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Trinidad and Tobago

Concacaf bans T&T clubs from Champions League; Kenwyne appointed without coaching badge

Trinidad and Tobago football clubs look set to miss out on the 2019 Caribbean Club Championship and the 2019 Concacaf Champions League due to the alleged failure of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) to properly execute its club licensing programme.

The shock announcement, which was revealed at a TTFA board meeting tonight, means that North East Stars, W Connection and Police FC will have shorter seasons than anticipated. Concacaf’s supposed decision to ban the three Pro League clubs is believed to be final, although it was not yet communicated to Stars or Police.

Photo: Then North East Stars forward Rundell Winchester (right) challenges Police FC midfielder Todd Ryan during Pro League action at the Arima Velodrome on 28 July 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

“Nobody has contacted me or [club owner] Ryan Nunes as yet, so I cannot make a statement on that,” said Stars director Michael Awai.

Police FC head coach Richard Hood said he was also in the dark.

“You’re telling me something I did not know,” Hood told Wired868. “As far as I know we are compliant in all aspects, so that is news to me. We did everything we were required to do [by the TTFA] and we were granted our license.”

Ironically, Connection are owned by TTFA president David John-Williams and chaired by his daughter Renee John-Williams, who attended several FIFA/Concacaf workshops since her father’s election in November 2015.

Wired868 could not reach Pro League interim chairman Richard Fakoory or CEO Julia Baptiste for comment.

TTFA Club Licensing manager Michelle Lynch has apparently shouldered the blame for the ban, as the TTFA board was informed that she was dismissed with immediate effect. Lynch’s position is due to be advertised in the media until Tuesday 19 March while a Club Licensing Department will also be created.

The TTFA constitution mandates that the football body has an audit and compliance committee but the board failed to properly set up the body in the three years served thus far by president David John-Williams.

Photo: Concacaf official Howard McIntosh (centre) makes a point while TTFA president David John-Williams looks on during a press conference at the Hyatt hotel on 28 January 2019.
(Copyright Annalicia Caruth/Wired868)

At one point, the committee was manned by TTFA employees Sharon O’Brien and Lynch. However article 45.3 of the constitution states: ‘the chairman and deputy chairman of the Audit and Compliance Committee shall be independent from TTFA, its bodies and Members’.

In another bit of business today, the TTFA board effectively rubber stamped the appointment of National Under-17 Team technical staff members Kenwyne Jones (assistant coach), Caleb De Souza (assistant coach), Ross Russell (goalkeeper coach), Aaron Pollard (manager) and Devin Elcock (equipment manager).

They will assist National Under-17 Team head coach Stern John.

Jones, a former National Senior Team captain and England Premier League forward, has just three months coaching experience as assistant at Queen’s Royal College (QRC) last season while, according to the CV presented to the board, he does not hold a coaching badge at present.

However, the majority of the board voted to support the appointment of the 34 year old on John’s recommendation and with the belief that his success as a player could prove inspirational to the young men. The board did not appoint a therapist recommended by John as no CV was yet provided for consideration.

All National Under-17 technical staff members have agreed to work without pay.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Kenwyne Jones (right) celebrates with teammate Sheldon Bateau during international duty at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Jones retired from football in 2017.
(Copyright Concacaf)

In other news, Tobago Football Association (TFA) president Anthony Moore and Southern Football Association (SFA) president Richard Quan Chan were elected to serve as TTFA vice-presidents for the remainder of John-Williams’ term. Both men were nominated by John-Williams and seconded by Veteran Footballers Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago (VFFOTT) president and new board member Selby Browne.

They replace Allan Warner and Joanne Salazar who quit their roles. The TFA and SFA will select replacements for Moore and Quan Chan respectively on the board.

Moore was also elected to the commission of the new proposed league set-up between the Pro League and Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) entities. Again, John-Williams and Browne teamed up to recommend his ascension.

The TTFA also agreed to hold its Champion of Champions tournament before the end of March with winners from the North, South, East, Central and Tobago zones. The Eastern Counties Football Union (ECFU) will not participate after again failing to hold any competition in the last calendar year.

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