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Brent Sancho"There should be a probe into where millions of dollars in taxpayers' money and corporate sponsorship went to," Brent Sancho, a member of Trinidad and Tobago's 2006 World Cup football team, said yesterday.

"Everybody is taking about Stern John breaking curfew, but that is a much smaller issue. Yet we have a Government Minister involved in an issue where millions of dollars are unaccounted for and no one blinks an eye. It's a disgrace."

Sancho is one of 16 players who took the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) and its special adviser Jack Warner to court arising out of a dispute over revenue generated from the Germany 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign which saw T&T's Soca Warriors qualify for the finals for the first time.

In 2008, the London-based Sport Dispute Resolution Panel (SDRP) ruled that the Warriors were owed 50 per cent of all TTFF's commercial revenues from the 2006 World Cup, based on an agreement between the players and current Works Minister Warner.

The TTFF had offered the players $5,644 each. However, the players estimate that each is owed between $1.9-$3.4 million.

It is estimated that more than US$40 million in sponsorship and payments for qualifying were generated during that period.

Brent Sancho, Shaka Hislop, Kelvin Jack, Atiba Charles, Cyd Gray, Avery John, Aurtis Whitley, Collin Samuel, Evans Wise, Anthony Wolfe, Cornell Glen, Kenwyne Jones and Stern John were among 16 players who initiated litigation proceedings.

Three of them—Marvin Andrews, Chris Birchall and Ian Cox—later withdrew from the suit.

The TTFF appealed the SDRP judgement to the Trinidad and Tobago High Court, which ruled in favour of the footballers.

Presiding in the Port of Spain High Court, Justice Devindra Rampersad ruled on February 24, 2011 that an interim payment of US$1,140,384.39 be paid to the footballers. However, the "cash-strapped" TTFF failed to meet the October 18 payment deadline.

A subsequent letter from its lawyers indicated that the Federation did not have the money to pay.

Yesterday, England-based T&T goalkeeper Kelvin Jack also issued a release stating the players' position.

"We have given the TTFF, its president and its former special adviser every opportunity to resolve this issue promptly and amicably.

The issue is simple, Jack Warner promised that the TTFF would pay the players 50 per cent of the FIFA grant and commercial revenue. All we want to know is what that figure amounts to. The TTFF could have given us this information long ago, without the need for complicated, drawn-out and expensive litigation.

"A letter that was obtained from the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs in September 2007 stated that 'the total sum contributed to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, Private Sector Organisations and FIFA amounted to TT$205,690,113.50'.

"The obvious question that needs to be asked is where did all that money go? How was it spent? This question becomes even more urgent when you examine the Federation's audited accounts for the years 2005 and 2006. These have been disclosed and they show total income for both years as being just $11,610,992.

"The Honourable Justice Devindra Rampersad described the Federation's financial status as being 'unaccountable'," the players' release added.

Sancho said further revelations may come on December 8, the day when Warner has been summoned to appear before the court.

According to Sancho, Warner has written the court indicating reasons why he should not appear.

"Based on what the TTFF has now said, it appears that the TTFF is currently insolvent and unable to pay its debts as they fall due.

Unless this situation is resolved, then it would seem inevitable that the TTFF will be subject to some form of insolvency procedure under the provisions of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act 2006.

"This will at least allow for a thorough and independent financial examination by a licensed and appropriately qualified insolvency trustee.

"We are still hopeful this matter might be resolved without the need to instigate further formal procedural steps against the TTFF, but the prospects do not look promising," the players' release stated.

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Press statement issued by Mike Townley on 19th October 2011.

With regard to the ongoing litigation between 13 of the 2006 World Cup players and the TTFF the latest development is that the TTFF, and its president Oliver Camps, have failed to comply with a High Court order to make an interim payment of TT$4.26 million.

According to the court order this payment had to be made by close of business on 18th October 2011 but no payment has been received. A letter from the Federation’s lawyers suggests that the Federation don’t have the money to pay the amount that has been ordered.

We have given the TTFF, it's president and it's former special advisor every opportunity to resolve this issue promptly and amicably.

The issue is simple, Jack Warner promised that the TTFF would pay the players 50% of the FIFA grant and commercial revenue, all we want to know is what that figure amounts to. The TTFF could have given us this information long ago, without the need for complicated, drawn-out and expensive litigation.
 
A letter that was obtained from the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs in September 2007 stated that;
 
“The total sum contributed to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, Private Sector Organisations and FIFA amounted to TT$ 205,690,113.50”
 
The obvious question that needs to be asked is where did all that money go, how was it spent? This question becomes even more urgent when you examine the Federation’s audited accounts for the years 2005 and 2006.

These have been disclosed and they show total income for both years as being just $11,610,992!  The Honourable Justice Devindra Rampersad described the Federations financial status as being "unaccountable".
 
We remain strong in our resolve and maintain complete faith in our judicial system.
 
Based on what the TTFF have now said it appears that the TTFF is currently insolvent and unable to pay its debts as they fall due. Unless this situation is resolved then it would seem inevitable that the TTFF will be subject to some form of insolvency procedure under the provisions of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act 2006. This will at least allow for a thorough and independent financial examination by a licensed and appropriately qualified insolvency trustee.
 
We are still hopeful this matter might be resolved without the need to instigate further formal procedural steps against the TTFF, but the prospects do not look promising.

None of this was of our making and the TTFF have always had the ability to bring an end to the litigation by coming clean about their finances and paying us what they promised.

Gibbs on calls to probe Warner: Police Service will do its duty
By Geisha Kowlessar (Guardian).

Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs is assuring that the Police Service is “quietly doing what it has do to” regarding calls to have Works and Infrastructure Minister Jack Warner investigated.

And Gibbs has not ruled out the possibility of Warner being questioned by the police. Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley wrote to Gibbs in June, raising the question of a possible breach of the foreign exchange and other laws of T&T by Warner, then a FIFA vice-president, in the wake of the allegations involving then presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam which also implicated Warner, who denied the allegations.
 
Rowley also accused Gibbs of “sitting on his hands,” charging that the top cop did not know how to proceed with police investigations because he was “pandering to the political directorate and sending the signal that certain persons are too big for the police to interfere with them.”

Gibbs, however, painted a different picture while speaking to the media, after the launch of a training programme involving the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) and the Joint Partnership Project on Criminal Justice for investigators which was held at the Waterfront Complex, Port-of-Spain. “We’ve been quietly probing that investigation and it is going on and we’re doing what we have to do,” Gibbs said.
 
Asked whether he had questioned Warner, the top cop said he was yet to do so. When question further whether he had any intention of interrogating Warner Gibbs replied: “Those questions I can’t comment on because the matter is under investigation.

“But if it leads to a point where there is questioning of Mr Warner, then that will take place.” Gibbs said he sent a letter to FIFA in June this year, following which he received a response. He, however, refused to divulge details of the correspondence.

“It’s an investigation that we’re taking a look at and we’re quietly probing it,” he said. “We need to keep that information close to us for us to have an opportunity to complete that investigation.”