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Stay away, Sancho! Central FC players protest possible Sancho/Harrison returns

Former Sport Minister Brent Sancho and his advisor Kevin Harrison were subjected to a new low today, as 24 of Central FC’s 29 football players signed a petition that urged their board of directors not to allow them back to the Pro League club.

Photo: Former Sport Minister Brent Sancho (right) greets fellow UNC member Glenn Ramadharsingh on the campaign trail before the September 6 general election.
Photo: Former Sport Minister Brent Sancho (right) greets fellow UNC member Glenn Ramadharsingh on the campaign trail before the September 6 general election.

The petition, which was addressed to “the management of Central FC”, stated that: “We, the players of Central FC, are not in favour of the former management team of Brent Sancho and Kevin Harrison returning to the club with so many allegations outstanding against them.”

The letter was signed by the majority of the squad including: Trinidad and Tobago international senior players Jan-Michael Williams, Willis Plaza, Marcus Joseph and Ataulla Guerra, national youth team players Nicholas Dillon, Nathaniel Garcia and Javon Sample and stand-outs Marvin Oliver, Jamal Jack, Elton John and Jason Marcano.

Sancho and Harrison were founding members of Central FC, three years ago, and continued to be involved in the club’s affairs over the past eight months, despite also working for the People’s Partnership Government as Sport Minister and Advisor to the Sport Minister respectively.

However, a series of exclusive articles on Wired868 showed suspicious behaviour by the pair, which was directly related to their stewardship at the “Couva Sharks.”

Photo: Central FC forward Rundell Winchester (far right) is congratulated by teammates (from left) Jason Marcano, Jamal Jack and Keion Goodridge during a previous Pro League contest. At present, Winchester is on loan to the reserve team of MLS franchise, Portland Timbers. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC forward Rundell Winchester (far right) is congratulated by teammates (from left) Jason Marcano, Jamal Jack and Keion Goodridge during a previous Pro League contest.
At present, Winchester is on loan to the reserve team of MLS franchise, Portland Timbers.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

In one email from Harrison on 27 August 2014, the Englishman asked British football agent Steve Davies to “slip in a personal payment” related to the transfer of Trinidad and Tobago international forward Rundell Winchester to Belgium lower division club, CS Visé, which was to be split between Harrison and Sancho.

Davies rebuffed the request.

CONCACAF also confirmed to Wired868 that, on 16 June 2015, Harrison asked the football confederation to wire money due to the Sharks to Sancho’s personal bank account. CONCACAF’s statement directly contradicted assertions by Sancho, Harrison and Central that the request was made before his appointment as Sport Minister.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has opened a probe into both matters and also asked Sancho and Harrison to explain their behaviour in the signing of then 16 year old attacker Levi Garcia and the alleged non-payment of promised bonuses to Central players.

Sancho and Harrison were given a deadline of Friday September 18 to respond to the local football body.

Photo: Central FC goal scorer Jean-Luc Rochford (front) and his teammates celebrate with the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship trophy. Looking on is then Central FC operations director Kevin Harrison (top left). (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC goal scorer Jean-Luc Rochford (front) and his teammates celebrate with the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship trophy.
Looking on is then Central FC operations director Kevin Harrison (top left).
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“(The players) don’t want Sancho and Harrison back for the reasons that they are unscrupulous and dishonest,” a Central source told Wired868, on the condition of anonymity. “We are hearing that even potential sponsors are concerned about them being involved with the club. The players definitely want no part of them.”

In their petition this morning, the Sharks also hinted at a concern over contracts as they vowed not to be pressured into replacing their existing deals: “The players of Central FC are not prepared to sign new amended contracts to replace our existing agreements with the club.”

A well-placed anonymous source explained that Central players have been asked  by club management to sign new contracts, which make them responsible for paying tax on their income. Thus far, the players have refused.

Central FC is owned by SIS officials Daren Mohamdally and Ronald Ramlogan and Wired868 was reliably informed that they have been trying to sell the club for the past month.

Photo: Central FC players signed a petition this morning that protested the possible return of former club chairman Brent Sancho and operations director Kevin Harrison.
Photo: Central FC players signed a petition this morning that protested the possible return of former club chairman Brent Sancho and operations director Kevin Harrison.

It is uncertain whether SIS’ apparent haste to abandon the Sharks is due to the September 7 election results—SIS is a major financier of the United National Congress (UNC)—or the recent revelations about the conduct of the club chairman, Sancho. Or a combination of the two.

But Sancho, who was said to be in a precarious personal financial situation at the start of the year, is now believed to have put together a bid for the club. Central officials remain tightlipped on the matter.

Central manager Kevin Jeffrey said he could not comment on the possible return of Sancho and Harrison or the sale of the football club. He did not know about the players’ petition either.

“I’ve been busy with our (CONCACAF) Champions League business whole day,” Jeffrey told Wired868. “I don’t know anything about a petition signed by the players. But I will definitely call now to find out.”

Jeffrey asked Wired868 to ring him back in 10 minutes. However, he did not answer subsequent phone calls or return our calls.

Wired868 also tried unsuccessfully to reach Mohamdally.

Photo: Central FC players (from left) Elton John, Darren Mitchell, Kaydion Gabriel, Uriah Bentick, Jason Marcano, Leston Paul, Ataulla Guerra and Akeem Benjamin celebrate during their penalty shoot out win over Montego Bay United in the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship semifinal. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC players (from left) Elton John, Darren Mitchell, Kaydion Gabriel, Uriah Bentick, Jason Marcano, Leston Paul, Ataulla Guerra and Akeem Benjamin celebrate during their penalty shoot out win over Montego Bay United in the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship semifinal.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The Sharks, who are the reigning Caribbean and Pro League champions, will face Guatemalan outfit, Comunicaciones, from 8 pm tomorrow in a decisive CONCACAF Champions League fixture at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.

Fellow Pro League outfit, DIRECTV W Connection, hosts Costa Rican champion, Deportivo Saprissa, from 8 pm today at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Central FC, in an unusual move for the club, did not put its players in a live-in camp before the Champions League fixture. And there is internal suspicion that SIS is trimming its budget, as Mohamdally and Ramlogan prepare exit strategies.

Sancho and Harrison always maintained their intention to return to Central if defeated at the polls and the former Sport Minister said as much in a phone-in to Andre Baptiste’s sport programme on I95.5 FM on Saturday 12 September 2015.

Harrison watched Central FC edge W Connection 1-0 last Friday to win the Charity Shield at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. But it is now clear that the players do not wish to see much more of them.

Photo: Former Sport Minister Brent Sancho (second from right) is flanked by ex-Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) and former World Cup 2006 star Stern John during the opening of the Irwin Park Sporting Complex in Siparia. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Former Sport Minister Brent Sancho (second from right) is flanked by ex-Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) and former World Cup 2006 star Stern John during the opening of the Irwin Park Sporting Complex in Siparia. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The Central players’ show of disgust continues a remarkable fall from grace for Sancho and Harrison, who were key figures behind the now defunct Football Players Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT). Sancho was a founding member of FPATT while Harrison, a former voluntary member of Britain’s Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), was its “special advisor.”

It is uncertain if either administrator will watch the Sharks play Comunicaciones tomorrow, although Harrison rarely misses games.

Arguably, the TTFA probe might be of more concern to Sancho and Harrison. If the two men are found guilty of improper conduct, the local football body can impose a range of disciplinary measures, which range from warnings to being banned from entering any football stadium and taking part in football-related activities.

Wired868 understands that the pair’s response—or non-response—to the TTFA’s questions will be forwarded by general secretary Sheldon Phillips to his executive committee for consideration.

The TTFA executive committee could then choose to send the case to its Disciplinary Committee, which is chaired by Newton George. Or it can put the issue before its Ethics or Player Status Committees, which are to be implemented soon under the new constitution.

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre), ex-2006 World Cup player Brent Sancho (right) and TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips address the media in 2013. (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 in 2013.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Sancho is a former litigant against the TTFA and, as Sport Minister, repeatedly criticised the football body for a lack of transparency and empathy for its football players.

 

Editor’s Note: Brent Sancho and Kevin Harrison have both written blogs for Wired868 and participated in Wired868’s annual football festival.
However, Wired868 will not waver in its goal to provide honest and pertinent news to its readers, regardless of the personalities involved.

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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170 comments

  1. …That is because the Sport ministry is a place where succeeding governments have tossed unqualified people, who know nothing about sports administration, to play games and to extract political value. We like to talk about sport being a business all the while treating it in the worst amateur manner…

    • Hannibal Najjar

      Touche, Keith Lookloy! Our most important Ministry – Sport, Culture, & Youth Affairs (along with health and education) as far as people impact and long-term effect, is treated with third level attention.

  2. So how Sancho paying for that Range Rover now??

  3. I haven’t checked at all Reyna Kowlessar and I won’t have time to check for an update today. Just the dynamics of the work with all these competitions I am covering.

  4. You all encourage the wrong thing Gordon Pierre. Poor Gally had to be calling lawyer and speaking to one manager after the next at CTV before he could an apology from the station for stuff that Mango said that has no basis in fact and cannot be supported.
    By the time he got his apology on air, the allegations gone long time and some people who saw the programme won’t see the apology.
    So you think that is fair Gordon? That is your idea of justice?

  5. You were timing me? That was 30 seconds too long!

  6. Any updates on these 2 at Central FC, Lasana Liburd?

  7. Hahaha talk about rush 30 seconds flat!! I cool my brother!!

  8. Anytime I don’t rush Gordon Pierre, it is because I am not on the forum and I didn’t see the comment straight away.
    Libelous, racist, obscene and all such posts must be handled straight away.
    In this case, I didn’t even rebuke Mango. People have gotten rebuked before. That was really tame.

  9. Cousin Savitri Maharaj i agreeing with all Lasana Liburd saying just saying the rush to defend in this case is what have me concerned but its no biggie for me personally, so those quoting bibles could keep it!!! In trinidad logic is alien!!! I am simply talking about the rush to defend nothing else!!

  10. Savitri Maharaj, Lasana Liburd in a business where C.Y.A. policy is the bible.

  11. Cousin Gordon and uncle Earl you know i always say check and double check things. Rumours that are whispered sometimes feel like reality because they been around so long and often, but Mr Livewire will deal in hard evidence eh…you see he said let them sue…well we will wait to see if this fizzles out too eh.

  12. Hahahaha! ” Stay Away Sancho” is right up there with “Cool hand Clapton” and “Downtown Freddie Brown”

  13. His decision to leave, only drives home the point he couldn’t prove what he was saying.

  14. All this went on behind meh back. I really doh see why uncle Earl would want to leave, Lasana was.just saying be careful with what you say. But anyway, let the truth be told eh…

  15. Interesting observation Nicholas Lochan!

  16. It was said b4 Lasana Liburd don’t c the need to explain….

  17. I really can’t believe I’m being asked to defend telling someone not to accuse without proof.
    You realize I can be criminally liable if an unfounded allegation is published on site Gordon Pierre?
    There are some things people can do on their own walls but not here.
    All regular posters know this.

  18. Who Sancho learned from?? He in school since November 1989.

  19. Lasana Liburd i just find u rush to certain persons and not others!! I will not back and forth i made my feelings known and thats that!! I know how to deal with the cyber bullies but just saying!!

  20. What goes around comes around *whistles*

  21. Ask Wayne Cunningham about how their program had to apologise for statements made against Gally on air. I’ve warned him many times in the past about it when he spoke about how Strike Squad players were drinking and partying the night before the game and so on.
    It is not a new stance, Gordon Pierre

  22. Gordon Pierre, I offended him by asking him to say things he can prove? Seriously?
    I’m sorry to say but that is a regular rule here. Ask Savitri Maharaj or anyone.
    I’ve stood up even for people like Rodney Charles who is not in the group. Any post that is hearsay is taken down. Those are our rules.
    I struggle to see what was offensive about that.

    • Plenty people saying all kinds of things here that they can’t prove… for YEARS! How much “thief” and “crook” Tim Kee, Phillips… and even Sancho in this very thread get called? Since when are comments being held to the truth standard when some of your own articles strains the bounds of veracity?

  23. Now Lasana Liburd if that is true i not happy!! You never defend me when i was being attacked not that i need defending because i could mask up and deal with clowns but the hasty to defend here and offend uncle have me upset!!

  24. Ok… Looks like Mango has decided to leave the group without being asked.

  25. After they use a black man, they spit him out

  26. Earl Mango Pierre, I’m all for truth but not slander. Please only say what you can prove or have evidence of. If everyone just came here and said something that was whispered somewhere, what kind of place would this be?
    You can expose whatever you like about whoever you like. But only if you have supporting evidence please.

  27. Huh ? Me ? I was never Sport Minister or related office Nicholas Lochan. Early appointment ? Thanks for the belief you have in me but I don’t do politics really. Maybe one day that may change =D lol

  28. Prince Borde because they are living in a corrupted and lawless sweet country of ours nah and these white collar criminals not facing any court and getting any jail time the way we does do it in the America eh, all the Police does do is investigate eh, and then the rest is history steeeuuppss look how many corrupted government politicians that should be in jail eh Them really good yes

  29. Wait wait, how men does change from ethical to unethical so fast?

  30. They need to read the 8 commandment in my father God bible Thou shalt not steal. Them really good yes

  31. And finally the players are getting real balls and standing up against them eh, I am really proud of them

  32. Well finally everyone is seeing him and his adviser for the snakes that they both are i have been saying it since lady year

  33. Maybe someone is reading the stories for him?

  34. Anybody here fed up of injustice? The fans want to see good football. The players make the league yet everyone else wants the spotlight #fansupport #allezcentral

  35. That Ministry of Sport building or chair needs HUGE blessings! Every man jack had some allegation/s – Boynes, Hunte, Roberts, Sancho… & Kirwin Weston… we might be adding Central FC to our list of clubs 🙁

  36. if is one thing. unc know how to hire ah setta thief lol

  37. My my!!! Oh how the mighty have fallen!!

  38. He was always a punk ass. No apologies!

  39. oh that is why they vex with you Lasana Liburd you didn’t close ranks……lol