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Discussion: Should Sport Ministry pay footballers alone at Pan Am Games?

The Ministry of Sport has promised to pay match fees to the National Men’s Under-23 and Senior Women’s Team football players but not over 100 other athletes that will also represent Trinidad and Tobago at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.

So should they?

Photo: The "Women Soca Warriors" enjoy a good result during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: The “Women Soca Warriors” enjoy a good result during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s (TTFA) habit of tearing into the taxpayers’ purse has been a sore spot for other local National Sporting Organisations (NSO) for a long time.

Predictably then, there were some angry “letters to the Editor” in response to news that Sport Minister Brent Sancho promised match fees to footballers while the other athletes, including former champions and Olympic medalists like Keshorn Walcott, George Bovell III and Jehue Gordon, would perform for national pride at the Pan Am Games.

Match fees are customary for “Soca Warriors” and, of late, “Women Soca Warriors” and the problem arises only because the TTFA is unable to pay its own athletes.

As such, Wired868 gives sport fans a chance to have their say.

Should the Ministry of Sport pay footballers to play at the Pan Am Games at the same time the other athletes go unpaid?

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago track star Jehue Gordon won gold at the 2013 IAAF World Championship in Moscow. (Courtesy Christianstt.com)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago track star Jehue Gordon won gold at the 2013 IAAF World Championship in Moscow.
(Courtesy Christianstt.com)

Please write in and let us know.

The following is the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee’s (TTOC) full roster for the 2015 Pan American Games, which will be led by Chef de Mission Diane Henderson:

Athletics: Keston Bledman, Marcus Duncan, Rondel Sorrillo, Mikel Thomas, Emmanuel Callender, Dan-Eil Telsford, Kyle Greaux, Machel Cedenio, Emanuel Mayers, Elton Walcott, Steve Waithe, Quincy Wilson, Emmanuel Stewart, Shakeil Waithe, Renny Quow, Jarrin Solomon, Lalonde Gordon, Jehue Gordon, Keshorn Walcott, Kelly- Ann Baptiste, Semoy Hackett, Reyare Thomas, Kamaria Durant, Lisa Wickham, Peli Alzola, Janeil Belille, Romona Modeste, Jessica James, Alena Brooks, Sparkle McKnight, Josanne Lucas, Ayanna Alexander, Deandra Daniel, Cleopatra Borel and Marsha Mark Baird;

Aquatics: George Richard Bovell III, Dylan Carter,Christian Marzden;

Badminton: Nicholas Bonkowsky;

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago Government feted gold medalist Keshorn Walcott on his return from the London 2012 Olympics.
Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago Government feted gold medalist Keshorn Walcott on his return from the London 2012 Olympics.

Beach Volleyball: Daneil Williams, Fabien Whitfield, Ayana Dyette, Malika Davidson;

Boxing: Chimere Taylor;

Cycling: Njisane Phillip, Quincy Alexander, Jude Codrington, Justin Roberts, Varun Maharajh, Emile Abraham;

Football (Men): Aaron Enill, Shannon Gomez, Maurice Ford, Alvin Jones, Jesus Perez, Neveal Hackshaw, Jomal Williams, Tristan Hodge, Nathaniel Garcia, Ricardo John, Shackiel Henry, Xavier Rajpaul, Duane Muckette, Jelani Felix, Neil Benjamin, Dario Holmes, Aikim Andrews, Jovan Sample;

Football (Women): Kennya Cordner, Tasha St Louis, Karyn Forbes, Kimika Forbes, Maylee Attin-Johnson, Rhea Belgrave, Janine Francois, Arin King, Patrice Superville, Dernelle Mascall, Mariah Shade, Khadidra Debesette, Ayanna Russell, Ahkeela Mollon, Brianna Ryce, Shalette Alexander, Lauryn Hutchinson, Shenelle Henry;

Golf: Monifa Sealy, Christina Ferreira, Talin Rajendranath, Sachin Kumar;

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago swim star George Bovell III.
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago swim star George Bovell III.

Gymnastics: William Albert, Marisa Dick;

Hockey: Darren Cowie, Solomon Eccles, Shaquille Daniel, Mickel Pierre, Akim Toussaint, Che Modeste, Christopher Scipio, Dillet Gilkes, Jordon Reyos, Aidan De Gannes, Kiel Murray, Stefan Mouttet, Tariq Marcano, Andrey Rocke, Kristien Emmanuel, Ishmael Campbell;

Judo: Christopher George;

Sailing: Andrew Lewis, Kelly-Ann Arrindell;

Shooting: Marlon Moses, Anthony Maraj, Roger Daniel;

Taekwondo: Dorian Alexander.

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago national men's hockey team in action at the 2013 Pan American Cup. T&T took bronze despite almost missing the competition due to late funding from the Ministry of Sport. (Courtesy panamhockey.org)
Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago national men’s hockey team in action at the 2013 Pan American Cup.
T&T took bronze despite almost missing the competition due to late funding from the Ministry of Sport.
(Courtesy panamhockey.org)

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80 comments

  1. Earl Best

    Paula,
    I think you’re being more than a little unfair to Bruce. He was not speaking for all management staff; he was referring specifically to the management staff that was in charge of the 2006 World Cup squad. Anywhere in the world you’d have to be a very foolish man to put your head on a block for other officials involved in football. In a corrupt country like T&T, that’s beyond foolish – and Bruce is certainly not a fool!

  2. There are too many incidences that suggest corruption in the TTFA is rampant and that leadership as wells management performance are sub-standard. Most disappointing was the manner in which the ‘excursion’ to Argentina by the Soca Warriors during which and prior to the event funds dispersed to assure the event was properly financed/covered disappeared or should I say misappropriated or compromised. Additionally, who is most important to travel for such event? Is it not the players with their goal keeper and their coach(es)? However, TTFA leadership, the President and his wife and T&T permanent secretary for tourism arrive in Argentina minus the soca warriors’ keeper and others more essential. That’s not caring your our players that is disrespecting our players. Putting those with clout, name and title ahead of the players was wrong. The TTFA management and leadership needs to be revamped. TTFA management/leadership failed big time and this week they failed again. If one of you is corrupt and you turn a blind eye to such, all of you are corrupt.

  3. Our management staff of the Soca Warriors in 2005-2006 were certainly not enriched beyond the players by any means. We made sure that the players were always the focus of our attention and were taken care of extremely well. You are free to ask any of them. Do not paint all management staff with a tainted brush. I worked with some great guys on the staff and we were not driven by money or attention. We did it for our country without reservation. The staff attached to the national team are selfless people who just require leadership consistent with their values. Not selfish incompetent people.

  4. Well said Kenneth Ransome. Them really good yes.

  5. Trinidadian sportsmen and women always allow those in authority, and those with title, position and name to run all over them. Those in authority getting rich and the sportsmen and women playing their hearts out for pittance.

  6. But they played their hearts out to get a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica. Great result for them. Let us hope that our boys can motivate themselves and get a good result tomorrow.

  7. And that isn’t the first time my JA footballers boycotted their corrupted Football Federation nah, and the Federation always come through with their demands because my JA players don’t stick like our Soca Worries and take whatever that corrupted TTFA does to them and they still puts on the uniform and plays for our sweet country. Them really good yes.

  8. So it’s not just the TTFF that making open air promises. Jamaican footballers boycotted a team practice cause they weren’t paid despite promises made.

  9. i don’t agree with TTGOV paying match fees. if TTFA cannot foot the bill—for whatever reasons (and there are many) then the players have to face the fact that they are playing under a bankrupt organisation and make up their mind to either play or not play. very few teams have mandatory “match fees” in their structure.

  10. football is now d new sport..

  11. …tough call…in the past it was for pride and awards…like naming a jet after the athlete won a gold medal..but I see nothing wrong in rewarding top performances with money…I am sure many countries in the world do the same for their athletes..

  12. How come the T&T Cricket Board does not have these problems? Arguably the biggest administrated sport here.

  13. Hi Ato, how are you doing? Have not seen Guy for quite a while. I agree that the elite athlete funding is not what it should be and some more acceptable arrangements need to be in place to have athletes strive for excellence. We need to understand that individual athletes need to be incentivized differently to team sport players. Maybe one day we will get it right. Regards.

  14. Dion Sosa, it is quite unfair of you to call the players whiners. There was an agreed structure of rewards signed off by Mr. Warner on behalf of the TTFF. All the guys were asking is for the TTFF to honor the terms of their contract.
    If you had a contract with a club or a player and fulfilled your side of the contract and did not get paid, would that be acceptable to you????

  15. Interesting point about the elite athlete fund. I do know there are many more positive stories to be found in athletics than football.
    It is remarkable how many athletes we have who are ranked in the top 20 in the world.

  16. The elite athlete funding criteria is not an easy standard to meet and has already resulted in the most medals in the country’s history in London, another gold and a medal every year since 1996, all unprecedented. Not equivalent to paying one pan am team and no others.

  17. Everyone should get a per diem. It’s like if you travel for business the company must provide a daily allowance. They should never give some and not all. Everyone should get the same allowance because they are all adults. This is such a simple policy to adopt. You can’t be selective with this..paying some a salary and not others. It’s a national contingent. The athletes have enough to worry about ..money should not be on their minds. A level playing field would help.

  18. Meals and accommodation are already provided for these tournaments. The only thing athletes need are per diem and I don’t think all athletes get either.

  19. All athletes should be paid, including expenses.

  20. I think they should ensure that all the athletes are well taken care of while they are over there. Meals and accommodations should be comfortable. But I don’t see why people should get paid to represent the country. You could reward winners and have pre-arranged incentives so everyone knows what the monetary prizes will be for winning as excellence should always be rewarded. But the idea of getting paid to compete for your country I find is too mercenary.

  21. One must take into consideration the Sport because Track athletes get elite funding… But i do support the idea of a concrete structure for rewarding athletes

  22. Well some sort of compensation and incentive should be given .. Representing T&T the players

  23. For this instance, the government did the right thing to step in. To assure this does not happen again, the TTFA must be re-organized, a new business model developed, new leadership and new qualified and proven management appointed. TTFA, in its current state, is severely under-performing and is negatively affecting the performance of our footballers. Now, for other T&T sportsmen/women in the area of financial support, the waters have been murky for too long, at least 20 years. As a result some ‘elite’ athletes, cyclists, boxers etc were given special attention whilst others qualified for the elite stipend were ignored (note some athletes not qualified for elite status were given elite funds in the past). The Ministry of Sport and the various sporting organizations/associations/committees in T&T (NAAA, TTOC, T&T Cycling Federation, etc) need to be on common ground with this subject to assure fair consideration across the board. Additionally, those responsible for distribution of funds (Permanent Secretaries and the like) must not be the sole decision makers and signatories, must declare all disbursements, must be held accountable for all disbursements, and should be expected to hold firmly to basic accounting practices.

  24. The only reason a lot of them u23 players going 2 play in the pan am games is because they were promised 500 us a game and a per diem also you feel they care about what the results are its all about money but as usual we pay for mediocrity look at them 06 whinners we pay a lot of money 2 a team who won nothing and did not score nothing but a own goal but held ttfa ransom for over 2 million us

  25. Rihanna’s latest offering could be the background music for this post.

  26. Only on Facebook Natasha?? Lol !

  27. It would be good to know what the policy is in other countries. e.g. Jamaica and maybe even Canada

  28. The reality is that the government is doing anything to help ANY of the atlethes for the PanAm games

  29. But uncle u not following hockey is Mikel and then the rest in hockey!! lol
    u know how pierres do it!! lol

  30. Buh A A I see a Mikel Pierre made it on the hockey team to represent our sweet country eh, nice very nice, Gordon Pierre LOL

  31. The athletes taking part in the Pan Am Games should not be paid for participating but they should all get a stipend based on the number of days they will be out of the country . The amount should be the same per day for all the athletes. Then the Medal winners should receive an incentive and that amount should be standardized based on the medal that is won and it should not matter whether it is an individual sport, relay or team sport. If however, the National Football Teams are taking part in a football tournament then the TTFA can pay them or do whatever is standard for that sport. It would not matter because the other sporting disciplines will not be involved.

  32. There are well over 100 athletes in Toronto though. I’m pretty sure the Gov’t cannot afford to give US$500 to all for every appearance.

  33. That’s always been a bone of contention. It’s not only for Panama. Some teams get “salaries ” while in training and in tournaments while others get not one thing. In fact there are countless horror stories that continue to this day of athletes barely getting proper equipment to perform. The situation has been and is patently unfair!

  34. I think if associations are able to afford it and want to give their athletes monetary rewards, then that is great. But I can understand some athletes wondering why some are being paid by the Govt and some aren’t.
    There is no chance that the U-23 men footballers will medal. So special consideration doesn’t apply to me.

  35. Yeah but not all the athlete’s go on to lucrative professional careers hence the reason why many of them eventually ends up on the wrong side of the law especially in the drug trade eh look what happened to the Fab 5 fellas at the university of Michigan eh, perfect example of a system that was put in place against poor black fellas while the rich white kids who are also on the same scholarships never have the same experiences, their business always fix. Them really good yes.

  36. Fair point, however like everything else in T&T things are run terribly and with a lack of accountability stemming from “fren fren”

  37. Either pay all, or pay none. If there is a reward system after they medal, that is a different story.

  38. Yes, colleges make a lot of money off their sports teams. But when you consider that a four year education at a lot of US colleges these days is easily over US$100K, plus athletes can get stipends, and then go on to potentially lucrative professional careers, in the end it’s not a horrendous deal. But that is just the way things work; companies take home millions in profits and some people work for minimum wage. Doesn’t mean it’s right. Just means that’s how it works.

  39. And that is the same madness that takes place with the college sports in the America eh, the schools makes millions of monies while their athletes represents their school on scholarships eh, and the players have to always find monies some other way to help themselves while they are attending these schools and most of the times they come from poor families eh but the NCAA have a set a rules eh, to control them . Them really good yes.

  40. And why they must represent their country for free when everyone body else going to the bank smiling Steeuupps Them really good yes.

  41. Chabeth them days done for representing your country 4 free its all about the money now with most of these athletes 1 way or the other they all want 2 get paid somehow

  42. It would depend on the culture of the sport and the amateur/professional status of the athlete. But ideally, I don’t think people should get paid to represent their country. A reward if you excel sure, but strapping on red white and black and having an entire country cheer you on is an honour. And that notion seems to be sorely missing.

  43. How do we choose who gets paid??

  44. A simple No, once they are not paying the other athletes. Question: What additional value does the footballers give to warrant special compensation? The only payment I support is if they or any other athlete medal in the game. There should be a standard compensation package of medals. It is important to note that athletes get a stipend per day when they are on tour.

  45. Sarcasm clearly is lost on fb… 😐

  46. Chabeth is right you can’t pay all because every person situation maybe different depending on sport and status either pro or amateur

  47. There is a difference between funding an athlete so that he/she can get training, equipment etc etc and paying somebody to represent their country.

  48. And idk maybe athletes could have a little more national pride and want to represent their country for the honour of it. I’m not saying anybody should be treated like crap, but when you go on these teams everything is paid for. So maybe a stipend to buy souvenirs or something. But society degenerates when everything has to be about money.

  49. But you cannot pay just one group

  50. Then divide the scholarship Athletes from the pros, give them a stipend

  51. Liking this convo!! Just remember we have elite athletes in this squad that get 250000 per year from the govt compared to some who scarifice for year without compensation!!

  52. I don’t think you can just have a blanket policy that says pay every athlete. There’s a kid on the aquatics team who is 16 years old. You pay him, you kill his chances of being able to swim at the US collegiate level because he would have violated NCAA rules. Also, the payment culture differs across sports. Footballers have yearly salaries. In other sports, there’s a cup circuit, for example, and when you win, you get prize money. If you don’t win, you get nothing. Either way, if athletes are to be paid it should be from associations’ bank accounts and not ministry funds. And with respect to PanAm in particular, it’s an IOC event and the IOC is supposed to be free from government politics so Idk that it would be appropriate for the government to be paying athletes to attend PanAm.

    • “There’s a kid on the aquatics team who is 16 years old. You pay him, you kill his chances of being able to swim at the US collegiate level because he would have violated NCAA rules.”

      This is actually not the case. There are exceptions to the prohibition, such as payment of “reasonable and necessary costs” associated with the student-athlete’s participation in the sporting activity for which s/he is ‘paid.’ Under this rubric a stipend very likely would be authorized.

  53. SO are you saying Cleopatra Borel does not deserve funding? Or does not show Warrior spirit??

    I can call many other athletes, that show warrior spirit, most of us are football fans, so we back the Ladies, but trust me, Most of all our athletes demonstrate that Spirit

  54. Hmm aren’t there FIFA rules for govt interference?
    If the Organizations were managed properly then financial support and sponsorship would be more forthcoming and such payments would be a non issue.

  55. The individuals and teams that represent Trinidad and Tobago best. For example the Senior Women’s Football team clearly should be paid, when one were to consider their struggle and where they are now. We have individual athletes who benefit from special programs from the Ministry of sports hence they cannot be double dipping. Furthermore the warriors of 2006 WC are the the best example of overpaid losers. It is a joke. Just give the women footballers their space because they are the best examples of warrior spirit, at least 90% have a college or university degree, could you say the same for the men. Your women team are true champions. God Bless

  56. Most athletes don’t get paid to represent their country at say the Olympic Games and so on. In football, players are almost always paid as an international standard.
    In this case, the football body cannot pay its own athletes.
    Should the Gov’t do so is the question…

  57. They get paid to compete? Is that international standards?

  58. Facilities, coaches, etc all the basic needs for athletes should be in place. We might not have the resources to have the most state of the art equipment but the basics never change.

  59. All expenses are already met for this tournament by the organising body. Stipends and match fees are a different matter.

  60. I agree, can’t be saying that you standing for accountability but u bending head over heels for the TTFA while other sporting disciplines suffering

  61. All athletes expenses should be covered and stipends payed no excuses

  62. Why limit it to just Pan Am? Pay every athlete, the same amount of course, that represents the country at an international event, whether junior or senior, individual or team sport, amateur or professional. How about that?

  63. And our sweet country have billions of monies re – Life Sport and Mr. 2 Pull so I agree with Sheldon Scipio. Them really good yes.

  64. No, Pay them all…footballers are not special.

  65. I knew this payment thing would eventually get out a hand.

    Pay All or none

  66. Earl Best

    For me, Ato, Bruce and Mark have said what needs to be said. There should be a clear policy either to pay or not to pay stipends to ALL athletes who represent the country but the policy must treat as well with compulsory rewards for anyone or any team winning a medal. But that speaks to system and organization and system and organization are anathema to our society in general and by and large to our sporting organisations in particular. In related news, did anyone see on the TV6 news that the TTCB has made an annual budget for $30m-plus? Talk about boldface, brother!

  67. Not sure how we deal with this. Individual athletes get grants to prepare for games. In team sports individuals do not get grants. It is quite normal in team sports for players to get per diems and appearance fees. Does this place them in a financial advantage over individuals who receive grants? I am not sure, but certainly there should be some equity in what sportsmen get to represent their country. There should also be across the board incentives to national athletes for bringing home medals and success to our country in International games. I saw first hand how incentives worked for us in Baharain .
    Equal opportunity and equal recognition shoul always be the goal.

  68. No, if the agreement is between the TTFA and the players, the TTFA ought to pay. If they should be getting paid at all is a separate issue. I know the swimmer are not being paid a stipend to attend these Games. And I suspect some other athletes from other sports are also not paid