A number of national football coaches and players have finally gotten a reason to smile. Some 40 coaches and an unknown amount of players will receive payments of salaries and stipends dating back to April 2020.
Confirmation of this came on Friday afternoon, following another meeting between the members of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee Trevor Gomes and Nigel Romano, and the National Football Coaches of T&T (NFCTT) which was represented by its interim president Jefferson George and Angus Eve, a former national coach, virtually.
Both Romano and Gomez gave the commitment that payment will be made by the end of May.
Only a few days ago, the members of the national football coaches organisation called on coaches and players to stay away from training sessions as there was no definite date for payment of salaries to coaches, as well as no confirmation that local players who were training with the national team, would have been given stipends.
Chairman of the normalisation committee Robert Hadad had said his committee could not pay stipends as they were not obligated to do as such. The local football boss also told Guardian Media in January that paying stipends would have been setting a dangerous precedent. However, he has reconsidered his position, in the wake of threats by players to walk away from the team.
George said they are satisfied with the commitment given by the normalisation committee and they are only now waiting on a time for payments to go to the bank now. The payments will be for coaches of all national teams, as well as players of the senior national team.
Guardian Media asked if stipends would be offered to players on the country's futsal and beach soccer teams as well, but George said representation was only made to the coaches and players who were specifically affected by the recent development.
He admitted, however, that his organisation did have a contingency plan in place, just in case things didn't go according to their plan.
"We had also planned to approach the Ministry of Sports and Community Development and the government to find out whether our members can apply for the grants being offered to unemployed people. And if they could have, then we would have pursued that option," George told Guardian Media Sports Friday evening.
The last time coaches were paid salaries was on December 23, last year and that payment was for three months only. They were also given the assurance that the remaining amounts would have been paid by January this year.
Since coaches have different contracts, the normalisation committee would clarify the months that last year's three-month payment was for, as they attempt to bring salaries up to date.
George said the family of former national player and coach Clyde Leon who died recently, will receive retroactive payments. George said he will take personal responsibility to ensure that this happens. Leon was an assistant coach of this country's Under-15 team.
SOURCE: T&T Guardian