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Monday 17 December 2018
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TTFA members reject ‘Home of Football’ invitation

CFA, NFA, SSFL, WoLF call for transparency

TTFA president David John-Williams, left, talks about the Home of Football project to representatives from other sporting bodies during a site visit last week in Balmain, Couva.
TTFA president David John-Williams, left, talks about the Home of Football project to representatives from other sporting bodies during a site visit last week in Balmain, Couva.

SEVERAL members of the TT Football Association (TTFA) board of directors and other ordinary members have blanked an invitation by TTFA president David John-Williams to visit the controversial "Home of Football" project.

On Wednesday, TTFA general secretary Justin Latapy-George, on behalf of John-Williams, issued an invitation to all members of the TTFA to a site-visit, advising of three open dates of their choice – yesterday, today and on Monday.

They were given a deadline of Thursday to respond to the invitation, at which point several members declined via email.

Newsday obtained a number of responses to Latapy-George, one of which came from TT Super League president Keith Look Loy, who currently has a matter with John-Williams before the High Court.

Look Loy was recently granted leave for judicial review in the court to compel John-Williams to release documents on the "Home of Football" project as well as other unrelated TTFA financial records and statements.

The court matter was scheduled to begin on Thursday but was rescheduled to November 30.

Look Loy also proposed a motion for the dismissal of John-Williams at the TTFA's November 24 AGM, which has been tabled in the agenda by Latapy-Williams.

The same day he received the invitation, Look Loy responded to Latapy-George, writing: "Keith Look Loy will visit the project when the TTFA president accounts to the TTFA membership for the expenditure of the membership's money.

"All of this propaganda won't erase the lack of accountability in this project...Macoya has nice buildings also and no one knew what was happening with the project finances then. Those who wish to ignore that example are doomed to repeat it."

Northern Football Association president Anthony Harford, an ordinary TTFA member, also dismissed the invitation in an elaborate response.

"I would welcome a visit to the Home of Football when the following happens: the president reveals who the contractor(s) is; when the president reveals the financials for this project; when stakeholders see a business plan for the home of football; when Delise Joseph who was sent home after 23 years service to the TTFA and a year later has been paid just $30,000 of her agreed retirement of $196,000. She faces ejection from her rented home," he wrote, adding, "This is not political dexterity it is sham, it is breathtakingly disingenuous and lamentable leadership."

Clynt Taylor, general secretary of the Central Football Association (CFA), wrote to Latapy-George on behalf of the body, chiding the administration in his decline to the invitation.

"CFA and its officials would love to entertain a visit of the Home of Football and look forward to a visit, however, this visit can only take place when this administration is guided by the mandate of the General meeting to provide openness, transparency and providing the information requested by members who are within their constitutional rights to request.

"Without this measure of openness and transparency and this administration mandate to follow the explicit will of our constitution and the General Membership direction, CFA and its Administration respectfully declines."

Secondary Schools Football League president Williams Wallace and Women's League Football (Wolf) vice-president and representative Sharon Warrick also opted out of the visit.

Wallace's response read, "There are too many unanswered questions pertaining to this project and many other issues, It is with a heavy heart therefore that I decline the invitation," while Warrick similarly wrote: "I will not be part of this. I will welcome an invitation to view The Home of Football, when all documents that have been requested are submitted for the board to review."

John-Williams has been accused by members of his own board of operating the TTFA in a unilateral and secretive manner. Look Loy has claimed to have asked John-Williams for information on the project, which is in its final stages of construction, since last December.

During a tour with the media at the Couva site of the project recently, John-Williams was quoted as saying, "I have absolutely no problem with transparency in this project. But we took a different approach that a lot of people are not too happy with."

However, John-Williams recently attempted to have Look Loy sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to access documents. Look Loy refused to do so and opted to continue with his High Court pursuit.

Look Loy continues to insist he will drop the court matter, considering the TTFA's mounting legal expenses, if John-Williams releases the documents related to the project.

The project is said to have cost an estimated US$2.5 million and is being paid for with a FIFA grant on land leased by the TT government.

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