Warriors adjourn TTFF contempt charge; settlement imminent

The 13 aggrieved 2006 “Soca Warriors” today agreed to adjourn their contempt application against the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) and its general secretary Richard Groden and former president Oliver Camps in a conciliatory move that is expected to precede a settlement between the two parties.

[pullquote_left]The agreement between the relevant parties, which was made before High Court Judge Vashiest Kokaram, temporarily halted pressure on the TTFF to file suit against its former special advisor and National Security Minister Jack Warner.[/pullquote_left]

The past and present Trinidad and Tobago international players have allowed Groden until 31 October 2012 to provide necessary information on the TTFF’s 2006 World Cup income. And the TTFF general secretary agreed to “use his best endeavours” to obtain the relevant financial data from former sponsors, FIFA and the Ministry of Sport.

The agreement between the relevant parties, which was made before High Court Judge Vashiest Kokaram, temporarily halted pressure on the TTFF to file suit against its former special advisor and National Security Minister Jack Warner.

And, crucially, Warner might not be troubled at all as attorneys for Camps and the TTFF suggested that a settlement with the Warriors was imminent and should be reached within the next three weeks.


Photo: National Security Minister and Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner

No financial details regarding the settlement were given. However, Wired868 understands that the local football body aims to raise funds to settle from more than one source including through financial advances from FIFA.

[pullquote_left]The TTFF is tightlipped about other possible avenues for funding and there was no word either about who is sponsoring its legal team.[/pullquote_left]

Each football association is entitled to an annual FIFA subvention of US$250,000. However, the TTFF did not receive its subvention in 2012 due to its failure to account for Haiti aid money that was sent to a local account to be relayed to the earthquake-stricken island via Warner, who was then CONCACAF and Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president.

The TTFF is tightlipped about other possible avenues for funding and there was no word either about who is sponsoring its legal team.

Englishman Nicholas Stewart QC appeared for the TTFF yesterday and today.

Wired868 was informed that a Queen’s Counsel, on average, would request about $250,000 to appear in court plus a first class plane ticket from London and accommodation at the Hyatt Hotel in Port of Spain.

For the past week, Trinidad and Tobago’ s national senior team footballers could barely afford meals while marooned in St Kitts without funding, match fees or per diems from the governing body after the Ministry of Sport failed to get promised money to them in time.

Stewart got Groden out of jail though.

Photo: TTFF general secretary Richard Groden (left) shares a joke with Jack Warner’s attorney Om Lalla.

The Englishman and Camps’ lawyer Seenath Jairam SC met the players’ local legal team of Phillip Lamont, Dave De Peiza and George Hislop—who are instructed by British attorney Michael Townley—and hammered out an arrangement that allows Groden to get vital information to the players without having to sue Warner.

There were two sticking points. Stewart wanted a confidentiality agreement while Lamont wanted Groden to agree to “take all necessary steps” to get the information as opposed to “use his best endeavours.”

In the end, the TTFF agreed to drop the confidentiality clause while Groden got the wording he preferred.

Groden further agreed to inform the players, within seven days, of the response from each party contacted for financial information. The players’ attorneys expects the TTFF to take legal action, if necessary, to get the relevant figures.

There is a chance that it might not get to that, though.

If the two parties agree on a sum and payment plan, the true income generated by Trinidad and Tobago’s historic World Cup qualification may forever remain a mystery.

Photo: Kelvin Jack (left) congratulates Shaka Hislop during the 2006 World Cup.

The TTFF banked its revenue at a separate company called LOC 2006, which was chaired by Warner and listed his son, Darryl Warner, his former secretary, Patricia Modeste, Groden and Camps as directors.

Jairam, the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Law Association, told Justice Kokaram that he believes a comprehensive settlement with the World Cup players can be achieved within three weeks.

Groden and company have 13 days to satisfy players that the TTFF once called “mercenaries” if they are to hide the true financial benefit of local football’s most illustrious moment.

Were the Warriors to receive proper accounts, they suggested that they would then track down the money and, according to Camps and Groden, that would lead them to Warner.

It is now likely that they will never get that far.

 

The 13 aggrieved Soca Warriors: David Atiba Charles (retired), Cornell Glen (North East Stars), Cyd Gray (retired), Shaka Hislop (retired), Kelvin Jack (unattached), Avery John (retired), Stern John (unattached), Kenwyne Jones (Stoke City—England), Collin Samuel (East Fife—Scotland), Brent Sancho (retired), Aurtis Whitley (retired), Evans Wise (Fredericksburg Hotspur—US)  and Anthony Wolfe (Central FC).

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