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T&T senior national men’s team head coach Terry Fenwick

There are rumours of potential cuts to come within the technical staff of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) which is creating unease among coaches and other officials.

Guardian Media Sports was reliably informed by a source, who is close to the developments and spoke on the condition of anonymity, revealing that some coaches have even recommended a cut in their salaries as an alternative, to firing them.

The rumours have been circulating following a Zoom meeting between the chairman of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee, Robert Hadad and the TTFA technical staff on April 29.

In January, a FIFA/Concacaf team was unimpressed by the football association’s appointments of 35 coaches and other technical officials at an annual salary which was stated by the then chairman of the Technical Committee Keith Look Loy as TT$4,263,000 for this year and at a time when the sporting organisation is saddled with a $50 million debt and no approved plan to pay it back, as well as put local football back on a stable footing.

Because of this debt, FIFA on March 17, enforced article 8.2 of its Statutes and appointed a Normalisation committee on March 27 to run the affairs of T&T football, thereby removing the duly elected administration of president William Wallace and vice presidents Clynt Taylor, Sam Phillips and Susan Joseph-Warrick after they were elected on November 24, 2019.

Wallace and his team have since taken steps to challenge FIFA’s decision by taking it to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland. However, on Friday, Wallace’s attorney Dr Emir Crowne accused CAS of being bias in favour to FIFA because CAS has set the cost of the arbitration as 40,000 Swiss Frances (TT$276,000), although it is expected to take place via video conferencing. FIFA does not have to pay any money.

One coach said that coaches and staff under the previous president David John-Williams have not been paid since June, while another top official of the TTFA believes there is no need to cut staff since they are all doubling up by holding two positions for the salary of one person.

For each team there is a staff of five persons, a coach, his two assistants, a trainer and a manager, all being paid a salary range from $10,000 to $7,000 each, per month.

Derek King, who is the coach of the Under-20 national team, is also one of the assistant coaches for senior national head coach Terry Fenwick. The same could be said for Angus Eve, who is the coach of the U-17 boys’ team, as well as assistant coach to King at the U-20s.

Meanwhile, Keith Jeffreys, coach of the country’s U-15 team, is also a helping coach for Eve at the U-17 level.

Richard Hood is the coach of the country’s U-17 and U-20 women’s teams. A member of the technical committee that selected the coaches, said staffs for the senior women’s team and the U-23 Olympic team were not selected because they were not scheduled to go into any action soon. However, he explained that the reasons for the way coaches and staff were selected, was to allow the staff sufficient time to prepare their respective team for their tournament.

He noted also that the contracts for coaches were done on a short-term basis, saying there was no one making an exorbitant salary.

Hadad, who met with the coaches collectively and promised to meet with each coach on a one-on-one basis, told Guardian Media Sports yesterday: “That’s not true. No decision on technical staff has been made.”

Hadad and his committee, which comprises attorney Judy Daniel and retired banker Nigel Romano, also promised that the committee’s first assignment will be to pay salaries to staff members who have not been paid for March and April. In February, Ramesh Ramdhan had to borrow monies to pay the staff.