Tue, Jul


Businessman and former banker Nigel Romano, who is a member of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee, said his committee has been working on a payment mechanism to ensure that the staff and coaches of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) can be paid.

On Tuesday, Romano, responding to a Guardian Media Sport report on Tuesday where the coaches were seeking to take their plight to the Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, said the last thing anyone wants is for money to be sent to the bank and then it cannot be accessed.

The three-member normalisation committee of chairman Robert Hadad, his deputy, attorney Judy Daniel and member Romano, has found itself in a battle for the right to use the football association's bank accounts at First Citizens Bank in Port-of-Spain as the rightful owner.

The then TTFA executive of former president William Wallace and vice presidents Clynt Taylor, Joseph Sam Phillip and Susan Joseph-Warrick were replaced by the normalisation committee on March 27 after the sport's governing body felt the embattled football association faced a real risk of insolvency and illiquidity on March 17.

Since then the ousted TTFA executive has been in a battle to regain control of football governance in T&T, by taking FIFA to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and then to the High Court in Port-of-Spain.

However, both Wallace and Hadad failed to convince the bank that either was the rightful owner of the accounts. The First Citizens legal team of Kendell Alexander from the Johnson, Camacho and Singh law firm, called on both men to walk with a legal document as proof that either is the owner of the accounts. This took place although both men were in pursuit of legal action to prevent the other from claiming the accounts.

Romano stressed that once a paying mechanism is worked out the staff and coaches of the football association, maybe, can get paid before the month (June) is up. He did not reveal how his committee was seeking to work out the payment mechanism but dismissed the thought that FIFA, the Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) and the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) could provide direct payments to the personal bank accounts of staff members or coaches.

"Once we organise the payment mechanism, then we can pay. We are taking advice on what's the best way because the last thing you will want to do is to have the monies put into a bank account and then you cannot get the money out," Romano said.

"The money still has to come into Trinidad before it can get to their bank account, it cannot go directly to their bank accounts."

Meanwhile, with almost three months gone and nothing concrete to show for their existence, Romano promised his committee will reveal what its plans are to take football forward, saying they did not feel comfortable sharing it at this point.

However, he said his committee has been holding talks with UK sportswear supplier Avec Sports to ensure the country gets value for money.

Romano said, "Avec has been talking to us. Once we get all the legal and appropriate advice we will make a decision to ensure that we get the best value for money."

He promises that his committee will also look at all the other deals secured by the Wallace-led administration to have talks with them.

When contacted, Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe, could not respond to concerns by the coaches as she did not see the report. And later, George Elias, Communication personnel for the Prime Minister, said it would be better for the Sports Minister to treat with the matter.

SOURCE: T&T Guardian