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
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
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.