The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) vowed today to “continue uninterrupted” in the face of potential bankruptcy proceedings by one of its major creditors, the 2006 World Cup players.
The TTFA revealed, in a press release today, that it owes the “Soca Warriors” US$1.9 million from a total payment of US$3.1 million. And the football body suggested that money meant for development from CONCACAF or FIFA will be used to meet the debt.
However, rather than say when the players will be paid, the local football body instead warned the Chaconia Silver medal winners that it would: “not be intimidated by the threats and personal attacks that have defined the approach some of the 2006 players have taken over the past several months.”
Most tellingly, the release—which was not signed by either the football president Raymond Tim Kee, who is also the Port of Spain Mayor, or general secretary Sheldon Phillips—confirmed what many football fans feared; the TTFA has no intention of attempting to recover over $100 million in lost revenue that apparently was never relayed to the football body by its former special advisor Jack Warner.
“The TTFA would also like to address other erroneous assertions attributed to the 2006 player case,” stated the release, “namely the narrative that our organization has the ability to target past leaders and advisors of the former TTFF to recoup $100 million in funds accumulated during the 2006 World Cup campaign.
“Firstly, even if the TTFA was inclined to engage in an expensive and resource-draining legal battle to recover any amount of funds from the 2006 world cup campaign, the statute of limitations to engage in such an endeavor expired some time ago.”
Although the release was unsigned, it listed figures owed to the Warriors—which was previously kept silent out of consideration for the safety of the players—without identifying it as US currency, which could mean that Phillips, an American citizen with a legal background, may be its author.
Phillips, if he indeed authored the release, did not say why he described spending even a few million on legal fees with the intention of recouping well in excess of $100 as “resource-draining.” And he did not explain or give a date for the supposed expiration of the statute of limitation in this case.
Warner, an employee of the TTFA, was ordered by the football body to produce all relevant documentation related to 2006 World Cup revenue by 14 February 2012 so it could be relayed to the High Court. He refused; and Justice Devindra Rampersad immediately advised the TTFA to sue Warner.
The TTFA’s realisation that something untoward might have occurred with its finances therefore, arguably, happened two years ago, which is well within the four-year period for statute of limitations in such cases. Even if the statute of limitation had expired but a TTFA audit found new evidence of wrongdoing, the football body would have the option of appealing to a Judge to hear the case.
In short, the football body did not offer convincing evidence as to why it does not chase millions in missing revenue nor where it intends to find the money from to pay creditors.
But Tim Kee and Phillips have now admitted for the first time that, despite their boasts of a new era of transparency and accountability, they have no intention of righting the wrong done to the local game during Tim Kee’s tenure as vice-president of the Warner-led Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF).
The TTFA release went on to list its various programs to suggest that football was in good hands. Several of their claims were either exaggerated, incorrect or impossible to gauge since they had not yet occurred.
Tim Kee and Phillips claimed, for instance, that, under their watch, the Soca Warriors enjoyed “the most amount of international football played since the build up to the 2006 World Cup.”
In fact, the Warriors played 14 matches in 2013; which was the identical number of outings they made in 2012, despite being virtually bankrupt and suffering from an acrimonious relationship with Sport Minister Anil Roberts. And, in 2008, the Warriors played 28 times.
The release further pointed out that the TTFA had included Central FC managing director Brent Sancho in its women’s football program, Shaka Hislop on its Independent Football Reform Commission and David Atiba Charles in its coordination of its upcoming charter to Argentina.
It is uncertain whether this meant to be a pat on its back by the TTFA or a suggestion that the World Cup players should be more grateful.
In January, Tim Kee suggested that he had to option to cheat the World Cup players of their due altogether by closing down the football body and starting a new one. It brought a sharp rebuke at the time from Sancho.
The TTFA did not repeat that threat in its release today. But, in its heading “Football Uninterrupted”, Tim Kee and Phillips made it clear that they are not worried by anything the World Cup players might do.