Home / Volley / Global Football / Telemundo triumphs in High Court! DJW, TTFA fail in bold bid to escape tv rights contract

Telemundo triumphs in High Court! DJW, TTFA fail in bold bid to escape tv rights contract

United States Spanish-speaking television network, Telemundo, were granted the right to broadcast Trinidad and Tobago’s upcoming Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying matches against Panama and Mexico, after Judge Mira Dean-Armorer granted their injunction against the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) at the Port of Spain High Court today.

The Soca Warriors face Panama and Mexico on 24 and 28 March respectively at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Joevin Jones (right) battles with Mexico midfielder Paul Aguilar during a 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group C match in Charlotte, North Carolina, on 15 July 2015. (Copyright AFP 2016/Nicholas Kamm)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Joevin Jones (right) battles with Mexico midfielder Paul Aguilar during a 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group C match in Charlotte, North Carolina, on 15 July 2015.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Nicholas Kamm)

Telemundo was represented by Christopher Hamel-Smith SC, advocate attorney Jonathan Walker and filing attorney Debra Thompson. The TTFA was represented by senior advocate Reginald Armour SC, junior advocate Raphael Ajodhia and filing attorney Annand Misir.

For local football president David John-Williams and his board of directors, it is a potentially damaging body blow as the TTFA loses the right to earn increased revenue from their most lucrative World Cup qualifier against Mexico.

It also calls into question the line taken by the John-Williams-led board, which sought to ignore its own contract with the CFU, Traffic and, indirectly, Telemundo although the football body did not—according to information presented in court—actually test their argument by seeking to void that pact in a court of law.

John-Williams, in an affidavit, argued that: “on the basis of legal advice received, the TTFA does not acknowledge and/or recognise either the CFU agreement or the Traffic agreement as binding and enforceable upon it.”

However, Dean-Armorer’s verdict now blocks the TTFA from allowing any other party—whether directly or indirectly—to enjoy the rights that Telemundo acquired from Traffic, or to in any way hinder Telemundo from enjoying those rights.

Photo: Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president Gordon Derrick (second from left) is sandwiched by TTFA president David John-Williams (second from right) and TTFA employee Sharon O'Brien (far left) before the CFU Under-17 final on 25 September 2016 at the Ato Boldon Stadium. John-Williams tried unsuccessfully to replace Derrick as CFU president on 23 July 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president Gordon Derrick (second from left) is sandwiched by TTFA president David John-Williams (second from right) and TTFA employee Sharon O’Brien (far left) before the CFU Under-17 final on 25 September 2016 at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
John-Williams tried unsuccessfully to replace Derrick as CFU president on 23 July 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

However, she has left a door open to the TTFA’s request that Telemundo should place a sum in an interest-bearing account of the court which “represents the minimum value that ought to be payable to the TTFA for the broadcast rights of these games which the TTFA will seek to enforce as against Traffic and the CFU in the proper forum so that the root of the fraud which the claimant refers to as the ‘chain of contracts’ can be unravelled in the best interest of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Hamel-Smith, after speaking with his client, promised tell the court if Telemundo is prepared to do so and what sum would they find agreeable. All parties should meet again to discuss the matter at 3pm tomorrow.

“I think it is a common sense decision,” said Hamel-Smith, of Dean-Armorer’s decision.

John-Williams also put on a brave face.

“This does not faze me,” the TTFA president told Wired868.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 15 years experience at several local and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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54 comments

  1. It is also instructive to note that Telemundo filed suit against Elite Soccer and Felicidades in Federal Court in Miami on March 17, 2017. Three days later on March 20, 2017 Telemundo filed a Motion with the Court to Dismiss the suit and mark it as settled.

    So what is the significance of this? Well the suit alleged that the two companies, with the encouragement of the TTFA were interfering with the contractual rights of Telemundo. While the details are not available, a settlement this quick suggests that Elite Soccer and Felicidades quickly came to their senses and have abandoned their efforts to shop the TV rights to TNT games, leaving intact Telemundo’s contractual rights.

    It suggests that the TTFA is now alone in pursuing this quixotic quest to upend the contract and that Telemundo, Elite Sports and Felicidades are all in agreement. Given that Telemundo is still fighting the case, it suggests that all three are in agreement that the TTFA is in the wrong. Judge Dean-Armorer’s ruling adds judicial imprimatur to that notion. If the TTFA were properly being advised their counsel would advise them to comply with the injunction. But David Jack Warner, never a fan of common sense, declares himself unfazed by the legal writings on the wall.

  2. When is the contract up for renewal?

  3. scratches off “CFU” and puts “CBI” and squints….
    #HMMMMMMMMMMM

  4. As expected other than the judge request to escrow “minimum value” compensation. The minimun value seems to open the door for Telemundo give enough to cover both legal fees plus 20%(ambitious) on what TTFa are getting if you agree to stop these actions. Throwing TTFA a bone is peanuts for them and might buy goodwill going forward.

  5. ..He “not fazed”. Poor judgement. Wasted money. He “not fazed”. Typical..

    • To be fair, injunctive relief was sought and obtained by Telemondo so it was not a waste of money. This is not the end of the
      matter as far as my understanding is of issues raised in the injunction. I do support action to void the contract if it was obtained by fraud. Let’s see how this play out. More may be exposed with the CFU and tv rights.

    • Lester Logie if they believed the Mexico game was a cash pot, why not void CFU deal in court of law in time? They had almost a year.
      They lost. The prize was TV rights for game hosting Mexico and Telemundo keeps that.

  6. Ok so does this mean I’ll be able to watch both games on Telemundo here in the US? Or have to rely on these heart-attack-commentary comedians on the friggin radio??

  7. fishy sports administrators with back door dealings

  8. Ttfa was right however the judge making Telemundo to deposit that sum of money is a small relief

    • The money does not go into a TTFA account and the figure is undecided. How is TTFA right?

    • The money could be sued for by TTFA on a later date showing that because of corruption they were denied proper revenue

    • The previous contracts have been shown to be Tainted by corruption hence TTFA is right to question the validity of the contracts

    • The Judge systematically took apart virtually every grounds argued by the TTFA. If the TTFA believes in its case, it had over a year to take the CFU or Traffic to court. Let’s see if they do that.

    • You didn’t show the judge doing that in the article so im only responding to the article because I wasn’t there in the courtroom

    • But the funds bring set aside is a great judgement

    • Basically the judge showed she couldn’t properly decided the matter but allowed recourse

    • You said yesterday the ttfa would win. They lost emphatically.

    • In a common sense transparent law abiding country ttfa would have won

    • It was not an emphatic loss

      Ttfa could still sue

    • and waste more money, what the gal fees are

    • This was an injunction brought by Telemondo to stop others from broadcasting our next two games at home. In my opinion the correct decision was made because of time constraints and the TTFA having allowed broadcasts of previous games. The substantive issue involving the contract between CFU and Traffic, which may make Telemodo contract with Traffic and the TTFA contract with CFU voidable, has yet to be adjudicated on. Based on guilty pleas already entered by parties to this contract,from an outsider looking in, our TTFA has a case to pursue. It is my opinion that the TTFA should take that contract to court to make the others voidable or obtain compensation, if our share of the broadcast revenue was given away for a pittance in exchange for the personal enrichment of a few!

    • Lester you just explained how the ttfa blew it. They had a case but instead of pursuing it, they tried to achieve it in this odd manner. And failed.
      Mexico is the prize match. It’s gone now.

    • Its probably the best decision as the potential damage of TTFA is easier to quantify as compared to the potentially larger less easier quantified loss to Telemundo and follows the principle set out by Lord Diplock in the American Cyamid case., where the basic principle would be to consider if TTFA lost here but won at the trial can they be compensated,as opposed to if Telemundo lost, now but won at the trial can they be compensated. The forum non conveniens contractual provision is a no go as the substantive issue can stil be litigated in the proper forum, assuming of course that TTFA is itself bound by that contract.

    • Well put Christopher. You know your onions.

    • the mere fact that TTFA ended up is such a situation shows incompetence in hthe administration of d game here again….simpe…case closed…and we ehh neeed no High Court Judge to tell we that…

    • Christopher Lewis is correct. This is an interim injunction. Based on the documents filed the judge was satisfied that Telemundo has an arguable case. Of course at this early stage the case has not fully developed. It is open once the case fully develops and is heard that the court may have been wrong to have granted the injunction causing the ttfa to suffer loss. It is a requirement when obtaining an interim injunction that the party gives an undertaking in damages, where they undertake to pay damages in the event it is found that they were not entitled to the injunction. Because Telemundo is a foreign company, presumably having no assets here, instead of obtaining the undertaking the judge requires money to be paid into court so as to ensure the undertaking is not rendered unenforceable. The fact that Telemundo is required to make a payment into court is linked to the fact that they are out of the country and is not necessarily an indication that they have a weak case.

    • Quite right too Nanga. And bear in mind that, to date, the ttfa has not actually tried to invalidate its contract anywhere.

    • What does that tell you about how they view their own case or how ethical their fight is?

  9. Can the decision be appealed???