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Confusion as TTFA fails to pay match fees to 10 players; Ranjitsingh among blanked Warriors

Relations between Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams and the National Senior Team are in danger of deteriorating further, after the discovery that roughly half of the squad were not paid match fees for internationals against Mexico and the United Arab Emirates in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

On 14 December 2018, four Soca Warriors revealed to Wired868 that they were waiting for as long as 14 months for match fees from international duty against: Mexico (6 October 2017), USA (10 October 2017), Grenada (11 November 2017), United Arab Emirates (6 September 2018), Thailand (14 October 2018) and Iran (15 November 2018).

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder and captain Khaleem Hyland (left) tries to keep the ball while United States captain Michael Bradley (background) and Christian Pulisic watch on during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 10 October 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago’s 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over USA on 10 October 2017 was easily the most high profile result in three years under the John-Williams administration. Yet to date, the local football body has not paid the promised US$1,000 match fee plus US$500 win bonus for the affair.

Just hours after the initial story was published, John-Williams authorised payments for friendlies against Thailand and Iran—both controversially valued at US$300 each—while, on Christmas Eve, payments were made for the Mexico (US$1,000) and UAE (US$300) outings as well.

However, a reliable source close to the local football body revealed that 10 players were surprisingly overlooked during the latter pay-out.

There was no apparent pattern to the omissions as the players were a combination of overseas-based and local-based and several received money for other matches earlier that month, so the football body had their accurate bank information.

The 10 unpaid players, according to the source, are: team captain Khaleem Hyland, Leston Paul, Kevan George, Trevin Caesar, Ataulla Guerra, Marvin Phillip, Daneil Cyrus, Joevin Jones, Aubrey David and Greg Ranjitsingh.

Photo: Then Louisville City FC goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh.

The 25 year old Ranjitsingh, who was born in Toronto and qualifies to play for Trinidad and Tobago and Canada, was recently snapped up by US Major League Soccer (MLS) club, Orlando City.

He is still uncapped by the Soca Warriors and has not rejoined coach Dennis Lawrence’s squad since the qualifiers against Mexico and United States when he was an unused substitute. Almost 15 months later, the TTFA still owes the talented goalkeeper US$2,500.

Worse, according to the source, is John-Williams’ alleged refusal to speak directly to the players and explain the source of their issues or provide any assurances.

“All they were told is John-Williams didn’t give the authority to pay those players and there was no reason given,” the source told Wired868. “They can’t say when they will be paid either but they were told that those payments would be made along with the two outstanding match fees.”

Such inadequate communication, according to the source, is the norm rather than the exception for John-Williams; and although the players resent it, they no longer expect anything better.

“The players never hear anything from John-Williams and he never communicates with them,” said the anonymous source. “The only time he ever spoke to them directly in the last year was just before the AGM—when he wanted to make sure that everyone kept quiet until he dealt with a motion to dismiss him as president.

Photo: TTFA president and W Connection owner David John-Williams (centre) greets players (from right) Hughtun Hector, Alvin Jones and Maurice Forde before kick off against Police FC in the TTFA FA Trophy final at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 8 December 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

“Otherwise, he just sends a message through the coach or [team manager] Richard Piper. So the players never get a chance to put their case directly to him and have a proper discussion.”

Among the issues troubling the players is the current fee of US$300 for friendly matches, which is a huge drop from the US$1,000 paid under the last two football presidents.

The players allegedly countered with a proposed fee structure according to the ranking of their opponents. They suggested US$1,000 for the starting team against opposition ranked in the top 80 FIFA nations and US$750 and US$500 for used and unused substitutes respectively. For matches against lower-ranked nations, the Warriors were willing to accept US$750 for starters and US$500 for all substitutes.

Although the proposal was sent months ago, John-Williams has still neither accepted nor dismissed it.

The players are understood to be anxious to negotiate a pay structure for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup as well, which kicks off in June.

Last month, the Warriors said they would refuse to play against Wales unless all outstanding match fees were paid while some players insisted that they would not continue to turn out for US$300, as they felt disrespected by John-Williams.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Kevin Molino (right) skips past a tackle from Honduras midfielder Jorge Claros during World Cup 2018 qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 1 September 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Wired868 asked John-Williams to confirm whether the 10 players were unpaid and, if so, to explain why that was so. The football president was also asked to comment on the national players’ concern about the amount offered for match fees at present.

John-Williams had not responded up to the time of publication.

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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30 comments

  1. Reasons to avoid Accountability (1) Ignorance (2) Fear of exposure (3) Rejection (4) Arrogance ,pride (5) Feeling self – sufficient and (6) They are doing something wrong. Who the cap fits let them wear it . Them really good yes

  2. ..I keep saying there must be an immediate analysis of the entire SMNT situation before we enter Gold Cup mode. This is only ONE aspect of the analysis of the ENTIRE national teams situation that is LONG overdue..

  3. Tony Maxwell Hatt The only way you will know for sure about him is that you have to meet with him to talk and you will understand what he is all about just the way he speaks especially when asked certain questions ,he also reminds me of a certain individual that whenever speaking to him , he never watches you in your eyes , you know those sorts of persons, they are called puppets on a string ent Them really good yes

  4. There is something about Lawrence that doesn’t sit well. I am sure he understands the philosophy of building a team.

    • It’s not without precedent. Although he was not the only one, Lawrence did not stand with the 2006 squad in their financial battle.

    • Nigel Myers Because soldiers the same like meh police cannot stand with the players and it is ah good thing that they were more civilian players then in 2006 yes because they surely wouldn’t have gotten any money the same like the Strike Squad Them really good yes

    • The sixteen players that stood their grounds was Kelvin Jack, Shaka Hislop, Brent Sancho, Stern John, Anton Wolfe, Marvin Andrews, Cornell Glen, Avery John, Autis Whitley, Evans Wise, Christopher Birchall, Cyd Gray, Ian Cox, Attiba Charles, Kenwhyne Jones , and Colin Samuel and the deserters Russell Lately, Dwight Yorker, Carlos Edwards (Army) Clayton Ince (Army), Jason Scotland(Army) Dennis Lawrence (Army) Anthony Rougiere, Silvio Span, and Denzil Theobold who said that he was looking for it ,going pro that is abroad, well he continues looking for it eh, and then Marvin Andrews, Christopher Birchall, and Kenwhyne Jones jumped ship and it ended up with 13 players so Alyuh see why the Players Association will be difficult to be up and running in our sweet country eh because once the army, police, sailors, air guard is on the team eh They can’t get involved and of course the bottom lickers and the news carriers who never want to go against the corrupted TTFA and their continuing madness Them really good yes

    • Earl one mistake. Kenwyne didn’t “jump ship”. Actually Ian Cox ran into some financial difficulties and decided to take the cash that was offered by Jack Warner.
      He was the final person to leave, which brought the number down to 13.
      Ince and those guys were not soldiers at the time so they can’t use that as a reason. Eve is a former soldier. You feel he would ever have walked out on that case? Lol.
      Some of the players just decided they didn’t want to be involved in a long case and they were advised that they couldn’t defeat Jack. And that was that.

    • Thanks for the correction and it is a good thing the others stood strong and finally got their millions from untie Kams UNC government and not actually from the corrupted Jack Warner and the TTFF ent Them really good yes

    • Earl Mango Pierre can not or will not??

  5. ..Latapy stood with the U20 staff..

  6. I am happy that we have an investigative reporter in Lasana or else we would know nothing.
    But what gets me ticked off is why Lawrence is quiet about this. He is part of the problem now that the players are becoming vocal.

  7. Please wait until the Home of Football is mortgaged. Transparency needed now!

  8. Tony Maxwell Hatt I think that I mentioned this before ,the only Coach that ever stood up for his players was Coach Benhakker I remember when Mr Live Wire wrote his story and he said that if the players didn’t get their well deserved monies he wasn’t coming back to our sweet country again and that was after the 2006 World cup when the corrupted TTFA wanted to continue with his services not one local coaches ever stood up for their players so Coach Dennis isn’t any different and I am positively certain that he will always tell our players ,country first while his business is fixed Them really good yes

  9. ..I keep saying the horse is starving while the grass is growing..

  10. D pnm government boasting how much money dem saving and DJW boasting bout he home for football dem players eh go get paid anytime soon.

  11. ..The pllayers need to write to the Big Boss and cc the GS, Justin Latapy and the members of the Board..

  12. Non payment of players salaries is the lowest one can reach …..

  13. Lack of proper communication is a recurring theme. The TTFA seems to operate on a need to know basis, and DJW thinks that no one needs to know anything except in the fullness of time.

  14. Malik Johnson as i have said for months… Dennis Lawrence is part of this as he is the coach… I don’t know what the President has on him for his non involvement in this… he turned down a job in England… to be a coach of a National team that has not been paid for months…that is true amateurism…. actually he may not have had the job in England…so he has no options now… coaches fight for their players… players play for their coaches who they know are willing to go to bat for them…

  15. Tony if you’re not part of the solution as a coach… you’re part of the problem

  16. Why is Dennis Lawrence complicit in this? How can players give 100% if the coach is not taking care of them. Would you as an athlete play for a coach who just sits back and carry on as usual.
    This is where the professionalism is lacking.
    I agree with all players refusing to play another match under these conditions.