Home / Volley / Global Football / Gov’t negotiates Gold Cup feed; Sancho, TTFA discuss Pan Am bacchanal

Gov’t negotiates Gold Cup feed; Sancho, TTFA discuss Pan Am bacchanal

Sport Minister Brent Sancho revealed today that the Government hopes to acquire live feeds for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup in time for Trinidad and Tobago’s opening match against Guatemala on Thursday July 9.

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago national football team celebrates a goal against El Salvador during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago national football team celebrates a goal against El Salvador during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Sancho, a former 2005 Gold Cup and 2006 World Cup player, promised, earlier in his tenure, to allow the Trinidad and Tobago public to see their sport teams in action on local television. And he hopes to start with the Gold Cup.

“I am still talking to the different parties and we know there is interest from different (corporate companies),” Sancho told Wired868. “We would like to make sure the public can see these games live so we are working on making it a reality. It is of high importance that we work out a reasonable deal to have it shown.

“And not just football, we want to get most of our sport shown in Trinidad (and Tobago) so our public can see what our national teams are doing.

“I think it gives our athletes and sports a good market to hopefully inveigle corporate sponsorship. And it transcends down to the young ones who can see their heroes perform on the world stage.”

But it was a rare spot of good news for football as disharmony between the Sport Ministry and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) again affected the preparation of its national teams.

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre), ex-2006 World Cup player Brent Sancho (right) and TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips address the media during a happy moment between the trio in 2013. Sancho was announced as the Sport Minister in February 2015. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre), ex-2006 World Cup player Brent Sancho (right) and TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips address the media during a happy moment between the trio in 2013.
Sancho was announced as the Sport Minister in February 2015.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Yesterday, the Trinidad and Tobago National Women’s Senior Team and National Men’s Under-23 Team both left for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, which officially starts on July 10.

But it was a matter of problems postponed rather than solved as the TTFA and Sport Ministry remain at loggerheads over match fees promised to footballers while mismanagement and distrust continues to hamper the respective teams.

Key to the current rift, which led to a threatened boycott by the “Women Soca Warriors”, was match fees of US$500 per game that was promised to both teams.

But, as the two teams prepared to depart, the TTFA could only assure the players of US$600 each for the entire three week competition.

It prompted a furious social media response from star attacker Kennya “Yaya” Cordner and a threatened boycott from her teammates.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Kennya Cordner (right) tries to escape a challenge from Ecuador right back Ingrid Rodriquez during their FIFA Play Off second leg meeting in Port of Spain on 2 December 2014. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Kennya Cordner (right) tries to escape a challenge from Ecuador right back Ingrid Rodriquez during their FIFA Play Off second leg meeting in Port of Spain on 2 December 2014.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips described the episode as a misunderstanding and suggested that the Women Warriors erroneously thought they were not due match fees.

“There were some players who thought that was it,” Phillips told Wired868, “and we said that is what we would be able to source (at the moment).”

It took an assurance from the Sport Minister to team captain Maylee Attin-Johnson to placate the women.

“My first concern was making sure we got them on the plane,” said Sancho. “Sheldon apparently told the girls not to go on the plane and wait for us to meet to sort it out, which didn’t make sense because they would have missed their flight…

“I said to get on the plane and we will sort it out.”

Phillips retorted that his suggestion was for a morning meeting, which would not have jeopardised the team’s travel plans.

More importantly though, Sancho’s promise did not necessarily address the issue since, according to the Sport Minister, he did not agree to any specific sum.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister and Senator Brent Sancho. Sancho is a former World Cup 2006 player and CEO of local Pro League club, Central FC. (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister and Senator Brent Sancho.
Sancho is a former World Cup 2006 player and CEO of local Pro League club, Central FC.
(Courtesy SPORTT)

“First, we have to get a full scope of what is happening,” said Sancho. “We have to sit with a representative of the TTFA… We don’t know if we can meet their demands.

“We have to make sure the taxpayers’ dollars are used appropriately.”

TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee reiterated that the players only hope for match fees lay with the Government.

“Yes, the match fees will come down to the (Sport) Ministry,” said Tim Kee.

Both sides lay bare their misgivings about the other party and there was a hint that, even if the Pan American teams receive their due, future national football teams might suffer for the TTFA’s perceived brinksmanship.

“I am drawing the line in the sand,” said Sancho, who suggested that the TTFA was less than forthright about its true financial situation. “This is it (and) it is going to have a ripple effect on the other teams. We want to try our best to make the athletes happy but this is a song that has been playing for donkey years…

“If one party is seemingly not operating in the most honest way, then we have a problem.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago right back Shannon Gomez (right) battles for possession against Cuba during the 2014 Under-20 Caribbean Cup. Gomez is a member of the 2015 Pan American Games team. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago right back Shannon Gomez (right) battles for possession against Cuba during the 2014 Under-20 Caribbean Cup.
Gomez is a member of the 2015 Pan American Games team.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Sancho claimed the TTFA was due a CONCACAF payment of US$100,000, which was meant to prepare the National Senior Men’s Team for the 2015 Gold Cup. But, he said, the sum had not been mentioned in multiple discussions between the two parties.

“They told us that they only had $13,000 (TT) in their account so they couldn’t pay for visas for the Under-23 Team,” said Sancho “but one of the challenges we have is gauging what they have and what they don’t have because we got information that they received $100,000 US from CONCACAF.

“Then, when they knew we were aware of it, they said they would get the money at the end of July. Then, when we asked why preparatory money would only be available after the tournament, they came back and said they would get it by the end of the week.

“It is hard to keep up with the stories.”

Tim Kee countered that the CONCACAF payment had been affected by chaos enveloping the governing body, whose president Jeffrey Webb is fighting an extradition request by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).

Photo: CONCACAF president Jeff Webb (right) has a word with FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Photo: CONCACAF president Jeff Webb (right) has a word with FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

He claimed the preparation funding would usually be available to teams before the Gold Cup but that was not the case on this occasion. The TTFA, he said, made a special request for some funds before the competition.

“When these things happened in Zurich the other day, there was a lot of panic in CONCACAF and people being sent home and so on,” said Tim Kee. “We applied to CONCACAF for some of that money as a loan and that is where we got $330,000 US from…

“They limited the maximum we could get to one third and that is compromising their own laws because they are very strict about (associations) getting something for one purpose and using it for something else.

“But they are fully aware of the challenges we face and they have compromised…”

Sancho insisted that the TTFA never submitted a specific request for match fees for its Pan American Teams.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (centre) signals during their 1-0 FIFA Play Off defeat to Ecuador in Port of Spain on December 2. Looking on are teammates Arin King (left) and Kennya Cordner. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (centre) signals during their 1-0 FIFA Play Off defeat to Ecuador in Port of Spain on December 2.
Looking on are teammates Arin King (left) and Kennya Cordner.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“The TTFA submitted budgets for about 10 different teams when we first met,” said Sancho. “Since then, we have met with (TTFA official William) Wallace and Sheldon (Phillips), Wallace and (Senior Team coach Stephen) Hart, Wallace alone, Wallace and Tim Kee…

“Every time they came in, they were asking for different things. First, it would be flights, then flights and hotels, then a game was on and then off.

“These are the kind of things we have to deal with… They sent in an overall budget for all the teams but the cases change over time.

“They have to have specific requests for specific teams to access money. And from my knowledge, we didn’t have anything specific for the women’s team.”

Tim Kee conceded that the TTFA did not make an official request for the Women Warriors. However, Phillips suggested that the Sport Ministry was partly culpable for the budget changes referenced by the Minister.

Photo: Sport Minister Brent Sancho (centre) pays a visit to Bourg Mulatresse. (Courtesy SPORTT Company)
Photo: Sport Minister Brent Sancho (centre) pays a visit to Bourg Mulatresse.
(Courtesy SPORTT Company)

“The adjustments in the budget are based on the continual shift in what we were told we had access to,” said Phillips. “It is very difficult to plan when this is happening. We are trying to create revenue streams that will lessen that dependence but that will take some time…

“The latest narrative we are getting from the Sport Ministry is NGOs don’t get their full subvention. So you present us with what we are authorised to get and we do our budget based on what you gave to us. And then at the eleventh hour, you tell us NGOs don’t get their full subvention…

“It has been an ongoing conversation and we will continue to sit with the (Sport Ministry) to sort things out.”

The overriding issue, of course, is the TTFA’s failure to raise money to fund its own teams.

“They have to take a long hard look at themselves and how they raise money,” said Sancho. “To sit down and wait for taxpayers’ money is ludicrous. We have lots of other sporting bodies who don’t have FIFA and CONCACAF money and they make it work and raise their own money.

“They need to tailor their plans according to the money they have. The Government is supposed to assist with a shortfall (so) if you have money coming in, then you use it.

“Cricket and everyone else seems to manage without issue or find ways of getting round their shortfalls. This is the only body we have this problem with.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and general secretary Sheldon Phillips. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and general secretary Sheldon Phillips.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Just over a month ago, the TTFA requested match fees of US$1,000 for the Under-23 Men’s Team. The Sport Ministry retorted that it would pay no more than half the match fees requested for all national football teams.

So, the TTFA promised the Under-23 Men’s Team US$500 match fees instead. But an agreement was not reached with the Sport Ministry.

The Women Warriors then threatened to boycott the Pan Am competition unless they received equal pay with the Under-23 Men’s Team.

So now both teams have promises with no guarantor. And the TTFA and Sport Ministry continue to glare at each other with distrust and apprehension.

Sancho accused the TTFA of trying to hold the Sport Ministry over a barrel.

“It seems like we are always outing fires before we could even enter into negotiations with them,” said Sancho. “Because they agree match fees and stipends (with their players) and then throw them at us. I don’t know what the final arrangement was for the (TTFA) and the (Pan Am) players so there is a lot to happen before we get to (the promise to the Women Warriors).

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players Kennya Cordner (right) and Anique Walker head for the dressing room after their 1-0 FIFA 2015 Women's Cup Play Off second leg defeat to Ecuador on December 2 in Port of Spain. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players Kennya Cordner (right) and Anique Walker head for the dressing room after their 1-0 FIFA 2015 Women’s Cup Play Off second leg defeat to Ecuador on December 2 in Port of Spain.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“The main thing is I didn’t want an embarrassment to the country… The (TTFA) made it abundantly clear that they will be getting money from CONCACAF.

“So we will see how that goes and take it from there.”

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and 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.

Check Also

Molino, Jan-Michael and the Garcia and Jones brothers in T&T’s 40-man Gold Cup shortlist

Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Dennis Lawrence is likely to lean heavily on …

80 comments

  1. That’s the thing Rawle Toney. The TTFA can theoretically wait for national players, coaches and parents to cry out in frustration again, put the Sport Ministry under pressure and have them crumble over and over again.
    Will that continue to work? Is there no long term solution?
    Personally, I find that strategy has been so successfully for football that I’m surprised more sporting bodies don’t try it.

  2. But funds can only be disbursed after a budget is presented. The TTFA understands this?

    • That is not what the Cabinet note says… it calls for the production of audits, but does not specify in what order the audits are to be produced. Sancho unilaterally decided audits should be presented first, apparently ignorant to the fact that producing audits is a very time and cost-intensive process.

  3. But Lasana, in the end it’s the players who tasting the bitter side of the stick

  4. There are two sides to it. On the one hand, the TTFA is pointing out that it was promised a certain amount of money and wants to control how it is spent as much as they can.
    Still, it is taxpayers money. So the TTFA has to accept that it cannot tell the Sport Ministry how to spend taxpayers money.
    From there, hopefully middle ground can be found.

    • If you were the sports minister would you trust the TTFA to give them their full allocation and believe they would spend it in a manner that is beneficial for Trinidad and Tobago football clubs and national teams

  5. The TTFA is allowing the Govt to get involved because they refuse to accept financial responsibility for their football, and as with any operation, if one is paying the bills, they want to have some say/control… So again, blame the TTFA for this involvement.

  6. The underlying problem here is the TTFA, regardless of our opinion of the Minister of Sports, he is not the problem…. And as with any politician, and I stress ANY, they will use for political mileage. This however should not be our concerted fight, it should be the TTFA, therein lie our problem

  7. Uncle Earl, doh doubt me, I read this article and I said to myself hhmm, they giving him enough room and spend some money…#Accountability. Who knows eh, they mussee all in it together yes

  8. Dion, they doing it because the saintly TTFA cannot handle their own affairs. Putting aside the ex-sports minister, the people at the top of the TTFA need some good slap

  9. Dion Sosa yuh know that the soon to be ex- sports minister always had his own agendas and we both know that he just love to life above his means eh, so it is all about the millions of monies eh, the same like the corrupted Jack Warner and what is their motto eh. not “We time now” Them really good yes.

  10. First of all why is the govt so involved in the football and want 2 dictate day 2 day activities and now tv rights that’s what the governing football body is there 4 these are the same people who lambase jack for being all powerful now they doing the same thing

  11. Che Abrams yuh preaching really good eh, and nutten will really change with that corrupted TTFA because the corrupted Jack Warner cronies are still in their running the show so you are right the whole organization really needs a serious cleansing. Them really good yes.

  12. As per the TV rights…. Why is Govt getting involved? Firstly, i wonder who owns the Rights currently as a lot of the Warner/Blazer/Traffic Sports fiasco deal a lot with Gold Cup Rights…. The normal process is for tv stations to buy rights, sell advertising and broadcast games, as Brian Springer said, we have had no issues before… Is Sancho saying that no Tv station locally bought or buying the rights? Or is this now some ploy to win favour and votes? From my research, Fox Sports own the rights for our territory, I could be wrong….

  13. You teaching me patience Gordon , I waiting patiently

  14. Savitri Maharaj innocent ppl will can not walk in public again so juat thinking about them!! Since things reach the state of bust files the landscape have changed more than once want to make sure who get bust totally deserve it!!! The time is near do not worry!!

  15. Prince Borde the only reason that happened was because my Americans was trying to hard to score on that cinderella team eh and that was the same thing that happened when the Soca Worries played against Sweden in the 2006 World cup and Sweden was trying very hard to score, if they had made it to their first Women’s World in Canada and met my Americans eh they wudda get about six goals the same a Equador cause they really not ready as yet eh. Them really good yes.

  16. hahaha military men do not need that just clearance to do what they have to!! And i have that already so let them continue with there none sense and think they hush money and marketing contracts will save them!!

  17. Yes Che and if it means giving up some competitions for a while so be it…but it has to start somewhere

  18. Having watched every Gold cup since the tournament started in the early 90’s I cannot recall us ever NOT getting live coverage…even when T&T wasnt involved…so I hope Mr Sancho delivers because I dont want to be scrambling online looking for a live feed Thursday evening.

  19. This is really a lot to digest… Do not even know where to start comments… Firstly TTFA is true to form, hiding financial injections, wanting Govt to take full cost. Despite wanting to see my teams perform and perform well, I am against any Govt having to continuously subsidize the TTFA. The TTFA should be more transparent, operate as a business… We have always heard of how FIFA frowns upon Govt. running football, but if Govt. funding TtT football, then they would want more control over operations. I know I will come across harsh and such, but the TTFA has to go, and the only way is thru players…. The players need to take control, refuse to continue unless this Organization is cleansed….

  20. I wish allyuh would stop talking bout bussing files and do the damn thing yes. Gordon, yuh starting to sound like meh uncle Jack now eh

  21. These are the same girls that only lost by one to the world champs with limited resources

  22. Gordon Pierre leh meh organize a detail of real top notch United Nations Security to protect you when yuh start to buss the real files eh like meh uncle Jack Warner eh, Them really good yes.

  23. Good story Lasana Liburd!!! Who have eyes to see let them see!! Right now i playing chicken with them a** holes waiting for real action so they could back an forth all they want i will show the world what they about!!

  24. Uncle Earl, is not just the footballers eh, is very few people willing to stand up for what they believe in. You see this Farcebook has given people plenty voice and they don’t need action with it…so they good to go…they could talk and type whole day

  25. hahahaha yuh right not me nah.

  26. Dey go buss yuh files uncle! Haha!

  27. Kenneth Ransome and the Captain Maylee Johnson spoke out against the madness that was bestowed upon them in the newspapers eh, when they were neglected and disrespected by that corrupted TTFA and their Coach had to come to the USA and beg the football community for monies to help them eh, and isn’t she still the captain of the team eh? If is one thing I have learn’t never start no bacchanal with no woman nah ent Savitri Maharaj.Them really good yes. hahahaha

  28. I hope we will not have to protect Kennya “Yaya” Cordner! She is probably the most hated person by the TTFA. She showed some testicular fortitude with that tweet, and you know how Trinidadians with title and position react to being challenged by those whom they consider to be of ‘little consequence and should know their place’.

  29. Dedicated to the sports minister, our players and that corrupted TTFA that continues to exploit our players, the sport, and our sweet country. Them really good yes.

  30. Savitri Maharaj why do you think that I am hesitating about meeting with you all about forming the Players Association eh, I don’t really trust our players nah they are to weak and doesn’t really want to stand for anything. Them really good yes.

  31. its sad that Trinidad’s women’s football team; one of the most successful in the Caribbean, are neglected by both their government and National Federation.

  32. Oh Gosh uncle, doh say that nah

  33. Dion Sosa you tooked the words right out my mouth yes, and they will even play for free and just for a box of chicken and chips and a red solo and we call that blind patriotism ent. Them really good yes.

  34. Why allyuh does be beating allyuh else with all this talk nothing is going 2 change unless these idiots stand up and say no more every game or tournament and is the same thing but still they go and play so why allyuh fussing its obvious that they like that shit

  35. Well Uncle Earl, they lying through dem same teeth dey doh have eh

  36. The only time the corrupted TTFA will show any accounts is when corbeaux grow teeth yes auntie Savitri Maharaj Steeuuppss Them really good yes.

  37. Parts of this article have me confused yes….One minute they only have TT13K, the next thing I read is US100K the supposedly get from CONCACAF and then they confirm they actually received US330K….I really want to be the mediator here yes, I could spot the lies from a mile. Can we see the budget and accounts please!

    • In yuh haste to point out the “lies”… yuh miss a few logical steps before arriving at yuh pre-ordained conclusion. Tim Kee never confirmed that he got $330,000 US… CONCACAF agreed to give a third… from the article, hence the $100,000.

  38. Well I guess our Soca Worries won’t be receiving any rewards then, Them really good yes.

  39. Does that means that all the athletes will be receiving these payment rewards after the games?

  40. Saw TTOC released a payment reward structure for the Pan Am games

  41. Yuh see what I am speaking about Gordon Pierre and Dion Sosa eh, and you want Mr. Live Wire not to be blunt eh, and I should be giving good vibes all the time eh, well all these players are like my own sons and daughters eh, and if is bacchanal they want let them continue exploiting our players. That corrupted TTFA and their continuous lying about how much monies that they have in the bank really needs to stop and get their acts together and stop always depending on the government. Steeuuppss Them really good yes. Savitri Maharaj

  42. Can’t take the back and forth with the teams suffering. Why hasn’t anyone suggested an arbitrator of some type step in to help develop a short to medium to long term relationship framework?? No professional organization, ministry or ttfa, should continually operate this way…

  43. These girls and guys should boycott the tournament until full amounts are paid and blast them on social media. That way the world sees how Inept our sports management is conducting national business

  44. CONCACAF is “very strict about (associations) getting something for one purpose and using it for something else.” Who knew!

  45. “Free”?……………………with a catch.

  46. “Cricket and everyone else seems to manage without issue or find ways of getting round their shortfalls. This is the only body we have this problem with.”

    I suppose that wasn’t a convenient time to bring up the fact that the NGC signed a $13 million dollar sponsorship deal with Red Steel… which is foreign owned?? Or that a senior NGC official reportedly told Tim Kee that gov’t have no interest in football because “dem people doh wear yellow”? Inconvenient time to ask that?

    As for the TV rights issue… it’s kinda laughable, really. TTFA dragging their feet on getting it done, so Sanko jumping een like ah carnival band. Apparently nobody bothered to tell him that the government cannot negotiate rights to something it doesn’t own.

  47. The most popular sport in the world, generating billions in revenue and in Trinidad they’re beggars. Putting Jack aside, do they know how to generate income for this sport? There are no initiatives except to beg every time. What money is being given from the kit sponsor? Why not design a kit that the public can identify with, of quality, and some of the money spent on Barcelona Chelsea and Real Madrid replicas could go in their coffers.
    A frigging car raffle to raise funds, highlight concessions (tax breaks) that are given to corporate sponsors, tap that glut of foreign football goodwill that our nationals have built over the years to bring in teams to attract crowds or send our teams. But most of all LOVE the game and its people. And finally when we start to accomplish something STOP being greedy!!!

  48. Lord have mercy….after reading through all of this…all I can say, is a few villages missing their idiots.