Sixteen members of Trinidad and Tobago's 2006 World Cup squad, who took the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) to court for not paying money promised for qualifying for the tournament, have secured a victory in the Court of Appeal.
Justice Rajendra Narine dismissed an application for a stay filed by the TTFF yesterday.
This means that the Soca Warriors have reached one step closer to receiving money owed to them, allegedly promised by TTTF special adviser and FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, now a Government Minister.
In addressing the parties involved, Justice Narine said he is of the opinion not enough evidence was brought forth to stop the process. A written ruling outlining his decision will be made available this week.
Narine said the matter can now be further ventilated before High Court Judge Devindra Rampersad on November 26.
Sources say with the matter again before Rampersad, the judge is expected to make certain orders with respect to the TTFF accounts.
Sources also noted that the TTFF are expected to appeal Justice Narine's decision.
Speaking with the Express shortly after the ruling, footballer Brent Sancho said he welcomes the decision.
"It just goes to show what they (TTFF) have been doing is wrong.
"This is the third time they are being told to pay up and it is disappointing that this (lawsuit) has been going on for years.
"All I can do now is hope that we are closer to a resolution," Sancho added.
On July 29, Justice Rampersad ordered the TTFF, and by extension Federation president Oliver Camps, to honour their bonus agreement with the players. The agreement stated that commercial revenue obtained from qualifying for and playing in the 2006 World Cup in Germany be split among the players.
Rampersad had also ordered the TTFF to absorb the legal costs on behalf of the players.
Court proceedings were initially filed in November 2008, at the Port of Spain High Court, where the 16 players demanded the High Court enforce the judgment of the London-based Sport Dispute Resolution Panel (SDRP).
The SDRP had ruled in May 2008 that under the terms of a contract--agreed by FIFA Executive Committee member and TTFF special adviser Warner–that the Soca Warriors were owed 50 per cent of all 2006 World Cup commercial revenue.
The footballers in their lawsuit had requested an interim payment of roughly $1.8 million each and their share of the $88 million which the TTFF claimed to have received as World Cup commercial revenue.
However, the TTFF claimed that a breach of confidentiality by the players meant they (TTFF) were were no longer obligated by the agreement.
Following weeks of arguments, Rampersad ruled in favour of the players. However, the TTFF and Camps appealed the decision, hoping to have it nullified.
Apart from Sancho, other players who filed the lawsuit were Marvin Andrews, Shaka Hislop, Kelvin Jack, Atiba Charles, Cyd Gray, Ian Cox, Avery John, Chris Birchall, Aurtis Whitley, Collin Samuel, Evans Wise, Anthony Wolfe, Cornell Glen, Kenwyne Jones and Stern John.
Attorneys Om Lalla and Kelvin Ramkissoon appeared on behalf of the TTFF, while attorneys Dave DePeiza and George Hislop are seeking the interest of the footballers.