took note that the general assembly of TTFA held on the 26th of September 2021 did not approve the audited financial statements,” stated Suppiger, “and that an extraordinary general assembly is scheduled to be held on the 10th of October.
“As part of the Fifa Forward Regulations, each member association has the obligation to submit to Fifa […] the latest annual financial statements and the corresponding audit report compiled by the statutory auditor, and the minutes of the general assembly of the member association, appointing the statutory auditor and approving the audited financial statements presented by the statutory auditor.
“Failure to submit the relevant documents will result in restriction of funding of the Trinidad & Tobago Football Association.
“In light of the above, we look forward to receiving the minutes of the extraordinary general assembly of the 10th of October 2021 approving the financial statements of 2019.”
It is uncertain whether the TTFA members were particularly sold on John-Williams’ concerns in the first place, so as to need coercing by Fifa. Regardless, the outcome was an easy win for the normalisation committee.
Hadad’s only concession, in the face of questions by John-Williams and Browne, was a verbal assurance that Fifa had no intention of liquidating the TTFA, which would be a decision to be taken by the general membership.
Hadad also reiterated that the normalisation committee would address an issue with the lease of the TTFA’s Home of Football.
“The NC reiterated that management decisions related to the 2019 audited financials were all guided by international financial reporting standards issued by the International Accounting Standards Board,” stated a subsequent TTFA release, “and adopted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Trinidad and Tobago.
“The NC also outlined that these standards were used to address the matter of the accounting of the grant of the 17.51 acres of leasehold land in Balmain, Couva which was valued at TT$42.5 million.
“[…] When the lease is perfected, the TTFA will determine the most appropriate accounting treatment, in accordance with good financial governance practices.”
Two years after the old coaches association was declared defunct by the general meeting, the normalisation committee also took the decision to expel it as a member.
After some exchanges about what was needed to bring the Unified Football Coaches of Trinidad and Tobago (UFCTT) into the fold, the members eventually decided to first ‘properly remove’ the non-existent coaches association before unanimously accepting the new coaching body, steered by interim president Jefferson George.
As a delegate, the UFCTT has one vote at the next TTFA presidential election, which is due no later than 27 March 2022.
“The TTFA looks forward to working with the UFCTT for the betterment of the coaching fraternity and football in Trinidad and Tobago at large,” stated the normalisation committee.
Fifa had a representative at today’s meeting. However, the official was never formally introduced to the members, never switched his or her camera on and signed in with just one name: ‘Sofia’.
“I thought it was very unprofessional,” one member told Wired868. “It was too shadowy for my liking.”
If the recent past is any guide, Fifa probably does not care what Trinidad and Tobago football stakeholders think.