Sat, Oct

Sport Ministry to fund Road to Russia.

The Ministry of Sport has given a commitment to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association to cover the Soca Warriors expenses for all travel and accommodation locally and internationally in its campaign to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago Adrian Raymond on Wednesday told the parliamentary Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) that the costs will include qualification matches and international friendlies - which are vital for qualification matches.

Asked by member Wade Mark what plans were in place to assist the national football team in terms of salaries, accommodation, travel, food, and gears in order to avoid previous financial issues that arose in past campaigns, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport Joan Mendes said, “We are working with the TTFA with respect of their budget and their request, that they come in timely.”

Regarding the TTFA’s funding constraints, Mendes said, “We have asked for specifics in their flight arrangements, coaches salaries, and accommodation. We usually ask for their budget, and the disbursement is taken from the Sports Company subvention.”

Asked to give specifics, Raymond said, the Sport Company has been given a budget and has given the TTFA a commitment, as regards the campaign, that Government, through the Sport Company will cover all flight arrangements, all accommodation locally and internationally.” Depending on where the games are taking place, he said, that issues of time to adjust to altitude and climate among other factors will be factored into travel.

Where wire transfers could be conducted to pay hotels directly, that will be done. Alternatively, he said, the monies will be released to the TTFA which will have to account for spending.

For matches to be held in T&T, he said, there will be no costs involved by the TTFA. The Sports Company will underwrite the costs to reduce as much of the TTFA’s expenses.

The gate receipts, he said, will go to the TTFA as a source of income to cover “their salaries.” Meanwhile, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport Ian Ramdahin told the PAAC when asked, that the programme has disbursed just about $2.8 million for the 2015/2016 fiscal year. A total of over $1.5 million was provided for 20 elite athletes, while over $1.1 million was provided to assist athletes, who may not be elite athletes, but who were making points to qualify for the Rio Olympics.