Lennox Watson, the acting president of the T&T Football Federation, has called on Minister of Sport Anil Roberts to withdraw statements he made about Anthony Harford, chairman of All Sport Promotions, during the budget debate in Parliament on October 5. During his budget contribution, Roberts claimed that the Auditor General had found over $6.4 million in financial discrepancies in the accounts managed by the Authorisation Committee of the T&TFF, chaired by Harford. However, Harford, who was accused of taking $936,000 as a payment to himself, said it was completely untrue.
Harford said the T&TFF executive told his company that owing to the departure of its special adviser, Jack Warner, it was strapped for cash, and asked All Sport to lower its fee. As a result, he said, “The fee allocated to All Sport was a mere $50,000 a month, which was way below market standard.” The T&TFF is now supporting Harford’s claims, and Watson has called on Roberts to withdraw his accusations. The T&TFF letter said the federation engaged All Sport in July 2011 with the concurrence of the ministry to set up a marketing and events division to handle a wide range of services, including:
•All sponsorship negotiation
•All match management for all national teams
•Handling a marketing secretariat with appropriate staff
•All camps, travel and issuing appropriate payments
•All Ministry of Sport funding
All Sport agreed to reduce its service fees when told there were no funds available at the time. The revised quote was 50 per cent of the original figure. The T&TFF said it received from All Sport a full statement of accounts for the entire allocation of $11 million from the Government, plus an addition $1.3 million earned from sponsors, gate receipts etc. This document was presented on January 16, 2012 to the Ministry of Sport, delivered with a cover note requesting the ministry to provide any queries, questions or suggestions within three weeks so that the accounts could be audited. The T&TFF said it was satisfied that All Sport had received only the funds agreed, and that the company had worked “tirelessly” to improve the standard of administration of the game through a professional and dedicated team. “In the circumstances,” it said, “the T&TFF feels the minister should withdraw his statement.”