STEPHON NICHOLAS Sports Editor
OUSTED TT Football Association president William Wallace’s recent tell-all failed to tell all.
Wallace gave details of contracts unilaterally approved by himself, talking to the online news site Wired868. But he left out significant information about the local football body’s legal agreement with English marketing agent Peter Miller.
Wallace had denied that Miller was the TTFA marketing director and said the Englishman’s contract was conditional on the sponsorships he brought in.
He told Wired868, “His payment was contingent on what he brings to the TTFA. It is based on the whole roll out of sponsorships with Miller who then has to pay his other people from that. If you didn’t bring anything then you have nothing to get.”
But according to the contract seen by Newsday, Miller was contracted for 24 months at US$25,000 per month, with options for two one-year extensions. The first page of the contract says Miller is “hereinafter referred to as the Marketing Director.”
Wallace found himself at the centre of controversy after it was revealed he had signed a string of contracts without approval from the TTFA board.
The Secondary Schools Football League boss, Wallace became head of the TTFA in November 2019, replacing the embattled David John-Williams. Wallace, who campaigned on the United TTFA slate, had accused John-Williams of lack of transparency, lack of accountability and dictatorial tendencies.
Wallace is now being accused of the same thing by his fellow United TTFA members and TTFA board members. FIFA removed the Wallace executive on March 17 and installed a normalisation committee after a FIFA/Concacaf fact-finding mission found “extremely low overall financial management methods, combined with a massive debt, have resulted in the TTFA facing a very real risk of insolvency and illiquidity.”
Wallace recently admitted to lying to the TTFA board and the media about Miller’s contract. He also unilaterally changed the contract of TTFA general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan from one year to two years, renegotiated national coach Terry Fenwick’s salary from US$17,500 per month to US$20,000 per month plus perks, and also went behind the board’s back to sign a contract with apparel company Avec Sport.
He also claimed Miller asked for his contract to remain secret, which was why he kept it from the TTFA board.
NO FAITH IN WALLACE
But speaking to Newsday on Thursday by phone, Miller denied asking Wallace to keep the contract secret, saying he was negotiating deals on the TTFA’s behalf with companies in TT, Europe and the United States and signing them at the TTFA’s marketing director/head of international development – so asking for his position to be concealed would have made no sense whatsoever.
“I’m genuinely disappointed. I had faith in William before election. I thought he was a man that stood for honesty, integrity and accountability,” Miller said.
Asked if his payments under the contract depended on sponsorship, Miller said, “No, no mention of commission in the contract.”
According to the contract seen by Newsday, no such caveat is included and Miller is referred to as marketing director throughout the document.
Asked if he felt the FIFA normalisation committee would honour his contract, Miller said, “That is for them to decide, but I see no reason why they wouldn’t.”
Also included in the deal, separate from Miller’s US$25,000 monthly salary, is a US$30,410.95 payment to the “marketing executive” for services provided by Miller on or about November 25, 2019. Miller was instrumental in TTFA’s securing an apparel deal with Avec Sport.
As for coach Terry Fenwick’s contract, Wallace acknowledged changing the terms with a 14 per cent increase but insisted that extra US$2,500 monthly would not be a burden on the TTFA, as it would be paid by a benefactor whom he declined to name.
Fenwick’s contract does not include details of any external arrangement and says only that the TTFA must pay his US$20,000 salary.
Miller claimed he was the mysterious benefactor who would pay US$2,500 a month to Fenwick to make up the US$20,000 salary Fenwick was asking for.
Miller said he mediated the deal between Fenwick and the TTFA and decided to sacrifice $2,500 of his own salary to get the deal done.
TTFA technical committee chairman Keith Look Loy “was negotiating with Terry...It was clear the two were at loggerheads,” he said.
Miller said Fenwick’s pay structure was expected to change after the biennial Concacaf Gold Cup, so he stepped in to make up the shortfall that was being haggled over.
Speaking to Newsday on Thursday, Look Loy acknowledged speaking to Miller, who he said acted as Fenwick’s agent in the negotiations. Look Loy said he was firm that Fenwick must not get more than the US$17,500 paid to his predecessor, Dennis Lawrence.
Look Loy said he screened all the candidates, but added, “I never negotiated that with Fenwick directly. He always used Miller as his agent. I used the word ‘agent’ to mean the person speaking for him. I can’t tell a man who to appoint to talk for him. “To make the deal possible, he (Miller) said, ‘Listen, I would get other money to top up on what he (Fenwick) wants.’
“My position was he could do what he wants. I am not the agent for Fenwick here, I am the agent for TTFA...I told Miller, ‘If you want to go get extra money I have no problem with that, that is not my business.’
“In that sense, if he wants to say that I knew, of course I knew.” But Look Loy was adamant he was unaware of Miller’s own contract.
“The board approves contracts. No contract with Peter Miller was brought before the board...My position back then, under David John-Williams, was that a contract signed by the president alone was invalid....Any contract that is not approved by the board is invalid, and more so a contract that goes against specific conditions approved by the board.”
TTFA general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan on Thursday refused to comment on the details of Miller’s contract or even its existence. The contract, which took effect on January 1, 2020, bears signatures that appear to be those of Wallace and Ramdhan.
But Ramdhan said, “Enough has been said. I have nothing to say. You sure that is my signature? If you see my name on a contract how can I deny that? These are matters not for discussion right now. People have certain agendas, I would not add to the chorus. Let it play out.” Calls and a text message to Wallace’s cellphone went unanswered.