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Tue, Jun

Ministry of Sport and TTFA on money collision course again
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The Ministry of Sport has exhausted all its funding for football and is expected to make a request to Concacaf to divert part of its US$100,000 grant to the women’s team and the Under 17 and Under 20 tournaments for 2015.

As it looks now, both women soca warriors teams may not make it for their respective upcoming tournaments happening later in the year.

On Friday, the Ministry of Sport was expected to send a correspondence on the matter to Concacaf.

Officials at the Ministry of Sport and Sport Company of TT (SporTT) said they have questions for the TT Football Federation (TTFF) to answer concerning the 2015 Concacaf Gold Cup funding and the use of taxpayers money from the Ministry for the tournament, which is being held at Soldier Field in Chicago, USA, starting tomorrow.

According to a previous T&T Guardian article, on June 11, 2015, the TTFA collected a cheque for TT$133,000 from the Ministry of Sports. Initially the ministry was allegedly informed by the TTFA that they didn’t have funds to send the senior men’s team to overnight in London before heading off to Jordan for one of its warm-up matches which is part of the team’s Gold Cup preparations.

The Concacaf grant, according to sources in the Ministry of Sport, which is due at the end of this month, includes an allocation for the senior men’s team travel, from Trinidad to their first point of entry into the US. Since, the funding was not yet available, the Ministry was asked to cover the team’s trip from Trinidad to Florida in the USA and from Florida, to Chicago where the team will play its opening contest of the tournament.

According to the source at the ministry, concerns have been constantly raised over the TTFA’s claims of money issues and their continuous requests of monies to fund both the men and women’s Soca Warriors.

However, from the $9 million that the Cabinet approved last November, $6 million was used for staff and players salaries owed by the TTFA since 2012.

With $3 million left, it is believed that the TTFA has allegedly used $2 million for the Pan Am Games.

According to the Minister of Sport, Brent Sancho, the TTFA used up almost the whole $9 million, “all for the fault of themselves and what they would have used so far has nothing to do with women’s football.”

“The problem that we are having, we have a pool of money and when we look at it as a piechart we can see that a great amount of money is already used up for football. Because of the fact that the TTFA refuses to pay for anything and it is jeopardising other sporting programmes because they refuse to use whatever monies they would have gotten from FIFA to fund these programmes,” Sancho said.

“We cannot continue to spend all that money in football with other sports being finance neglected. The Government of TT will have to bail out the Soca Warriors Women’s Team eventually because that is where it is heading but it has to stop somewhere,” he added.

“Well, this is not bailout yet, but it is where it is heading, but the real story is the fact that they do not seem to have anything within them to want to even fund in any programmes, to put anything towards it and they continuously look to the ministry and the government to pay all their salaries, travel etc and it is not fair to other governing bodies and I think that’s the challenge that we are faced with,” Sancho said.

The sports minister noted that President Raymond Tim Kee has even allegedly refused, on many occasions to show their financial books.

“These are people who refuse to show anything in its books with regards to the Fifa money that they get, to the Concacaf money that they get, we tend to wonder what is going on with those monies,” Sancho said.