FIFA AFFILIATE TFF GRAFT CLAIMS: IS IT KILLING TANZANIAN YOUTH SOCCER DEVELOPMENT

As the founder of the Tanzania Soccer Academy I felt compelled to set the record straight by means of an open letter, the true facts surrounding the TSA. I will endeavour to provide without prejudice and to the best of my recollection an honest, transparent and accurate account.

 

Over the last year under the advisement of legal counsel, I have taken a step back; the actions of the TFF were making my position unattainable. My legal team have prepared comprehensive cases, against individuals and organisations for breach of contract, abuse of regulations, abuse of authority, obstruction and numerous other unethical and illegal actions.

 

Cases are now prepared ready to be submitted both to the courts and FIFA. They are waiting my instructions to proceed and are confident of winning all cases;

The instruction to proceed has not yet been issued, because people affected will include players and Tanzanians who have a passion for the game, a passion I share. I do not wish to damage football development further, however if I am not satisfied that all that is done is for the good of the game; I will proceed on all fronts.

The purpose of the letter is not to air grievances in public, but because my passion for the players and Tanzania is stronger than ever. Tanzania should be at the World cup finals. I have concerns the development of football is affected by strange decisions to say the least. I am looking for feedback from the TFF and anyone else who cares about youth football. I am emotionally involved and really hope people can demonstrate to me the actions of the TFF were pure, correct and they really are taking youth football in Tanzania forward. Because they are the people entrusted to do that. I have never been consulted by the TFF over the recent steps they have taken. I have documented proof of numerous attempts by myself, to discuss matters via email and phone and by my representatives.

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My character and intentions have been questioned. From the beginning the TFF have used there position to bully the TSA into making decisions that were wrong. Obstacles, breaches of contract, poor decisions, no support, questionable and selected information given the public started at the very beginning, all perpetrated by the TFF.

The TFF would have you believe the breaches were made by myself. As I previously stated with transparency comes the truth. Therefore, I will allow full disclosure to the public of all terms and conditions of the joint venture. If this is reciprocated by the TFF there will be no need to lie or mislead, everyone will be able to make their own decisions.

We continued through lies and hardship, because I believed in the players and Tanzania deserved the success we were aiming for. I have no idea as the motivations behind the actions of the TFF. Even in the negative environment we were placed and the problems we encountered. we still produced players that have already reached International level with European clubs interested. How much more could have been achieved?

TSA Background:

My first visit to Tanzania was on vacation to visit the home of my sister’s husband, after hearing so many stories about an amazing place I had to see for myself. I’m a big football fan and everywhere I turned I saw young players with amazing talent. I was in the hotel lobby and had a chance encounter with Dr Dau. We spoke at length about football and how Tanzania should be playing in the World cup finals. The fundamental problems were due to a lack of Youth Development programmes. His passion captivated me.  We stayed in touch and on a later vacation was introduced to Colonel kipingu who also epitomised everything that was good about sport. Their motives pure and refreshing.

Consumed by the passion I had a desire to be involved. My mind was finally made up after reading an article by President Jakaya Kikwete, even though I never had the honour of meeting the President his passion and understanding flowed from the page. It was apparent he had a map to success and it inspired me.

So to clarify, I have not now or ever, had any other involvement in any other business in Tanzania, The academy was not a plan to build contacts while lining my pockets in another field, or any other suggested story. But simply “I love football”

My professional experience in football was limited; however my social circle included a wealth of experience, including premiership players, managers and agents, to football club chairmen and directors of sports management companies. I knew I could call on these friendships to be able to offer expertise and opportunities worldwide. .

So we began. TFF was the obvious place to start. We shared views on the moral importance of providing education and welfare, and we agreed to work together to raise the funds. There was a pitch of the quality the players needed. And we would be supported every step of the way, they were given funds already for youth development and would introduce us to all their sponsors and contacts to assist in operating costs and welfare. So we formed a partnership.

I called friends and 3 premiership coaches, led by Bolton wanderer’s International manager, John Hindley would select the first squad and then work with us along the way to help develop the player’s careers and create opportunities.

The trials were the last time the TFF offered any assistance.

Sports development opportunities were never taken and blocked by the TFF.

Therefore I believe people should be made aware of events that unfolded at the TSA.

“It is unimaginable when talent is wasted by the player himself; it is unforgivable when it is wasted by those entrusted to develop his ability and grace him with the opportunities he deserves… “

There will be people that will try and say these are lies. However, they are documented, and more importantly if proof is required many could be revived.

There is so much to discuss, but I will just bullet point a few.

The TFF made a promise of sponsorship for the TSA, as sponsors had already made a commitment to Youth development. Not only did the TSA receive nothing from the TFF, we were never even given contacts. I felt so strongly about the potential and the fact the players deserved a chance I continued to arrange funds from the UK. The plan was to make a self sufficient academy. TV shows were aired, viewing figures good, still no sponsors. We continued bringing professionals to coach the players, producing reports on players, but it is not a bottomless pit

Sponsorship we arranged was blocked. But thank you to Vodacom and Coke who still supported us, they really do care about sports.

Opportunities were rejected by the TFF who said the sponsors were not interested in the TSA, however still worked with the TFF on other football promotions

We were also looking at making additions to the squad and requested opportunities to approach players involved in the coke a cola cup. Our request was declined.

Proven International representation of players was blocked after trials were arranged in favour of local agents

A UK football agent and ex Bolton Player who represents premiership players came to Tanzania to assess the players in year 1, as a favour to myself. He was surprised by the ability and attitude. As I said earlier he represents professionals, he does not sign players for the sake of it. He did not agree to represent all, only a selected few. He signed the players and left the paperwork to be sanctioned by the TFF. Within 48 hours of returning to the UK he called to say he had trials arranged for all the players he represented around Europe. I contacted the TFF who refused to sign the forms????  (All documented)

I informed the UK agent who couldn’t believe it and told me to pull the plug and not waste my time. Sound advice, but I couldn’t let the players down, I obviously never informed the players as it would shatter them. (Representation refused, trial off)

In addition he signed 2 National players. The representation contracts were sanctioned while he was in Tanzania. The TFF later said they had lost their copy and sanctioned a local agent to represent the players. The English FA were informed however I request the agents to leave it due to the damage it would cause the TSA players. (All documented)

A coach who works with youth players in sports science, at premiership clubs including Manchester United came to the academy to work with the players, based on his recommendation Brian McClair the Director of Manchester United’s youth academy, wanted to see one the squad at old trafford. Representation refused, trial off

The TFF rejected anything I attempted to assists sports growth. I will not mention individual companies at this time, as I feel pressure was created by TFF however if challenged will provide proof. Visits to Tanzania were arranged for players like Kalou and Essien from Chelsea. Nobody interested.

We also presented the TFF with opportunities to enhance both boys and girls football. Again calling in favours I arranged for coaches from universities in the USA to fly to Tanzania to watch a showcase of girls and boys soccer. With the intentions of offering full 4 year sports scholarships. The cost? The coaches from the USA would pay their own expenses, all we needed was money to stage and advertise the event. No sponsors interested. It was becoming apparent for some reason they wanted it to fail.

I used my contact to look at arranging matches in Tanzania, a company owned by friends arranged games for teams like Barcelona, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. I was informed they were not interested to discuss, instead working with a local partner and the Vancouver White caps

You realise whatever you do, they don’t want you.

We brought ex premiership players to coach and support the players, the TFF never even bothered to meet them.

The latest rejection made me realise we were fighting a battle we could not win, people must want us to fail, after a lot recommendations we were invited to take the entire squad to England to be showcased. Coached at Old Trafford by Ole Gunnar Solskjær, matches were arranged against; Tottenham Youth team and the Manchester united youth team as well as others, watched by Redknapp and Fergusson and other invited managers and scouts. The cost, expences only.

Intereseted sponsors? TFF said no one, not $1 from anyone. No TSA support. I am surprised the companies who say they are all about sports youth development said no, maybe they should change their slogans. Again this is documented. If any of the companies say we never knew we really do care about youth development, we would have done it. I can rearrange a tour this pre season. As well as putting Tanzania Youth football on the map, it may have resulted in a Tanzanian player signed to a top Premiership side. So to all the companies who say we care, prove it.

So to conclude. A warm thank you to Dr Dau and Colonel Kipingu, appreciation for the support of Vodacom, Coke and Bank M. I would also like to mention Coach Kaijage, his skills and ability have never failed to impress and if no solution is concluded in Tanzania, I have several opportunities to present him courtesy of John Hindley.

If we take a quick look at our first batch of players you will see many represent the National squad. With support it would be so much better.

However, after three years foreign investment into an academy that ran to over $200,000.00. What have I found?

Player representation that guaranteed trials was rejected. Sponsors who claim to care about sports see no benefit in the academy, even when it has a successful TV show. Neither are they interested in scholarships to American universities for boys and girls. We are informed nobody in Tanzania would be interested in Premiership players coming to Tanzania or going to watch major European teams play at the national stadium. On top of this I am expected to believe the TFF show no interest in the academy until such point that players have a commercial value. They then feel it ethical, never mind legal that a minority shareholder can remove without discussion the majority shareholder, assuming no financial liability for cost but 100% of the funds raised, without consultation then lie about it. Leaving what, no academy, no development, damaged reputation and impending legal issues. This is not what I want, so I will give you the grace to rectify the situation, as my desire is still to see the development of Youth football in Tanzania

Regards

Peter Johnson

 

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