Tuesday, October 17, 2017

NOT ONE RED CENT

...but not a cent from Ministry for TTFF


GERMAN Otto Pfister, Trinidad and Tobago's recently-appointed senior national football coach, will be paid on a monthly basis by the Ministry of Sport once the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) presents the Ministry with his contract.

The same terms apply to match payments for national players and international matches and tours.

Yesterday, Minister of Sport Anil Roberts branded the TTFF a delinquent NSO (national sporting organisation) and said from now on the Ministry's position is that it will directly manage the funds it gives to football, rather than hand over multi-million-dollar cheques to the Federation.

"As it stands now, the position is that the TTFF will not get a red cent from this Government," the Minister declared yesterday at his Abercromby Street office. "However, football will get the full support of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.

"The Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs will disburse funds. So, for example, Otto Pfister's contract, as soon as they send it, will be verified by the relevant authorities and Otto Pfister will come here to get his cheque every month. The same for the assistant coach, the equipment manager and so on. When players are chosen on the squad, there will be a team agreement in which the TTFF will say what they are going to pay the players, and the TTFF will give that over to the Ministry.

"So, if a certain player gets $1,000 per game and plays ten games, he comes to the Ministry and collects his money. That way we ensure that the money gets to whom it is supposed to. That is what we have been asking for."

Roberts said football is the number one sport in T&T and, as such, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has backed the drive to get the Soca Warriors to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

However, he was not kind in his description of the TTFF.

"The TTFF is the worst-run sporting organisation in Trinidad and Tobago," stated Roberts. "They flout all rules and procedures. They totally disregard all checks and balances that are here at the Ministry of Sport and the Sport Company. Checks and balances are very important for transparency, accountability and making sure we get value for money. This is taxpayers' money we are dealing with."

He added: "This is not a good situation. If a budget is presented and a cheque is drawn down for 25 million or 14 million and handed to the TTFF, they can now do with it as they please.

"Now since (TTFF president) Mr (Oliver) Camps has said they are bankrupt, they can take the Brazil 2014 money and pay off their creditors. If that is done the Government and the people of Trinidad and Tobago would have lost all the money and the money will not go towards what it was intended, which is towards the development of football and towards the progress of our national team towards 2014."

The Minister said last August the TTFF presented a $25 million"wish list" and certain contracts and verifications were asked for. Since then, he said that nothing had been done until the TTFF presented a similarly inadequate document with scant details until June 24, 2011.

"They presented a document which states that a assistant coach with the national team is being paid $120,000 per month. Our investigations shows that no assistant coach was getting anything close to that figure.

"So, at that time in August, we asked for all contracts for the coach Russell Latapy, the assistant coaches, the technical consultant, all of these things. We asked for contracts to verify these figures so that we can say this is a legitimate figure. We have not received one contract for anybody, whether it is Russell Latapy for a year ago, or whether it is now Otto Pfister."

Roberts said once these contracts are handed over, money owed to Latapy, other coaches and players will be paid.

"We have no clue how much Mr Pfister works for. We have not been given a contract for Pfister or for anyone. No money can be disbursed to anyone without legitimate documentation. So, the Government has agreed that we will fund football. However, the TTFF will not get a blank cheque, or a cheque for any amount of money for them to do as they please," Roberts insisted.