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Pro League rules for Oliver! Central FC ordered to compensate ex-captain

The Pro League’s Players Status Committee today ruled against its own board member, Central FC, as it declared that the defending Caribbean and Pro League champions had improperly dismissed their former captain and ace midfielder Marvin Oliver.

Photo: Central FC Marvin Oliver (right) is presented with a Ruby Tuesday gift certificate as Wired868's 2014/15 Player of the Year by Wired868 director of operations Lou-Ann Sankar. North East Stars midfielder Neveal Hackshaw was also honoured as Wired868's Young Player of the Year. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC Marvin Oliver (right) is presented with a Ruby Tuesday gift certificate as Wired868’s 2014/15 Player of the Year by Wired868 director of operations Lou-Ann Sankar.
North East Stars midfielder Neveal Hackshaw was also honoured as Wired868’s Young Player of the Year.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Central, which is headed by former Sport Minister and 2006 World Cup player Brent Sancho, must now pay Oliver’s salary for February and hand over all outstanding bonuses due to the 41 year old midfielder.

However, it was not a complete victory as the three-member Status Committee, which is chaired by attorney Dave Williams, did not unanimously agree that Oliver’s contract was “illegally terminated.”

As such, the “Couva Sharks” were not ordered to pay Oliver for the remainder of his contract, which expires in May. It means the Pro League committee essentially allowed its member club to avoid having to honour their contract with the player, which they ripped up.

The midfielder does have the option to seek redress in the local courts, though.

Oliver declared that his triumph was a win for Pro League players, who were often allegedly mistreated by club owners and he thanked former Football Players of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT) president Shaka Hislop and his lawyer Garth Gilbert for their support. He was also grateful to Wired868 for its fair coverage of the issue.

“I feel proud,” Oliver told Wired868. “I know I had a team of good people around me like yourself, Shaka and my lawyer, so it was a collective effort. I feel it is something good for Pro League players because it is about getting things done in the right way.

“Hopefully, club owners will know they cannot go that way again.”

Photo: Former Sport Minister and Central FC chairman Brent Sancho (second from right) is flanked by ex-Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) and former World Cup 2006 star and Central coach Stern John during the opening of the Irwin Park Sporting Complex in Siparia in 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Former Sport Minister and Central FC chairman Brent Sancho (second from right) is flanked by ex-Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) and former World Cup 2006 star and Central coach Stern John during the opening of the Irwin Park Sporting Complex in Siparia in 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

On Tuesday January 16, Oliver received a letter from Central manager Kevin Jeffrey, which stated that the club had agreed to the player’s request to have his contract terminated.

Oliver informed Jeffrey that he never asked to be released but, after allegedly talking to Sancho and coaches Dale Saunders and Stern John, the manager said the board stood by its decision and asked the former club captain to leave the premises.

After Wired868 broke the story, Central, allegedly through operations manager Kevin Harrison and Sancho, launched a remarkable attack on Oliver in which the club claimed to have helped built the player’s house and saved him from jail.

Oliver denied both allegations while Hislop—Sancho’s former international teammate and FPATT colleague—publicly criticised the club’s handling of the matter.

Even Central’s back-pedalling seemed bizarre, as Sancho claimed that Oliver had not been fired and ordered the player to report to training or be fined.

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)

The Pro League’s Player Status Committee ruled today that Oliver was indeed dismissed and is now officially a free agent.

He has already been wooed by his hometown club, Play Whe San Juan Jabloteh, and is likely to return to the club that he represented before moving to Central.

Oliver joined Central as soon as the club was formed in 2012 and had been an ever present for the Sharks ever since. He was one of their most outstanding players in 2015, which remains the best year in the club’s history, as they became local and regional champions for the first time.

“It is a bittersweet moment for me because I still have friends at Central,” said Oliver. “But I feel good because I stood up for myself. By the grace of Yahweh, he provides for me.

“I am supposed to sign with Jabloteh and I am looking forward to doing that. And I want to start a coaching school afterwards. Or maybe go into farming.”

Sancho and Harrison did not respond to requests for comment by Wired868.

Photo: Central FC operations manager Kevin Harrison is also the former Advisor to ex-Sport Minister Brent Sancho. (Copyright Lime.TT)
Photo: Central FC operations manager Kevin Harrison is also the former Advisor to ex-Sport Minister Brent Sancho.
(Copyright Lime.TT)

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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34 comments

  1. To anyone at QPCC

    Link this man a contract please.

  2. well done …. good luck my brother. One of the few players I played with that played as a team player and not an individual. Well done

  3. by the grace of yahweeh is right ma brother ?

  4. The pro league done eh have no set ah fans already they trying to kill of one of the most popular players in the league for the last few years central FC should be trying to uplift the league not drag it down. Well done pro league great ruling

  5. Justice….Dirty Sancho loses ?????????

  6. Same thing I predicted. Sancho is a goat and now he will pay for his pettiness. Well done Marvin. Go with God brethren.

  7. No. But they haven’t officially released the judgment yet. From what I was told, it was essentially said to be miscommunication and poor handling of situation by the club. It seems like a waffle in between the two parties and a slap on the wrist for Central.

  8. Did the committee give any reasons for not finding that he was illegally terminated?

  9. It was a weak judgment in my opinion though.

  10. Glad the player can move on and continue plying his trade. On the other hand, perhaps it’s best that there is no comment from the Central FC folks..

  11. It is a serious guava season coming for Pro League clubs. At least players can take some comfort from this.

  12. And people inside of here always criticizing the pro league. Smfh at all of you… ?

  13. So they paid him for February but his contract that he signed until May won’t be honored, well I hope that his lawyer advices him to take the matter to the real court of justice eh, in order for him to get all of his monies, I will really like to know under what grounds that Dave Williams the lawyer and member of the Pro league status committee agreed that his contract wasn’t illegally terminated so Central F.C. doesn’t have to honor is contract. Them really good yes.

  14. this is a good outcome.
    the man and his family has suffered from this.
    happy for the folks up in San Juan. You guys are getting back a good man to wear the colours.

  15. It could have been much worse for the club. And Oliver still has the option to sue for slander too.

  16. Excellent news! They better dont appeal the decision now