Richard Groden and Oliver Camps, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) general secretary and former president respectively, have been served for contempt of court after failing to sue former TTFF Special Advisor and Minister of Works and Infrastructure Jack Warner.
Groden and Camps must respond in writing to the Port of Spain High Court by 31 May 2012.
Legal representatives for the 13 aggrieved 2006 World Cup players filed an application for contempt proceedings against Camps, Groden and the TTFF at the High Court this morning.
The contempt charge is due to the TTFF’s failure to file suit against Warner, its former agent, who negotiated the football body’s World Cup bonus agreement with the “Soca Warriors” and also banked all revenue related to the FIFA tournament.
The TTFF has repeatedly insisted only Warner knows how much World Cup revenue was raised by Trinidad and Tobago’s qualification for the showcase tournament in Germany and that Warner refuses to hand over the necessary accounting statements.
However, after High Court Judge Devindra Rampersad gave the TTFF an April 3 deadline to sue Warner, the football body claimed, on 4 April 2012, that it had not done so for fear that a suit may leave them vulnerable to its former special advisor who threatened to counter-sue.
The TTFF’s explanation failed to win the sympathy of the Warriors.
Brent Sancho, who played in central defence for all three games in Germany but was never selected by the TTFF again, told Wired868.com that it was time for the football officials to account for their actions.
“They have brought this situation to themselves,” Sancho told Wired868. “I have no sympathy for any of them. They have all played a part in not only destroying football in this country but also blocking the path of justice.”
The 13 World Cup players involved in the court action are: Shaka Hislop, Kenwyne Jones, Stern John, Kelvin Jack, Cyd Gray, Avery John, Aurtis Whitley, Evans Wise, Collin Samuel, Atiba Charles, Cornell Glen, Anthony Wolfe and Sancho.
The players are represented by Dave De Peiza, Phillip Lamont, George Hislop (who is father of World Cup player, Shaka Hislop) and British attorney Michael Townley.
The media was again blocked from viewing today’s proceedings at the request of TTFF attorney Derek Ali. However, a well-placed source informed Wired868 that Justice Rampersad stressed the seriousness of the charge to the present and past football administrator.
If Groden and Camps are unsuccessful in their defence, they face the possibility of having their assets confiscated and even receiving prison sentences.
The TTFF’s assets at its Dundonald Street base in Port of Spain were seized on 8 February 2012 by a court-appointed marshall after an application by the “Soca Warriors.”
In the High Court today, a representative from Johnson, Camacho & Singh, a local law firm, was present to watch the proceedings on behalf of Warner, who has never appeared in court for the duration of the four-year legal battle.
Om Lalla, who also represents Warner and previously defended the TTFF, was there too and lectured Groden, Camps and Ali for at least 15 minutes after today’s session.
The players and the TTFF are to return to court at 11 am on 19 July 2012 for further hearing and a possible decision on the contempt charge.
The players’ legal team served Groden notice of legal action on 1 May 2012. Camps was served in the rain outside the High Court today.