FIFA, the global governing body for football, has refused to get involved in the imbroglio between the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) and local sports broadcaster Selwyn Melville, over the rights of the term Soca Warriors for the national football team.
Melville has claimed that he coined the nickname in 1998 and has been trying ever since to be recognised as the owner of the trademark and to be compensated in the sum of US$30 million.
The TTFA, currently headed by David John-Williams, decided last September to drop the use of the title for all national teams (male and female).
In response to a letter issued by Melville on December 28 2016, FIFA Head of Intellectual Property (Legal and Integrity Division) Daniel Zohny, on February 15, mentioned, “as the contested term Soca Warriors is not a trademark associated with FIFA and/or FIFA events or competitions, it is not for FIFA to intervene with third party trademark matters to which it has no connection.”
Zohny added, “we therefore consider the matter as an issue to be resolved solely between you and the TTFA. “We trust you understand that we consider this matter closed and will not engage in further communication in this regard, and that we expressly reserve all of FIFA’s rights in this matter,” Zohny ended.
Melville, in his letter to FIFA, wrote, “In the year 2000, the (then TTFF) chose to use the name as its official brand. At that time, I initiated talks with the then TTFF seeking to establish my rights as creator of the name but was given the run around.” Melville continued, “for the last 16 years I have been trying in vain with the various local football administrations to come to some agreement on the ownership and subsequent use of the name.
“I am therefore writing for clarification as to what FIFA’s rules are concerning such relationships and why it is necessary for FIFA to participate in such a matter when its mandate is aligned to ‘FAIR PLAY’,” he ended.