Since com­ing in­to of­fice with over­whelm­ing pub­lic sup­port the ‘Unit­ed TTFA’ (T&T Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion), led by William Wal­lace, has set about to sat­is­fy the tech­ni­cal re­quire­ments that are ex­pect­ed to move T&T foot­ball in­stant­ly and even­tu­al­ly in­to the fu­ture but at what price or con­se­quences?

The ‘Unit­ed TTFA’ has to date, ap­point­ed a 35-mem­ber tech­ni­cal staff (for se­nior men’s and women’s; ju­nior teams; beach soc­cer; tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor; and ful­fil the tech­ni­cal re­quire­ments in every de­part­ment of each team), to­geth­er with new ad­min­is­tra­tive per­son­nel at a cost which the lead­er­ship of the sport is yet to pro­vide John Pub­lic with as it re­lates to an es­ti­mat­ed month­ly or an­nu­al cost of this mas­sive un­der­tak­ing for the first time in the 112-year his­to­ry of T&T foot­ball.

Five days in­to his tenure, Wal­lace told John Pub­lic that the or­gan­i­sa­tion has TT$50 mil­lion worth of prob­lems (mean­ing a debt of TT$50 mil­lion). Co­in­ci­den­tal­ly, at the end of 2018, the TTFA as­sets stood at TT$64,292 mil­lion.

There were promis­es made to John Pub­lic by the ‘Unit­ed TTFA’ dur­ing its cam­paign trail lead­ing up to the No­vem­ber 24, 2019, an­nu­al gen­er­al meet­ing (AGM) in which Wal­lace in­di­cat­ed that over $30 mil­lion in spon­sor­ship was said to be on the hori­zon from sev­er­al com­pa­nies in the likes of Amer­i­can sport­ing goods gi­ant, NIKE.

To date, noth­ing has ma­te­ri­alised to demon­strate that there’s cash flow to cov­er the new coach­ing con­tacts hand­ed out, far less those that are ex­ist­ing and the re­cent ter­mi­na­tion of for­mer na­tion­al coach Den­nis Lawrence. He was fired back on De­cem­ber 15.

Even more trou­bling about the ‘Unit­ed TTFA” fi­nan­cial po­si­tion, is the fact that of the US$1,000,000 (TT$6.76M) giv­en an­nu­al­ly by FI­FA to all its mem­bers in two tranch­es of US$500,000, the ‘New TTFA’ is like­ly to start with a deficit of US$100,000 which the FI­FA will like­ly deduct in the same fash­ion it did as in 2019, to cov­er a 2010 TTFA debt to FI­FA val­ued at US$240,000.

For the “Unit­ed TTFA” to be guar­an­teed the oth­er US$500,000 it must first spend on de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes and youth teams and then prove to the FI­FA how the mon­ey was spent in or­der to re­claim it.

Here’s the present fi­nan­cial po­si­tion of the ‘Unit­ed TTFA’.

Fol­low­ing the for­tunes of the TTFA over the past sev­er­al years but more im­por­tan­ly, the last five, dur­ing which time John Pub­lic has wit­nessed the chang­ing of two pres­i­dents or in fact, two ad­min­is­tra­tions. This ar­ti­cle was prompt­ed fol­low­ing an email sent to the tech­ni­cal staff of var­i­ous na­tion­al teams by the ‘Unit­ed TTFA’ gen­er­al sec­re­tary and for­mer FI­FA ref­er­ee Ramesh Ramd­han.

The email read:

“I feel ob­lig­at­ed to share our fi­nan­cial chal­lenges with you. There are those who feel that this should have been done soon­er, how­ev­er, I have been tire­less­ly work­ing with FI­FA and our al­lies abroad hope­ful for an ear­ly res­o­lu­tion to this is­sue. De­spite all the ef­forts over the last month, we are still not where I would like it to be.

“As ear­ly as 3 am I was send­ing off one of many let­ters to FI­FA in re­sponse to their queries about ex­or­bi­tant costs of our tech­ni­cal staff. I trust that I will be able to sat­is­fy them. In the mean­time, I ask for your pa­tience and your un­der­stand­ing with re­gard to the non-pay­ment of your salaries for the last month and for some, the last two months.

“I am hope­ful that the sit­u­a­tion will be re­solved soon as I ask you to keep the faith and con­tin­ue to work with us. To­geth­er we as­pire, to­geth­er we achieve.”

Thanks for your un­der­stand­ing


TTFA ac­cu­rals

Here is a quick sum­ma­ry of the debt of the TTFA and the in­come streams that are avail­able to the as­so­ci­a­tion at present.

In the 2018 au­dit­ed fi­nan­cial state­ments of the as­so­ci­a­tion which were ap­proved by its mem­bers showed a to­tal debt of TT$32,770,079 (US$4,891,000) which com­prised of ac­counts payable of TT$22,414,430 (US$3,345,400) and ac­cru­als and in­ter­est of TT$10,355,649 (US$1,546,000).

For the read­ers who do not know what ac­cru­als mean in a fi­nan­cial state­ment, it is a pro­vi­sion for pos­si­ble le­gal and oth­er claims against the as­so­ci­a­tion, if the as­so­ci­a­tion is un­suc­cess­ful in de­fend­ing or re­fut­ing the claims. In late 2019, for­mer head coach Stephen Hart (US$750,000) and for­mer tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Kendell Walkes (US$800,000) won judge­ments against the FA to­talling about US$1,550,000.

These amounts would have been al­most to­tal­ly cov­ered by the pro­vi­sion made in ac­cru­als thus the debt would not have in­creased.

For­mer tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor An­ton Corneal al­so got a judge­ment against the TTFA for some US$507,000, how­ev­er, his fig­ure was al­ready in­clud­ed in the ac­counts payable of the TTFA. What will be of in­ter­est in the fu­ture is the out­come of for­mer vice pres­i­dent of FI­FA and pres­i­dent of Con­ca­caf Jack Warn­er’s claim against the TTFA for US$3.3 mil­lion which there have been no pro­vi­sions made in the TTFA ac­counts.

TTFA debt—yoke around the neck of the TTFA

For­mer pres­i­dent David John-Williams dur­ing his tenure com­plained about the large debt of the as­so­ci­a­tion which his ad­min­is­tra­tion in­her­it­ed and he said that this was like a “yoke around the neck of the TTFA”. He said on sev­er­al oc­ca­sions that the TTFA in its cur­rent state can­not af­ford to sup­port all 11 na­tion­al teams. The last ad­min­is­tra­tion had coach­es dou­bling up with teams to cut cost.

Case in point, Stu­art Charles Fevri­er and Stern John, who served as as­sis­tant coach­es with the se­nior team and were head coach­es of T&T youth teams. The for­mer ad­min­is­tra­tion was “be­ing re­al”.

The re­cent sack­ing of Lawrence and Fevri­er by the Unit­ed TTFA ad­min­is­tra­tion comes at a price. Both had at least 18 months left on their con­tracts and at an es­ti­mate of US$12,000 per month (the com­bined salary for both of them) then that’s at least US$216,000 to be paid to set­tle their con­tracts plus what­ev­er in­ter­est is ac­crued, as well as costs if ap­plic­a­ble to be paid.

Are all these
ap­point­ments need­ed?

With re­gards to Unit­ed TTFA swift move to fill tech­ni­cal po­si­tions on all na­tion­al teams, John Pub­lic may agree that that is the way to go in a per­fect world but does the present fi­nan­cial po­si­tion of the Unit­ed TTFA fi­nances al­low for such ‘re­al­ness’?

Let us now ex­am­ine the pos­si­ble es­ti­mat­ed cost of these ap­point­ments. Ter­ry Fen­wick US$18,000 per month, his as­sis­tant Derek King US$5,000 per month be­cause he is al­so the head coach of the Un­der- 20 men’s team and let us add an­oth­er US$10,000 per month for the rest of the four mem­bers of the men’s se­nior team tech­ni­cal staff which is es­ti­mat­ed at a to­tal of US$396,000 per year.

Women’s U-20 and U-17 is es­ti­mat­ed at US$10,000 per month and the pro­ject­ed es­ti­mates are for on­ly five months (up to the end of the tour­na­ments) that is an­oth­er US$50,000 for the year. The Boy’s U-20 is es­ti­mat­ed at an­oth­er US$7,000 per month for the rest of the staff out­side of and this is for six months, that’s an­oth­er US$42,000 for the year.

The boy’s U-15 and U-17 is es­ti­mat­ed at US$20,000 per month for the com­plete staff and fut­sal teams and that is for six months that is adding an­oth­er US$120,000 per year.

In ad­di­tion to the above, there’s the di­rec­tor of the se­nior men’s team US$6,000 per month, the Com­pli­ance and Club Li­cenc­ing Man­ag­er and the women’s na­tion­al team di­rec­tor. This adds an­oth­er US$72,000.

As­sum­ing all are full-time ap­point­ments, the Unit­ed TTFA will have to find US$680,000 per year.

Fund­ing un­der the FI­FA For­ward 2.0 pro­gramme

The TTFA is en­ti­tled to US$1,000,000 un­der FI­FA For­ward 2.0 pro­gramme (2019 to 2022).

The TTFA wil get US$500,000 for op­er­a­tions cost per year which is nor­mal­ly re­ceived in Jan­u­ary of the new year. This is to cov­er costs like pay­ment to the gen­er­al sec­re­tary, fi­nance man­ag­er, tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor, head of ref­er­ees de­part­ment TMS man­ag­er, all oth­er of­fice and op­er­a­tional staff, phone, in­ter­net, func­tions, meet­ings, cours­es and all oth­er cost as­so­ci­at­ed with op­er­a­tions for the year. Then they are en­ti­tled to an­oth­er US$500,000 in the sec­ond part of the year but to re­ceive this amount the TTFA must achieve 10 KPIs (key per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors) each worth US$50,000.

Ba­si­cal­ly, the TTFA needs to spend to gain this sum. They are al­so en­ti­tled to US$200,000 per year to cov­er costs of over­seas trav­el and ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion for all na­tion­al teams. (Note in the 2018 Fi­nan­cial State­ments over­seas trav­el and ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion amount­ed to US$482,000 with trav­el alone be­ing US$250,000)

Ad­di­tion­al­ly, there is al­so a loan on the TTFA books of over US$600,000 for Con­ca­caf as re­port­ed in the 2018 Fi­nan­cial State­ments which was used by the for­mer ad­min­is­tra­tion to as­sist in the 2018 World Cup Qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign. This loan has ma­tured and needs to be re­paid.

Ques­tions to the TTFA are as fol­lows.

Where is the mon­ey com­ing from, to first ser­vice the deficit cre­at­ed by all these new ap­point­ments?

Where is the mon­ey com­ing from to pay sacked Lawrence and oth­ers?

Where is the mon­ey com­ing from to ser­vice the large debt of the TTFA?

The for­mer ad­min­is­tra­tion has boast­ed about In­come Gen­er­a­tion Project and the Home of Foot­ball both of which the Unit­ed TTFA closed dur­ing its first week in of­fice claim­ing that it did not meet sev­er­al reg­u­la­to­ry stan­dards.

So with all these ap­point­ments which car­ry a heavy pay­roll and with no spon­sors an­nounced to date, does this mean that the ‘Unit­ed TTFA’ ap­pears to be im­pru­dent with its ‘re­al’ fi­nan­cial po­si­tion.

What is the TTFA ac­tion plan to earn rev­enue as soon as pos­si­ble.

Ed­i­tor’ note: ‘In­sol­vent’ means — un­able to pay debts owed.