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TTFA concedes to Ramdhan in High Court, tries to explain stadium rental claim

While Trinidad and Tobago’s “Soca Warriors” will try to avoid a seventh straight defeat when they tackle Mexico in World Cup qualifying action tonight, their bosses at the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) suffered a loss of their own today when they conceded to former FIFA referee Ramesh Ramdhan in a High Court matter that will now see them paying upwards of TT$540,000.

Ramdhan took the TTFA to court in an attempt to recoup payments due for his services to the organisation from 2012-2015.

Photo: Former FIFA World Cup referee Ramesh Ramdhan.

In April of this year, the TTFA, through their attorneys Dayadai Harripaul and Anand R Misir, asked the High Court to be allowed to pay Ramdhan in monthly instalments while claiming a yearly lease fee in excess of TT$900,000 for the use of the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

However, just before midday today, Justice Boodoosingh refused the TTFA’s request to pay in monthly instalments and ordered the local football body to pay Ramdhan the TT$540,000 owed with immediate effect at a rate of 12% interest, bringing the rounded off figure to $604,800.

Boodoosingh stated that the TTFA’s 28 April affidavit, which included an income and expenses statement, did not justify their request to pay in instalments.

The TTFA affidavit, signed by Harripaul, stated: “The application applies to the court for an order to pay the amount due by an initial sum of $30,000.00 and instalments of $22,500.00 per month and provides the following information…

“[The] Trinidad and Tobago Football Association pays a lease of $944,021 per year for the use of the premises at the Hasley [sic] Crawford Stadium.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland (second from right) gestures to fans after Joevin Jones’ second goal against Guatemala during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port-of-Spain on Friday 2 September 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868

The TTFA’s claim of paying more than $900,000 to rent their offices at the Hasely Crawford Stadium raised red flags for Ramdhan and he and his attorney, Anand Singh, immediately challenged the David John-Williams-led administration to support the claim.

Rather than provide supporting documentation, the TTFA’s legal team accepted responsibility for the misinformation.

“This statement was put in error as a result of a misunderstanding on my part,” stated Harripaul in an affidavit. “These were not the instructions of the Defendant. I do apologise to the Court and to the Claimant for this error as the Defendant has acted bona fides at all times.

“The information [regarding rental fees at the Hasely Crawford Stadium] was a genuine error and was not intended to mislead the Court in any way.”

Boodoosingh still had questions about the TTFA’s misleading affidavit.

“Why was the affidavit sworn by the attorney [Dayadai Harripaul] and not the TTFA?” asked Boodoosingh.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams (right) performs a duet with former Calypso Monarch, Cro Cro, at the launch of the National Elite Youth Development Programme at the Trinidad Hilton on 14 October 2016.

But neither Harripaul, Misir nor John-Williams was present in court to respond as TTFA general secretary Justin Latapy-George and a third attorney represented the football body.

The TTFA offered to make a TT$75,000 lump sum payment to Ramdhan next month to be followed by monthly instalments but Ramdhan rejected the offer and Boodoosingh said he had no choice but to award immediate payment.

After the ruling, Latapy-George said he was pressed for time and did not stick around long enough to give Wired868 a comment.

Ramdhan, who claimed he had only been paid for four months of his TTFA contract, said he tried to resolve the matter outside of the High Court but was forced to take legal action after his calls for discussion were ignored by John-Williams.

Ramdhan, who was defeated in the polls by John-Williams in November 2015, felt the TTFA were fortunate to escape without further censure for the false information in their April affidavit.

“I am happy that the matter is over but it should not have gotten so far,” Ramdhan told Wired868. “This was a personal matter against me. I gave John-Williams ample time to come to a settlement with me[…]. I think he took this personally because I opposed him for the TTFA presidency. I congratulated him on his victory and I never got a response.”

Photo: TTFA president David John-Williams (right) smiles with fourth official Cecile Hinds before the First Citizens Bank Cup final between Defence Force and Ma Pau Stars at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 2 December 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

The TTFA also informed the Court that CONCACAF “has extended a loan facility to [the local football body] to assist with its operational costs” on top of an annual subvention of US$125,000. And the Confederation was happy to pay Ramdhan on one condition.

“The only requirement from CONCACAF is [Ramdhan] be paid directly by CONCACAF and not through the Defendant.”

Unlike former Women’s National Senior Team head coach Carolina Morace, Ramdhan said he had no problem with being paid through CONCACAF, especially if he is paid in US dollars.

AboutR.Walcott

R.Walcott
Roneil Walcott is a Journalism and Public Relations student at COSTAATT and a freelancer at Wired868. Walcott is an avid sports fan and former Harvard Cricket Clinic member and ex-St. Mary’s College cricket player.

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12 comments

  1. Football will continue to slide with arrogance at d helm ..just like wi.. cricket

  2. Why TTFA doesn’t want to pay their debt?

  3. Who are the Contractors involved In the Hotel Construction at Balmain Sports Complex, someone said John Williams Construction Co is part, and he is who again???

  4. I’m always impressed that someone could be even more rubbish than Tim Kee. That must take supreme effort.

  5. We have a real third world mentality when it comes to sports in this country we have talented players but what is in placed to develop it hence the reason we are in this position because the head is rotten

  6. This. Djw. Administration. Is. The. Wibc. Of. Trinidad. Football. Hence. The. Reason. We. Going. No. Where. Fast. In. Football

  7. ..Plus Phillips, plus Hart, plus the former TD. DJW again..