WILLIAM Wallace has broken his silence. Wallace, who was ousted as TT Football Association (TTFA) president in March when a normalisation committee was appointed by Fifa to run the TTFA, released a six-page response, on Wednesday, to the criticism of his leadership. He mainly addressed the contracts that were signed under his tenure, including those of national senior men’s coach Terry Fenwick, marketing executive Peter Miller and TTFA general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan.
Explaining the contract of national men’s senior football coach Fenwick, Wallace claims he was not the person responsible.
In a press release, Wallace said, “I played absolutely no role in the negotiation of Fenwick’s contract. This negotiation was left entirely in the hands of the technical committee.”
Fenwick was hired in December 2019 to replace Dennis Lawrence as head coach after the board voted 8-1 with the understanding that he would be paid US$17,500 per month with other bonuses.
In the incentive package, Fenwick would start earning US$20,000 a month if the team qualified for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.
It was initially reported that the extra US$2,500 per month came through sponsorship (not revealed) as Fenwick was not satisfied with his contract. The US $2,500 extra was included in the main contract instead of a separate contract. It was then revealed that TTFA marketing executive Peter Miller agreed to donate US$2,500 of his salary to ensure Fenwick got the US$20,000.
Wallace said e-mails were sent saying that Fenwick would get $20,000 and others agreed. “In one e-mail the general secretary (Ramesh Ramdhan) indicated that there was agreement on the final terms of the contract. The attachment in the e-mail indicated a salary of US$20,000.”
The Wallace release then said a second e-mail sent was from Miller to chairman of the technical committee Keith Look Loy.
The e-mail from Miller to Look Loy said, “After much discussions, a revised position has been arrived at which is attached for your information prior to our discussions...please feel free to give feedback in order to arrive at a firm position given the urgency of the matter.”
Wallace said the attachment in the e-mail indicated a salary of US$20,000. Wallace said he just signed it. “I signed the contract believing that the terms therein were agreed on with my negotiating team.”
In an interview,on Wednesday evening with Newsday, Look Loy remained adamant that the salary that was agreed was US$17,500. “Clearly this $20,000 business started with an e-mail that Wallace read and went with when Miller suggested the $20,000...that e-mail is from Miller to Wallace, not from me to Wallace. Wallace was the chairman of the meeting that agreed $17,500.”
Look Loy said he is still unaware of the details of the contract. “I have not seen this contract to date, up to now...I deal with football, things on the field. I have asked different media to let me see the contract.”
Look Loy said other conditions were signed in the contract that were never brought to the technical committee or the board including a car, a phone and paying Fenwick’s taxes.
Wallace said he did not give the best answer to a question concerning the contract of marketing executive Miller.
“When asked if Peter Miller had a contract with the TTFA, in an attempt to manage an ongoing situation, I answered no.
"Well, technically the answer was correct, but I do not want to hide behind any technicality and in retrospect, the answer could have been...I would respond to the question at a later date.”
In Miller’s contract, seen by Newsday, the Englishman was contracted for 24 months at US$25,000 per month, with options for two one-year extensions.
Also included in the deal, separate from Miller’s US$25,000 monthly salary, is a US$30,410.95 payment to him for services provided by Miller on or about November 25, 2019. Miller was instrumental in TTFA securing an apparel deal with Avec Sport.
Wallace said he was initially unwilling to lead the United TTFA leading up to the November 2019 elections because of the $50 million debt faced by the TTFA. Wallace said after Raymond Tim Kee (now deceased), who was part of the United TTFA election campaign, shared with him a comprehensive plan to get of the debt, he agreed to work with Miller.
“During this period, my deceased friend, Raymond Tim Kee shared with me a very impressive commercial package designed for the TTFA, that was negotiated on his behalf, and which would be implemented if he was elected president. In that package was a plan to deal with the historic debt of the FA, and of course, that piqued my interest. I was also introduced to the name, Peter Miller.”
Wallace said Miller was instrumental in the United TTFA winning the elections.
“I gave my word to Peter Miller that if I was elected president, I will honour the agreement that he had with Tim Kee.
"The truth is Peter Miller’s package/presentation was responsible for us winning the elections, our campaign was based on its content and we were heavily dependent on its successful rolling out after November 24th.”
Wallace decided to hire Miller, hoping that the latter would deliver on helping reduce the debt.
“I took this decision as leader of the team and decided not to burden anyone else with it.”
In terms of Miller’s contract, Wallace said, “Miller’s position was that no changes be made to the original agreement with Raymond Tim Kee, however my suggestion to Miller was that the flat rates quoted as a monthly salary would have to be reflected as a percentage of what was delivered and that there were no issues, if instead of lump sum payments the disbursement was done monthly.
“It did not matter to me what the percentage was because the numbers were already agreed on with Raymond and I gave my word before the elections that I will honour the agreement. In addition, my own philosophy is that we had nothing so whatever came in would be more than we had.”
Wallace said the board agreed in principle that marketing must be outsourced. Sponsorship was expected to start this month.
“The roll-out of the sponsorship was carded for June. Once the successful roll-out commenced, a recommendation would have been taken to the board to officially contract Miller as the marketing person.”
Concluding the press release, Wallace said, “Since entering office, no action taken by me brought any personal benefits to me, my intentions were that TTFA would always be the beneficiary.”
Addressing the contract of Ramdhan, Wallace said he has the right to make decisions on Ramdhan’s contract on his own.
“As one Senior Counsel puts it; ‘From reviewing the TTFA constitution it seems as though the general secretary is the sole responsibility of the president. The discussion with the board is merely a courtesy.’
“Nowhere in the constitution speaks to the board drawing up the terms and conditions of the general secretary.”
Ramdhan was given a two-year contract, not the one-year contract agreed to.
Wallace said because other people were given two-year contracts it made sense to give Ramdhan the same contract.
“The reason for giving the general secretary a two-year contract was not shrouded in any conspiracy and is in fact more than reasonable. Factors such as the two-year contracts agreed on for the national senior team staff; the role the general secretary had to play in the role out of the activities of the FA; and average term given to previous secretaries, were all taken into consideration.”