The T&T Football Federation (TTFF) yesterday sought to have a High Court Judge recuse himself from presiding over ongoing contempt of court proceedings against the federation.
In their application which was presented in the Port-of-Spain High Court, the TTFF through their attorney British Queen Counsel Nicholas Stewart, the federation alleged that Justice Devindra Rampersad made pre-judicial statements during a previous court hearing.
Rampersad has been presiding over the TTFF’s long-standing legal dispute with 13 national footballers of the 2006 World Cup squad over unpaid fees.
At previous hearings Rampersad expressed a desire to bring closure to the ongoing legal battle without risking further damage to T&T’s international football reputation.
During yesterday’s hearing attorneys representing the TTFF and the footballers formed a consent order in which both parties agreed to allowing another judge of the High Court to hear the matter.
The judge that will be hearing the matter will be decided by the Judiciary. Former TTFF president Oliver Camps and current General Secretary Richard Groden have been listed as parties to the contempt proceeding.
The contempt proceedings were first initiated by the footballers after the TTFF failed to provided the federation’s financial records which were requested in the case.
In an affidavits filed in the court’s registry last year, former TTFF special advisor and former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner indicated that he would supply the TTFF and the court with the requested documents.
However at an hearing earlier this year, Warner through his attorney Om Lalla said he could not be of further assistance to the court. In February, levy action was taken against the TTFF by the players during which TTFF’s Dundonald Street office was stripped of all of its contents.
In their legal action the players who belonged to the team that participated in the World Cup in 2006 alleged that former Local Organising Committee chairman Warner promised them a 50 per cent share of all World Cup revenues.
The London-based Sport Dispute Resolution Panel (SDRP), was also called upon to intervene in the impasse and on May 19, 2008, it ruled in favor of the group of players.
On October 11, last year, Rampersad ruled similarly allowing the Federation seven days to pay an interim sum of approximately $4.2 million (US$710,000) to the 13 players. The federation failed to comply.
The group of players are: Players’ Association president Brent Sancho, Stern John, Cyd Gray, Anthony Wolfe, Atiba Charles and Aurtis Whitley, Shaka Hislop, Kelvin Jack, Avery John, Collin Samuel, Evans Wise, Cornell Glen and Kenwyne Jones.
The players are being represented by attorneys Phillip Lamont and Dave De Peiza while Derek Ali is also representing the TTFF. The matter will be heard next on a date that would be fixed by the court.
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By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)
Legal representatives for the 2006 World Cup players and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) are anxiously awaiting word from High Court Judge Devindra Rampersad as to whether he can recuse himself from a contempt charge against TTFF general secretary Richard Groden and former president Oliver Camps.
Yesterday at the Port of Spain High Court, Rampersad agreed to step aside from the players’ application for contempt proceedings against the past and present football administrators. The relevant judicial committee would select a new judge for the contempt case while Rampersad would continue to rule on the original bonus dispute.
However, Rampersad subsequently called both parties back to the court on Monday evening and informed them that there was some dispute as to whether the rules provide for his proposed manoeuvre.
A final decision was promised to both legal teams by this evening but, at the time of publication, no update had been received.