A September 9 deadline has been given to the Robert Hadad-led FIFA appointed Normalisation Committee which was appointed to run the affairs of football in T&T after the removal of elected William Wallace and his executive earlier this for salaries owed to appointed national coaches to be paid.
This was stated by a quartet of coaches inclusive of former national captains, Clayton Morris and Angus Eve as well as Wayne "Barney" Shepphard, and Richard Hood at a media conference held at Fatima College Ground, Mucurapo Road, yesterday.
Speaking as members of what he described as the Steering Committee representing the national coaches in their matter with the T&T Football Association/Normalisation Committee former national midfielder Eve, the most capped player in T&T football history with 118 appearances said the wanted to provide an update on their struggles to be compensated or provided with their agreed salaries as national coaches of the various national teams for the period from January up to the present.
Eve said, "After dropping off our contracts at the T&TFA head office last week Tuesday to advance the process, we then had a phone call from the NC saying that they would like to meet with us on an individual basis, which they had promised to do about five months ago, so we were happy for that."
"We did meet with them on an individual basis, each one of the head coaches was able to meet with them and articulate our positions and the meetings were cordial, and very interesting because for them, they are now coming in, and not trying to make any excuses for them, but we did seek to give them a little bit of latitude simply because they didn't know what they were getting into. It still doesn't give them any reason for the lengthy delay in not communicating with us, so putting that out of the way, there is something on the table and they now have to go back and talk to the necessary people who are giving the money to them. We have sent in all of our bank accounts information so that we can be paid directly, we have suggested that, and they now have until the 9th of September to get back to us with the information on what is the remuneration package that all of are going to get."
Eve, the coach of T&T Pro League's Club Sando FC as well as Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) team Naparima College said, "The remuneration packages were not finalised based on the fact that they had to go back to FIFA to get the monies to be released."
An optimistic Eve said, "We are convinced that we will get something. As I said before, we worked and we have not burdened the government. We could have gone to the government because we haven't been working since January and we could have burdened the government further, and we thought that it's better than other persons in the public get those grants, and all we are asking for is the money is too be paid. If we look past the normal FIFA money that is supposed to come in and we just look at the US$500,000 grant that FIFA give for Covid-19 relief it comfortably can pay all of the staff, all of their salaries."
Pressed to give a figure, Eve said that the total combined salaries owed to the coaches outside of the senior technical team is in the region of $450,000 or a little over that figure.
Eve noted that to help speed up the process of the NC meeting with the appointed coaches, it was decided that instead of having individual meetings with the 47 persons, each head coach of each technical team was appointed to meet with the NC and then relay the information to their technical team.
Asked how he felt about the status of their fight for deserved salaries, Eve said, "It's demotivating because we do it for the passion, but for some of us this is the way we take care of our families, and when you don't get pay for work being done it borders on a level of disrespect as we said before."
With football grind to a halt locally, Eve stressed, "There is no form of work for any of us as we don't have any other jobs that can supplement an income and for a lot of us this is what we do full-time.
"For instance, England-based former goalkeeper Kelvin Jack left the position that he had out there and wanted to come home and take up the position that he got, but because of the covid19 he couldn't fly home, so he is out there and he has been having to live off his savings, and there are a lot more stories very similar to that," stated Eve.
"Based on the financial information that we have and we know that FIFA grants don't go towards debt reduction, and we understand the T&TFA has a magnanimous debt, but none of it occurred because of our actions, and FIFA money is not to go to debt resolution, so we are very confident that we will be getting all our monies."
Should no agreement be reached by the deadline set out Eve said it will be due to no fault of theirs.
"The information is supposed to come back to us by September 9, in terms of how are we going to be paid and we don't foresee any delays because we already advanced the process by giving them all our banking information, and we went to them with all our arrangements. We do have comrades, guys who were unceremoniously fired from the job in the past, who are being owed, and again we will like them to get paid also."
Looking past the deadline, Eve said the coaches have not given any indication of withholding their services as the national senior team is scheduled to begin a World Cup qualifying campaign, providing no sanctions are handed down by FIFA to the local body based on communication from FIFA general secretary Fatma Samoura on August 26 and addressed to Hadad of the NC, warning that the TTFA face sanctions if it did not withdraw the matter in the T&T High Court by September 16.
Former president William Wallace and his three vice presidents - Clynt Taylor, Joseph-Warrick and Joseph Sam Phillip have challenged FIFA decision to appoint an NC in the T&T High court which is against FIFA statutes.
Eve said, "We have World Cup qualifications in October and we don't know if that might off simply because of how the place is still on lockdown due to the covid19 situation, but any opportunity all of us have to serve our country we will continue to be committed to doing so and we will continue to help the development of the young people of the country."
Eve, a former national midfielder noted that a positive side to this battle has been a desire by all coaches, not just on a national coaching level to form a Coaches Association with the registration already in process.