FULL DISCLOSURE Sports
EASTERN Football Association (EFA) president Kieron Edwards is contending that the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) is a public entity and its accounting should reflect such.
Therefore, the TTFA’s normalisation committee (NC) has been advised to adjust its financial statements accounts to reflect such, before presenting them for approval by the membership in two weeks’ time.
Issuing the ultimatum was EFA president Edwards, who on Monday wrote to Amiel Mohammed, acting general secretary, who is also an employee of the NC’s chairman, local businessman Robert Hadad.
“The normalisation committee should not ask the membership of the TTFA to approve financial statements that are overshadowed by doubt, uncertainty and irregularities,” Edwards argued.
Edwards’ correspondence concludes that the NC is treating the TTFA as a private enterprise. Further, with two members of the normalisation committee being qualified accountants, namely Nigel Romano and Trevor Nicholas Gomez, Edwards is of the view the NC should be held to a higher standard of accountability and transparency.
Edwards’ correspondence was released via WhatsApp through his Ascension boss and TTFA presidential aspirant Richard Ferguson, who is a chartered accountant. The EFA president is also tournament director of Ferguson’s Ascension Football tournament.
“I look forward to meeting with you to resolve these critical issues,” stated Edwards, adding, “As such, please correct these issues before it is presented to the Members of the Association for approval.”
Delegates had deferred approval of the TTFA’s financial statements for 2020 and 2021 at the TTFA AGM on September 21, and also gave the NC 17 days to make corrections. The TTFA’s access to its FIFA subvention, its only regular source of funding, is dependent on approval of financial statements by its delegates.
After further perusal of financial statements, Edwards’ latest correspondence points out that as a public interest company, the TTFA should be subject to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
Edwards’ correspondence suggest that the NC was treating the TTFA like a private, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) and applying those standards in its financial accounting practices.
“Public interest companies like the TTFA have to produce its financial statements for various external users,” Edwards contends. “The TTFA’s financial statements are produced and utilised by international bodies such as FIFA, CONCACAF and CFU as well as the Ministry of Sport, the Ministry of Finance, the members of the TTFA and the Trinidad and Tobago public. Therefore, the TTFA must produce general purpose financial statements for all the external users and all international financial reporting standards should be used.”
Edwards further argues that the TTFA is a non-profit company and is required to reveal accounting of its financial position to the public and others.
Support for Edwards’ view can gleaned from the October 13, 2020 ruling of Judge Carol Gobin when she awarded victory to the William Wallace-led TTFA executive in its lawsuit against FIFA in the T&T High Court. Citing the TTFA Incorporation Act, No 17 of 1982, Gobin came to the conclusion that the TTFA could be considered a “corporation created by special act of Parliament for a public purpose.”
“The TTFA is a public entity,” Edwards maintained. “The public of Trinidad and Tobago is in fact interested in the financial performance of TTFA and claiming that the association is a private entity void of public interest, is untrue.”