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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.