The legal contest between the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) and the 2006 “Soca Warriors” was officially declared at an end yesterday by TTFF president Raymond Tim Kee.
But the matter of Germany 2006 World Cup revenue still being unaccounted for in the wake of the players’ maiden World Cup campaign may not be over.
In fact, there could be legal repercussions for embattled former Minister of National Security Jack Warner--also an ex-Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and CONCACAF president--who was last month accused by a CONCACAF committee of mismanaging funds.
During yesterday’s press conference at the Hasely Crawford Stadium’s VIP Lounge to announce the TTFF’s settlement with the players—the sum of which is still undisclosed, both parties said, due to players’ security concerns—Tim Kee hinted that there might be legal action taken by the Federation depending on what ongoing CONCACAF investigations find.
“From our understanding, TTFF is very much a part of CONCACAF, and in pursuit of (CONCACAF’s) uncovering and investigating all the goings-on in the past, Trinidad and Tobago has not been exempted from that,” Tim Kee said yesterday during the event.
“I believe that that arm will be extended to the TTFF, where the forensics and all the investigations will be done. That is a big one that my mouth is not quite capable of biting and chewing. That’s bigger than me. “The investigations will reveal something, and based on that, we’ll have to take appropriate actions.”
Tim Kee said when he was chosen to head the TTFF last year, he “dreamed of the day and time” when he would be able to help settle the players’ matter. To him the issue was a “vexatious” one over the last seven years, and he feels now that the matter is settled, T&T football can move on to a “glorious future”.
“This journey for me is not about dollars and cents. It is about the future of our football,” Tim Kee said. “This journey for me is about trust and loyalty. It is about commitment and accountability. At the end of today the road we have travelled must speak for how well we care for and love our football players, our entertainers.”
Then, after explaining that promising talks were held with FIFA president Sepp Blatter in March, and with CONCACAF head Jeffrey Webb in terms of assisting the debt-ridden Federation, Tim Kee said Webb brought to his attention unclaimed funds associated with T&T’s failed World Cup 2014 campaign, including TV rights. Immediately, he added, he earmarked the funds to clear the debt to the players.
The TTFF president invited T&T’s former footballers to “come back home” and contribute to the national game, before taking the time to say sorry.
Said Tim Kee: “I want to sincerely apologise, most sincerely apologise for the pain which you (the players) have had to endure over those years. I want to ask you to come and join the pleasure which together we can bring as we take Trinidad football once again into the glorious days and into that new global era.”
Tim Kee also promised the Federation’s “120-something” creditors that the TTFF is actively seeking to become sustainably self-sufficient, and will pay off its debts.
“(These are) debts that are mind-boggling because some are small and some not so small. But things have to be paid off. And I can promise you that we are not going to enjoy one cup of soda before we (settle) our debts with the people who had entrusted their service and their own investment, their own money in supporting us in the past.”
‘Nightmare’ finally over for Warriors.
By Kern De Freitas (Express).
After seven years of legal wrangling with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF), the 13 2006 “Soca Warriors” can breathe a sigh of relief that the “nightmare” is over.
So said Brent Sancho, whose voice had been chief among those seeking to recover bonuses connected with their World Cup 2006 campaign. They achieved victory in their 2007 arbitration ruling by the Sports Dispute Resolution Panel (SDRP) and subsequently two awards of interim payments in the High Court over three years ago.
But only yesterday, with the intervention of the TTFF’s most recent president Raymond Tim Kee, the matter with the players was finally settled, with previously unclaimed television rights money and other funds associated with T&T’s failed World Cup 2014 campaign, according to TTFF officials.
Sancho was front and centre with Tim Kee and new general TTFF general secretary Sheldon Phillips, who recently replaced Richard Groden after the latter stepped down from the post.
Now, with the anniversary of T&T’s first World Cup match looming—it will be seven years since T&T faced Sweden in Germany on June 8, 2006—the dreadlocked former defender says the players can finally savour memories of the occasion.
“I think this June 8 will be looked at very differently, said Sancho. “When you look back at what has transpired over these seven years when we were basically ignored by the then Federation, and the treatment that we received, I think in June we can look forward to some of the memories in Germany.
“I know that is something (great)… we’ve never been able to enjoy that. This has been a nightmare for seven years for us.”
Sancho thanked Tim Kee and the TTFF for finally settling the matter, as well as the players’ legal team, the public for their support, and even the media for keeping the matter highlighted in the public.
He also accepted Tim Kee’s apology for the “pain” the players have endured over the seven-year period, and accepted the latter’s offer to play a testimonial match against the 1989 “Strike Squad”.
“Some of us would’ve lost our international careers through blacklisting and through retirement,” Sancho said. “For many of us we never got the opportunity to leave the stage with a bow. This is a tremendous gesture. We are looking forward to the game.”
Ex-goalkeeper Kelvin Jack, who was also one of the biggest voices representing the players, called the settlement a “big relief”.
“It’s a new chapter now in Trinidad and Tobago Football,” he said. “It’s all positive, and I hope that the new Federation will lead us back to where we were back in 2006.”
Jack said T&T football has gone back “quite a long way”, but was confident that it can recover because of a wealth of talent locally. Still, he feels it will be “very, very difficult”.
T&T Express Reports.
CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb has expressed his satisfaction with the final resolution of the bonus dispute between the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation and 13 2006 Soca Warriors footballers.
In a brief statement yesterday, Webb said: “In the interest of the development of the game, CONCACAF is very pleased with the commitment seen throughout our meetings to promote the sport and ultimately reach a final agreement to resolve all pending matters within football in Trinidad and Tobago.
At CONCACAF, we were glad to have been of assistance to the Federation and will continue to set a clear roadmap that restores the integrity of the game in the region. We look forward to maintaining our joint efforts to continue developing football, as it is our duty to support the younger generations in allowing them to fulfill their goals.