This afternoon, First Citizens Bank held on to the token sum of TT$300 from the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s (TTFA) eight accounts at the financial institution—for banking and maintenance fees. The local football body’s remaining money, TT$270,871.33, is now property of 15 former National Futsal players and their five technical staff members and attorneys.
This morning, Master of the Court Sherlanne Pierre instructed First Citizens Bank, represented by attorney Shashi Seecharan, to immediately make the payment to the claimants as part settlement for an award of over TT$500,000, which the TTFA should have paid since 13 December 2018.
The successful Futsal players listed in the action are: captain Jerwyn Balthazar, Kevin Graham, Adrian Pirthysingh, Colin Joseph, Kerry Joseph, Jameel Neptune, Ishmael Daniel, Anthony Small, Kevaughn Connell, Keston Guy, Kareem Perry, Jamel Lewis, Noel Williams, Bevon Bass and Cyrano Glen—whose elder brother Cornell Glen was one of 13 Soca Warriors who successfully sued the TTFA in the landmark ‘2006 World Cup bonus dispute’.
The technical staff members are: Clayton Morris (head coach), Sterling O’Brian (assistant coach), Perry Martin (goalkeeper coach), Brent Elder (trainer) and Ronald Brereton (manager).
The TTFA, whose legal actions are dictated by president David John-Williams, also owe costs to the Futsal Team’s attorneys, Keston McQuilkin and Melissa Keisha Roberts-John.
John-Williams did not appear in court today and his vice-president, Ewing Davis, represented the football body. Morris, Elder and Brereton turned up to represent the Futsal contingent.
The claimants were stunned to learn that the TTFA banked US$600,000 or TT$4,000,000 from FIFA between mid-December 2018 and January 2019. However, by the time the Futsal Team had a garnishee order accepted by the court on 18 March 2019, the TTFA had less than seven per cent of that largess left in its accounts; and nothing besides.
The TTFA’s office staff of roughly 15 persons, minus its technical director, is paid an estimated TT$90,000 per month—which would account for just TT$180,000 (two months’ salary) from the money received via the FIFA Assistance Programme.
So where did the rest go?
The Futsal Team were particularly dismayed as John-Williams, through attorney Annand Misir, allegedly promised to pay them from the FIFA funding, only to go back on his word.
“At the time of the judgment [on 13 December 2018], the attorneys on behalf of the TTFA indicated that they were getting money from FIFA,” Brereton told Wired868, “and they said when that money comes they will pay us. So they asked if we would give them 28 days to pay.
“In good faith, we allowed them the 28 days. But according to what was revealed in court today, the money did come; but they opted not to pay us and instead filed an appeal.”
The court also learned of an alleged US$24,000 payment from Concacaf to John-Williams, which was sent to the TTFA’s bank account. The attorney for the football body argued that this sum should not be handed over since it was the president’s money.
However, with no paperwork to substantiate the claim, the Master dismissed the TTFA’s request and offered that sum to the claimants as well. The football body must also pay costs to the Futsal Team’s attorneys for having to return to the courts.
It is a process that will likely be repeated until the initial judgment is satisfied.
Wired868 can confirm that the TTFA’s office staff have not received salaries for March, nor have they been told when to expect payment.