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TTFF: Warner has the money

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) today insisted that Works Minister and ex-FIFA Vice President Jack Warner was the sole arbiter of its World Cup revenue and it did not have the funds to honour its debt of $4.6 million to the 2006 World Cup players.

The figure represented the second interim payment awarded by Justice Devindra Rampersad which was due to the 13 “Soca Warriors” on 18 October 2011. The players successfully sued the TTFF and its former President Oliver Camps for unpaid bonuses from the country’s historic appearance at the 2006 World Cup tournament in Germany.

As a result of the unpaid debt, the TTFF’s head office at 43 Dundonald Street, Port of Spain was closed today and all removable assets were seized following instructions by the High Court.

Four World Cup players, Brent Sancho, Cyd Gray, Anthony Wolfe and David Atiba Charles, turned up at the TTFF office at around 10 am today with a court-appointed marshall and 15 policemen to execute the order.

Photo: 2006 World Cup players (from left to right) Cyd Gray, Anthony Wolfe and David Atiba Charles are still awaiting promised bonuses from the TTFF.
(Courtesy Patricia “Brownsugar” Smart)

Acting TTFF President Lennox Watson asked for an hour’s grace to find the money, which was granted. But Watson was unable to source the cash within the agreed time frame.

KFC Munch Pack

“The TTFF had hoped that 2006 World Cup Local Organizing Committee (LOC) accounts of which Mr. Warner was the sole arbiter,” stated the TTFF release, “would have been reconciled and payments would have been made to the players. This unfortunately has not occurred.

“The TTFF on its own does not have the resources to fulfill this request for such payment.”

The release was sent by TTFF Press Officer Shaun Fuentes but did not carry the signature of Watson or his General Secretary Richard Groden. Fuentes said the release was “a general statement by the TTFF” following discussions between Executive Committee members and Anthony Harford, the CEO of sport marketing company All Sports Promotions.

The release further stated that the homeless football body would “continue to function as the elected governing body for football” based on financial assurances from Sport Minister Anil Roberts.

Sport Minister Anil Roberts (left) and ex-TTFF President Oliver Camps

“The TTFF will continue its operations with focus of the National Under-23 Men’s team and U-17 Women’s team which goes into World Cup qualification in May,” stated the release. “Funds for these two teams have been guaranteed by the Ministry of Sport and therefore their programs will be continued…

“The TTFF will also continue its FA Trophy competition and will host the Draw for the Round of 8 tomorrow.”

The TTFF release also acknowledged that the World Cup players had “exercised their legal rights”. The football body promised to address the media from 4.30 pm tomorrow at the Harvard Sports Club after an emergency meeting of its Executive Committee.

Warner, who brokered the bonus agreement with the World Cup players in his former capacity as special advisor, is due to supply the High Court on Friday with written accounts of “all income, donations, gifts, grants or benefits whatsoever and all expenditure” arising from the Germany 2006 World Cup.

The TTFF, Camps and the World Cup players are due to return to court next Tuesday on 14 February.

The TTFF Executive Committee has routinely missed court appearances and attorney Om Lalla suggested that Groden might have had trouble finding the court room when the parties were before Justice Rampersad on 12 January 2012.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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  1. Finally our players got the balls to stand up against the exploitation of our players, the game and our country. This should have been done many years ago but the problem with our players is that they love to play for our country even if they were getting a box of chicken and chips while Jack Warner and Oliver Camps was reaping the benefits. When I formed the Players Association in Brooklyn in 1993 it was for only one reason to take those to court… A few years ago I organized a meeting with Brent Sancho and a few players and told them that it is time you all formed the Players Association in TNT which was needed because of the kind of monies that were given by FIFA and also Jack Warner was making from the TV rights. Thank GOD they listened and today they made me feel proud that they did , but now the Association has to be up and running for the younger players that will be representing in the future. I still say that Brent Sancho is the one who should be doing so because Shaka Hislop has to much on his plate with regards to his family and his new job with ESPN and he lives abroad. I believe there will better Transperancy and Accountability when this is done.