Sun, Jun


Anton CornealSport Minister questions TTFF budget

That is the ultimatum which Minister of Sport Anil Roberts has given the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) as far as Government funding goes.

And he has raised questions over the $45 million budget the Federation has submitted for the 2014 World Cup campaign.

Accountability, Roberts told the Sunday Express, was the Ministry's major problem with football.

"They (TTFF) are a private company with shareholders. If we give them a big cheque they can take the money and hold a party at the Hyatt for anybody and we cannot say anything," he declared on Friday.

"FIFA rules are very strict and if we were to get involved, then we would be accused of Government interference and the country would be banned from playing football.

"So, we will support football, but we will not be giving the TTFF a cheque. For instance, the national team has to go to Brazil in October for a two-week training camp.

If there are 22 players and a support staff of eight people, they (TTFF) will send the information to us. The technocrats here at the Ministry of Sport will buy the tickets to Brazil and organise the tour.

The travel agent will be paid by the Ministry. So, there will be no money going to the TTFF and no travel agency saying they did not get paid."

For Brazil 2014 alone, the TTFF is seeking just over $45 million ($45,433,288) to cover the campaign for the period June 1, 2011 to December 31, 2013.

The Federation has requested a $315,000 monthly salary for the national senior team head coach, German Otto Pfister. And it wants an additional $126,000 monthly for each of his assistant coaches, Hutson Charles and Anton Corneal.

The TTFF budget request included 2011 training camps to Colombia, Brazil and Panama; four camps in 2012; and four camps in 2013 at a cost of $2,082,000.

The major portion of the initial budget of $28 million submitted by TTFF a year ago for eight national teams was $11,404,000, to cover the activities of the senior men's national team up to December 2011.

Among the requests was $3,388,000 to cover the salary of former national coach Russell Latapy for 2011.

The TTFF request to the Ministry consisted of a $248,000 monthly salary payment for Latapy, along with a $216,000 housing allowance, $96,000 vehicle allowance, and $100,000 travel allowance.

The Federation also requested that the Ministry pay a $120,000 monthly salary to each of two assistant coaches on the senior men's team and a $75,000 monthly salary for a technical consultant.

The TTFF also wanted $10,000 monthly salaries for seven technical staff members such as equipment manager, team doctor, manager, assistant manager, fitness coach, physiotherapist and fitness coach.

Other requests were a $60,000 monthly salary for the national Under-23 coach. The Federation also wanted big cash for the women's programme as well, including a $120,000 monthly salary for TTFF women's technical director Even Pellerud, as well as monthly housing allowance of $72,000, and a $32,000 monthly vehicle allowance.

The TTFF also asked for a $50,000 monthly salary each for assistant technical director Jamaal Shabazz and a "special goalkeeper coach".

Minister Roberts questioned many of these figures, including $217,000 for water, drinks, ice and transport.
"It is strange that training sessions, local training sessions, will cost $4.68 million over eight months and $6.62 million for the next year. To run local training sessions?" Roberts asked.

"They can use any of the stadiums free, so where does the $4 million-plus figure come from. So, we asked for that information. They have not provided it.

"For qualifying matches they have nothing here...dash, dash, dash," said Roberts while perusing the 2014 budget sent by the TTFF.

"For projected income, the TTFF have zero, zero, zero. So, they have no sponsors and no intention of raising funds from anyone else. The taxpayers must pay the entire bill? That is not going to happen," the Minister stated.