Robert Hadad

PROMISING TO MEET STAKEHOLDERS: Normalization committee chairman Robert Hadad.

IT’S AKIN to parents complaining about their child’s behaviour.

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) stakeholders have complained to football governing body FIFA about the conduct of Robert Hadad, chairman of the normalisation committee appointed last March to reorganise the financially-strapped local association.

Yesterday, in a signed letter, the stakeholders, comprising several board members, wrote Hadad citing several disagreements with the way in which he is running football.

Carbon-copied to FIFA general secretary Fatma Samoura and normalisation committee members Nigel Romano, Judy Daniel and Trevor Gomez, the business communiqué critiqued Hadad’s management style.

The 15-page letter bore the signatures of Brent Sancho, acting TT Pro League chairman; Referees Association president Osmond Downer; Secondary Schools League president Merere Gonzales; Eastern Football Association president Kieron Edwards; Northern Football Association president Ross Russell; Southern Football Association president Richard Quan Chan; Central Football Association president Shamdeo Gosein and Eastern Counties Football Association vice-president Ian Pritchard.

The last time stakeholders were so unanimous in their action, it led to former TTFA president Williams Wallace being told that he did not have stakeholders’ support for court action and paved the way for Hadad’s normalisation committee taking over.

Now stakeholders also seem dissatisfied with Hadad as well. Coaches, players and staff have either not been paid or are not being paid on time and Hadad, a local businessman with no football history, is accused of ignoring the input of the people involved in football.

Hadad did not respond to enquiries by the Sunday Express yesterday, however, the TTFA later issued the following press statement: “The normalisation committee of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has received a letter from TTFA members on 1 May 2021. We understand the concerns of the TTFA members and will be addressing those issues with the membership directly this week.

“It must be noted that many details outlined in the document are inaccurate and based on assumptions. We will endeavour to improve on the communication channels between the TTFA and its membership so that the members are provided with accurate sources of information on these matters, with the aim of fostering a stronger relationship between all parties.”

One of the main issues TTFA stakeholders have with Hadad is what they see as his failure to communicate.

“The SSFL’s position is simply the need to have a meeting,” schools league president Gonzales told the Sunday Express. “We think it is long overdue that a meeting should be held with the stakeholders.”

The letter to Hadad added: “To date, there has been no communication between the normalisation committee and the members of the TTFA, no monthly management reports presented to members since the committee’s appointment in March 2020, no budgets or projected cash flow statements for the year 2021. Please note as members of the TTFA we are very concerned about the lack of transparency and accountability regarding the day-to-day affairs of the Association.”

Hadad was also chided for hiring foreign coaches instead of looking at less expensive local alternatives.

“In an already cash-strapped environment, would it not be more prudent to retain our well capable local coaches for a reasonable cost? We the members are of the opinion that this is not financially prudent and it clearly illustrates poor financial management, which is contrary to your instructions given by FIFA,” the letter stated.

“There are also examples of the futsal and the beach soccer where you have hired expensive foreign coaches during this financially turbulent time when you need to manage our limited funds wisely of which you have not been doing. Your spending on coaches is exorbitant, excessive and ridiculous. Such expenditure cannot be justified given your debt management mandate by FIFA. Since your appointment on the 27th of March 2020, there seems to be an increase in expenditure for the TTFA,” it was noted.

The stakeholders also wanted to know what Hadad had done in a year to reduce the $50 million-plus TTFA debt.

“We the undersigned request that you notify us of the debt repayment plan that has been implemented by the normalisation committee and as mandated by FIFA. This is also critical, since this was the primary reason behind FIFA removing the duly elected administration and installing yourself as chairman of the normalisation committee and yet you too have been unable to present a practical and workable financially prudent debt repayment plan.”

The TTFA stakeholders also want Hadad’s explanation about issues surrounding the contract of current men’s national team head coach Terry Fenwick. They also raised Hadad’s failure to adequately address Fenwick’s conduct, following last month’s public bust-up with TTFA media officer Shaun Fuentes.

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