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Sancho threatens Oliver; Central FC vow to fine player they already sacked

Central FC managing director Brent Sancho has threatened to fine his former club captain, Marvin Oliver, just 48 hours after the Pro League club sacked him.

Photo: Former Sport Minister and Central FC managing director and chairman Brent Sancho. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Former Sport Minister and Central FC managing director and chairman Brent Sancho.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The 41 year old Oliver, who was the club’s outstanding player last season when the “Couva Sharks” won seven trophies including the Pro League and Caribbean Club titles, had his contract terminated on Tuesday morning, via a letter from coach Dale Saunders, which was relayed by Central manager Kevin Jeffrey.

Sancho, who also doubles up as assistant coach, was on the training ground at the time and was allegedly seen discussing Oliver’s response to the letter with Jeffrey and Saunders.

However when Oliver countered by demanding that Central pay off the remaining five months on his contract and lodged a protest to that effect with the Pro League, Sancho responded by demanding a meeting with the player and threatened to fine him if he did not attend.

And, bizarrely, Sancho claimed that Oliver was still under contract at the club.

“In order to avoid any misunderstanding on your part, you are still under contract with Central FC until you receive formal written confirmation of your release,” stated Sancho. “… Therefore, failure to attend any meeting as requested will incur a fine and will be viewed as gross misconduct.”

Photo: Police midfielder Shaquille Nesbitt (bottom) tackles through Central veteran Marvin Oliver during 2015 Digicel Pro Bowl action. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Police midfielder Shaquille Nesbitt (bottom) tackles through Central veteran Marvin Oliver during 2015 Digicel Pro Bowl action.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Oliver said he visited the Pro League headquarters on Tuesday with Saunders’ initial termination letter and was advised to formally request resolution from the football body. His letter to the Pro League should trigger a meeting between Oliver and a Central representative along with a players status committee to mediate and, if necessary, adjudicate on the dispute.

The former San Juan North Secondary midfielder, who was selected among the Secondary School Football League’s (SSFL) top players from its 50 year history, wants to be paid off for the remainder of his contract, which, with other owed money, is worth TT$46,000.

In the meantime, Oliver has vowed to seek legal help while his former employer, Sancho, continues to threaten him with further loss of earnings.

Ironically, Sancho, the former Sport Minister and a World Cup 2006 defender, was a founding member of the now defunct Football Players Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT).

Oliver’s problem with Central started on Sunday evening when he spoke to Saunders and Jeffrey about his immediate future.

Photo: St Ann's Rangers coach Angus Eve (left) and Central FC coach Dale Saunders gesture during 2015/16 Pro League action. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: St Ann’s Rangers coach Angus Eve (left) and Central FC coach Dale Saunders gesture during 2015/16 Pro League action.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

The bean-pole Rastafarian was not initially in the 22-man squad to face Couva rivals, DIRECTV W Connection, and, after a late call-up, he was an unused substitute for the match, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Oliver asked Saunders whether he was in his plans for the remainder of the season and, if not, whether the club would consider sending him out on loan to another team. He claimed that the Central coach told him not to worry.

But when Oliver turned up to practice on Tuesday at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella, Jeffrey handed him a termination letter.

“He handed me the letter and I asked him what is that and he said that is your request,” said Oliver. “When I read it, I said that is not what I requested and I gave it back to ‘Jeffers’. Then I saw he walked across and met with Saunders and Brent (Sancho), (manager Derek) Khan and (assistant coach) Stern (John) and they talked for about five minutes.

“Then Khan came back handed me back the letter and said they stand by the letter.”

Photo: Comunicaciones midfielder Jorge Aparacio (left) grapples with Central FC star Marvin Oliver during 2015 CONCACAF Champions League action. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Comunicaciones midfielder Jorge Aparacio (left) grapples with Central FC star Marvin Oliver during 2015 CONCACAF Champions League action.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Oliver was told not to train or approach the squad on the training ground. He then called Wired868 who published a story on the incident that same afternoon.

Derek Khan, a former SIS employer and a Central team manager, called Oliver around midday yesterday and asked him to attend a meeting with Sancho at 2 pm today. Oliver agreed to meet Sancho but not until next week.

“I said I could not meet them because I’m fasting until my sabbath on Saturday,” Oliver told Wired868, “and I don’t want to see them until I break my fast.”

Sancho dispatched an email to his former captain, which reiterated his desire to meet today at the club’s office in Chaguanas to discuss the player’s request to be paid off for his contract.

Oliver responded by offering to meet on Monday in Port of Spain instead. He also asked Sancho to forward money currently owed to him via former teammate Elijah Manners.

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

Sancho retorted by threatening to fine the player if he did not attend the meeting, which was rescheduled for Friday at the club’s headquarters. Bizarrely, the former Sport Minister claimed Oliver was still a Central employee and lectured him about affecting his position at the club with his stance.

“I have noted your response which has stated that you will not be available until Monday 1 February,” stated Sancho, via email. “I am very disappointed by this response as I would consider your employment to be your priority.

“In order to avoid any misunderstanding on your part, you are still under contract with Central FC until you receive formal written confirmation of your release.

“I would also remind you that, as an employee of Central FC, you are required to report for training, matches and other club events and meetings unless specifically excused by the head coach.

“To my knowledge, head coach Dale Saunders has not given any such permission. Therefore, failure to attend any meeting as requested will incur a fine and will be viewed as gross misconduct.

Photo: Veteran Central FC midfielder Marvin Oliver (left) gives referee Gyasi McDonald his yellow card back during the 2013/14 Pro League season. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/ Wired868)
Photo: Veteran Central FC midfielder Marvin Oliver (left) gives referee Gyasi McDonald his yellow card back during the 2013/14 Pro League season.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/ Wired868)

“I urge you to reconsider your decision and attend this meeting as requested. The meeting has now been reappointed to 2 pm on Friday 29 January. Please be sure to attend.”

The letter could arguably be an attempt by Central to further reduce its financial obligation to Oliver or to blame the player for his own departure.

Usually, club sanctions and terminations are authorised by the team manager and/or managing director. But only Saunders’ name was on Oliver’s termination letter, although it was handed over by the team manager, Jeffrey.

Oliver has sought legal advice on the matter and is appealing to the public to stand up for Pro League footballers, whose employers largely survive on subventions from the Ministry of Sport.

“I am appealing to the public of Trinidad and Tobago,” said Oliver. “This is not about Marvin Oliver. It can be any player in the Pro League. It can be your son or your grandson or your nephew.

“This is how they treat people and this has to stop. This has been going on for a while and we have been good professionals and not speaking out.”

Photo: W Connection captain Alvin Jones (left) chops down Central FC midfielder Darrell Mitchell during the 2015 First Citizens Cup final in Couva. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection captain Alvin Jones (left) chops down Central FC midfielder Darrell Mitchell during the 2015 First Citizens Cup final in Couva.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Oliver pointed to the case in which a US$40,000 grant from CONCACAF, which was meant to offset the club’s expenses for travel to Champions League matches, was diverted to Sancho’s personal bank account while he was Sport Minister.

The matter was reportedly exclusively by Wired868 and was under investigation by the last Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) administration.

“The club gave me US$20 spending money for an entire day when I had to travel from Guatemala to Panama to Trinidad (after Champions League duty),” said Oliver. “It took me 11 hours and I had to buy breakfast and lunch; and they gave a big man like me US$20 when CONCACAF gave them US$40,000 to take care of expenses like that…”

Oliver does not know what his next move will be. But he hopes his case can be a turning point for all Pro League players.

“I didn’t walk out on my contract,” Oliver told Wired868. “They think they can do people anything they want because they have a couple dollars. But they won’t run me over like that. And I hope this will put an end to this type of behaviour to (Pro League) players…

Photo: The "Central Choir", accompanied by Central FC operations manager Kevin Harrison (centre), look on from the sidelines at the Mahaica Oval in 2015 Pro League action. Harrison served as Sport Minister Brent Sancho's advisor, last year, and is a former voluntary worker with the UK's Professional Footballers' Association (PFA). (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: The “Central Choir”, accompanied by Central FC operations manager Kevin Harrison (centre), look on from the sidelines at the Mahaica Oval in 2015 Pro League action.
Harrison served as Sport Minister Brent Sancho’s advisor, last year, and is a former voluntary worker with the UK’s Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA).
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

“I officially received my termination letter in the presence of the team staff. So why is Brent sending me this now? Because he is seeing things are not in his favour?

“Sancho went after Mr Jack Warner and the same thing he is accusing Mr Warner of he is now doing three times worse. Because at least Mr Warner would have put some money in my pocket and let me leave with whatever dignity I have.”

Neither Sancho nor operations manager Kevin Harrison responded to requests from Wired868 for comment on Oliver’s position with the club.

(Central FC versus Marvin Oliver)

Photo: Central FC's termination letter to Marvin Oliver, which was delivered by team manager Kevin Jeffrey and bore name of coach Dale Saunders.
Photo: Central FC’s termination letter to Marvin Oliver, which was delivered by team manager Kevin Jeffrey and bore name of coach Dale Saunders.
Photo: Ex-Central FC star Marvin Oliver requests that his former employers pay him for the remainder of his contract.
Photo: Ex-Central FC star Marvin Oliver requests that his former employers pay him for the remainder of his contract.
Photo: Ex-Central FC star Marvin Oliver declines the request to meet his former managing director, Brent Sancho, at the club's headquarters in Chaguanas and makes a counter-proposal.
Photo: Ex-Central FC star Marvin Oliver declines the request to meet his former managing director, Brent Sancho, at the club’s headquarters in Chaguanas and makes a counter-proposal.
Photo: Central FC managing director and ex-Sport Minister Brent Sancho threatens to fine Marvin Oliver and claims he is still a club employee.
Photo: Central FC managing director and ex-Sport Minister Brent Sancho threatens to fine Marvin Oliver and claims he is still a club employee.

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.

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93 comments

  1. He is are dog don’t beat up Marvin you is a grate player join a next team an kill them off they can’t stop good ppl boy

  2. I expect nothing better from him.

  3. Hannibal Najjar

    Why are we so surprised with the style and thinking of the former Minister? You see, this was in the making ever since 2002 and no one cared to know! If truth and trust is on the back burner of a 20-burner stove, how can there be clean-hands and pure-heart expectations.

  4. Situations and positions do not change people but rather they bring out what was there, but lying dormant, all along. Just saying.

  5. I love this part: “In order to avoid any misunderstanding on your part, you are still under contract with Central FC until you receive formal written confirmation of your release,” Question: so a written firing is only valid once it has been confirmed in writing by the writer? lol

  6. F***ing greed UNC style. Eh, Sanko?

  7. Now this is some peanut butter & jelly BS #caribbeansportslife

  8. lol Sancho change uh ways na (Kev) show him eh

  9. I remembered a quote years ago that said: He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. i hope sancho isn’t becoming a monster

  10. Oliver could only lose this case if Saunders acted on his own and unknown to the team’s management. (Good luck proving that). Saunders is an ‘agent of management’ and word from him is as good as coming directly from Sancho.

  11. That’s idiocy to the nth degree! How the hell could you fine or discipline someone who has been fired!?? Is retro-active fine a new thing, now?

  12. I forgot this idiot wish I could forget the rest of the opposition too

  13. With a good lawyer central could be in some trouble

  14. Apparently he forgot he was a player and his struggles, Wow! some people

  15. I thought Sancho and them fellas were human. I thought them fellas had more class than that. Look like we have another autocratic Jack springing up in local football. After something like this, if I had a son who was a footballer, I wouldn’t want him to go near Sancho and them fellas.

  16. What the hell I hearing…. These ppl have no respect for legends. Marvin Oliver is a legend

  17. The man receive the letter in front the staff, and the Club Chairman. It cannot be more official than that. Now while fired he receiving a fine.

    And that is one player story, the can of worms should be opened. Talk Marvin TALK

  18. ..The problem in Trini is not lack of resources. It is lack of leadership..

  19. I question the motives of the club. I find it hard to believe they thought the player wanted to have his contract torn up with no compensation for his remaining months at the club or even desire for the outstanding money they had for him.

  20. All of this could have been avoided by management having a meeting with Oliver to clear the air on his future with the club. As a player who’s been there from day one, he at least deserved that courtesy. To me this situation has been ridiculously overcomplicated, which suggests that there is more in the mortar than in the pestle.

  21. Ivor, Sancho is arguing that Oliver actually wanted his contract to be torn up. How does he win that case?
    If Central is to be believed, it might be the first time in history that a player asked to be made unemployed with no financial pay off for the remainder of his contract.

    • …and without the player admitting to breaching the contract. They think the public AND Oliver stupid.

    • That’s an insulting statement to anyone of any degree of intelligence ….. there’s a huge difference between a player who wants his contract terminated as opposed to one who has it in the back of his mind to move on. They would need visual proof that he said this or a document with his signature stating as such…pretty sure they have neither.

  22. Same thing I said. Politics changes people. He slept with the devil (UNC) and he picked up all their nasty habits. Same modus operandi. U dare not challenge them on irregularities or u become the enemy. But he should know better than most that all unfair games will be replayed.

  23. Sancho’s initiation of the Player’s Association has never meant much to me. Just like a typical contemporary unionist who seeks their own gain by being in the frontline.

  24. Did he not get a letter firing him?

    How can you fine an employee you dismissed?

    How can you make any demand on such employee?

    Forget football, when an employer gives you a dismissal letter, it is over, he cannot call you back, and threaten to fine from what he owes you.

    Shawn, what manner of sorcery is this.

  25. I’m not understanding this. Again, there is a lack of clear procedures and policies to resolve player to club and club to management issues. How you could fire me then say I still have to come meetings or be fined ? Them playing up in dey monthly salary oui !

  26. Lasana I cannot believe what I am reading. Like these guys forgot how they struggled to get their dues in that world cup fiasco. Maybe I am getting one side of the story but even that the handling of this is disgraceful.

  27. Sancho us a damn crook. Is his English man still around sending money into Ssncho bank account? Bandits

  28. The problem with our players is that they need to not get involve with the politics, had my most loyal player called me and told me what the players was planning with respect to signing a petition not to have the Ex Sports Minister and his advisor return to the club I would have told him not to get involve with that madness, look what happened now SIS removed themselves from the team , and when the new sponsor came on board immediately they reinstated the ex sports minister and his advisor to the team so now it is pay back time and I am positively certain if they had access to other good players they would have gotten rid of every player that signed the petition against them and that is the same thing why the Players Association is no longer in effect because again Brent Sancho, Shaka Hislop, Stern John, and Kelvin Jack were still players and as I said players are not the ones to run any Players Association at the time when they were all still players and it really seemed that in order for them to get their millions from the corrupted Jack Warner and his cronies this was the route they had to take and I fully understood that but they all have failed to continue the Players Association which is needed badly in our sweet country. Them really good yes.

    • You think the players were wrong to sign it? At the time Sancho didn’t have the final say at the club, so I guess they wanted to plead to the owners.

    • He never left the helm, it was a smokescreen

    • Well, that’s true. But the club was owned by SIS directors then.

    • Well the real issue as I see is that Marvin to some is really coming to the end of his career at the age of 41 yrs but he knows that he can still contribute even if he doesn’t have to play the whole game, and everyone knows that he loves to play the game and give him that chnace he will play the game until he reaches 100 yrs old Lol , but on the other hand Dale Saunders and his coaching staff most likely wants now to take the team in another direction with respect to the younger players and that is understood, but it is the way it is being done I really thought they would have been using him (Marvin) in their youth program as one of their future coaches and also for all that he did for the club and football he would have gotten a better send of and I am still hoping that good sence prevails and Brent Sancho, Kevin Harrison, and Kevin Jeffrey see that this is done.

    • remind me when Mango try to fine me for not coming training. On a serious note keep going training and moving professional. Is like you get fired from a job and they dont want to pay unemployment. You stay away they will win. Go and train and get your money.

    • He was told to vacate the training, how you will train when you fired

  29. Next thing you know dey go say how de original termination letter was not official because it wasn’t actually signed. Then it go be ah setta he say she say. Anyway, we in de heights of bacchanal season, so this development is par for the course.

  30. Sancho was de man behind the players association not so?

  31. Is there any effort to get the players’ association off the ground anymore? Or is that completely stalled?

  32. This is bad PR for Central FC. Total authoritarian ways by Brent Sancho. Either that or the left hand don’t know what the right hand doing.

  33. The guy is clearly ridiculous! I sincerely hope the other players are looking on at his behavior.

  34. Would like to better understand the timeline of the Pro League mediation process..

  35. Seriously! Allyuh sure Sancho have he head screwed on right on his shoulders? The guy is so arrogant tho! Marvin really needs to seek legal advice because clearly the management of Central FC gone mad!