Wed, May

Sancho lashes out on TTFA heads.

Read former Trinidad and Tobago 2006 World Cup defender Brent Sancho letter to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee and general secretary Sheldon Phillips in reference to the players unpaid bonuses as the struggle continue.

For the last 12 months we have been continually told that TTFA is different from TTFF. You and Mr Phillips have stated that you will never operate in the same manner as Mr Camps, Mr Groden and Mr Warner.

And I was willing to give the new regime the benefit of the doubt. Yes, I have my personal disagreements with TTFA over the 2006 World Cup payments, but I have sat back with an open mind and watched you and Mr Phillips try to repair the massive damage done to our game by the TTFF.

But I was astounded by comments made by TTFA media officer, Shaun Fuentes and a “TTFA insider” in Sunday’s Newsday newspaper.

Basically, we, the 2006 SocaWarriors agreed to settle with TTFA over unpaid bonuses after 7 years and two court cases. Note: we agreed to settle. We agreed to settle for a specific amount offered by TTFA, when we could have pursued a larger sum which two courts had agreed was rightfully ours, because we wanted to see football grow and prosper again in T&T.

The terms of the settlement were simple. A lump sum payment and then several tranches of funds on specific dates. However, although the initial lump sum payment was received, when the first payment date appeared in September, no funds were available. Nor in October, November, December and now, January.

We never chose those dates, TTFA did. This isn’t a gentleman’s agreement, it is a legal settlement. It’s like being offered parole and then immediately breaking it. It doesn’t matter how much of a nice guy you are, you broke your word and, therefore, you must face the consequences.

Mr Fuentes, whom I assume is voicing the opinions of you and Mr Phillips, says we should be patient. Why? These funds are over 7 years overdue. Isn’t that patience enough? And then we still waited for another 3 months.

If I understand your position correctly, Mr Tim-Kee, we should wait for however long it takes to receive the money we are legally entitled to. In which case, I suggest that every business owner who pays rates to the Mayor of Port of Spain, withholds their payments. It doesn’t matter.

There’s no rush, is there, Mr Tim-Kee, you will be patient. But I’m fairly sure that the voters and taxpayers and your political allies won’t be pleased when Port of Spain goes bust because you haven’t pursued money that is legally owed to you.

It’s childish and ridiculous for you, as intelligent men to suggest that we be patient. After the abuse that we suffered from the previous regime (of which you, Mr Tim-Kee, was a senior member), why should we expect any different?

Especially as Mr Fuentes comments reek of the same chicanery used by TTFF. According to Mr Fuentes, you say that Shaka Hislop has been very sensible on the matter unlike the other players. So, TTFA are picking out Hislop as the sensible one? Just like TTFF paraded Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy as the sensible ones for accepting their offer to settle. And then, of course, Dwight received a Sports Ambassadors post while Latapy got the job of National Team Coach. So, what will TTFA offer Hislop?

Unfortunately for TTFA, Shaka Hislop has more integrity. Mamaguy him all you want, but he’s already said that he will stand with the players. Maybe he will be a less aggressive participant, but he will not be bribed into turning his back on his team mates.

And then we have the sob story about the youths and women’s teams being underfunded because we have to be paid. A disgusting attempt to mislead the public and win some support from a population who were outraged by the shenanigans of TTFF and waiting to see if TTFA are really the future or the past demons wearing angel costumes.

TTFA made a deal. If they decided to use money meant for youth development or to fund various programmes, that was their choice. Mr Fuentes and friends can’t lay the blame at our feet. If TTFA want to avoid returning to court in February, they are going the wrong way about it.

The same public name calling was carried out by the TTFF. They called us greedy for wanting what was promised by them! They filled the press with untruths to win favour. But once the real truth was known, the public turned against them. Mr Tim-Kee and Mr Phillips should take note. The media officer who failed so spectacularly at TTFF is now TTFA media officer and is attempting the same PR own goal.

Yes, quite rightly, we as a group have publicly criticized TTFA for failing to adhere to their promises. And quite rightly, TTFA have the right to explain the delays. That doesn’t mean that we have to accept their excuses.

An open debate allows people to understand the situation. But this unwarranted attack on the players is Mr Fuentes reverting back to his old tactics of arrogance and untruths. How dare he crticise players for wanting what was promised. How dare he place the blame for lack of funding for the youths and women at our feet.

Just tell the truth, Mr Fuentes. TTFA made a deal that they could not keep. Now the players are angry. Accept it. Stop making excuses and own up to your failure.

We keep hearing about the sacrifices, the tremendous effort, the amazing deals they have achieved all to keep the players happy. But the truth is very simple: Any competent administration would have fully funded their youth programmes, their womens teams and paid their players and coaches. How? By working with us to reclaim the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been proved to have disappeared during the TTFF reign.

Stop blaming the players because you can’t keep a legal agreement. If you’re in a mess, it’s one of your own making. You have the evidence to get back the money that was taken, money that can fund your programmes for the next decade. And while crying about the poor youths, how about taking back the CONCACAF Centre of Excellence? Our National Team Coach can’t find a decent surface to train on, and you can’t afford to rent the facility that was built to develop the Caribbean’s footballers.

Mr Tim-Kee , you, Mr Fuentes, and Mr Phillips may feel aggrieved about this letter, but if you really want patience, don’t follow the mistakes of TTFF and print untruths in the national press, because I, certainly, will defend my honor.

Yours Sincerely
Brent Sancho