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North East Stars, the 2017 T&T Pro League cham­pi­ons are tak­ing le­gal ac­tions against the League.

A pre-ac­tion pro­to­col let­ter was sent to the League yes­ter­day, a week af­ter the 'Stars' was sus­pend­ed along with three oth­er clubs- Po­lice FC, Point Fortin Civic and Mor­vant Cale­do­nia Unit­ed for their fail­ure to pay an an­nu­al $130,000 reg­is­tra­tion fee each which was due last sea­son and an­oth­er sim­i­lar this year (2019).

At a meet­ing of the Board last week the quar­tet could not come up with the re­quired $260, 000 which was need­ed to be paid by De­cem­ber 31, 2018.

Guardian Sports learnt that both Cale­do­nia Unit­ed and Po­lice FC are still at­tempt­ing to rene­go­ti­ate a pay­ment plan with the League to se­cure their en­try, while Point Fortin, it is un­der­stood will miss out this year as they are un­able to make the to­tal pay­ment.

Richard Fakoory, Chair­man of the T&T Pro League said the clubs were al­lowed to make pay­ments of $50,000 month­ly un­til De­cem­ber 31 last year, with the in­ten­tion of clear­ing off the bal­ance of their debt by Feb­ru­ary 2019.

"Mor­vant Cale­do­nia, Po­lice and Point Fortin have made pay­ments to date, but the North East club has not paid a sin­gle cent," Fakoory said, not­ing the League is ex­pect­ed to make a fi­nal de­ci­sion soon.

The 'Stars' mean­while will be tak­ing le­gal pro­ceed­ings against the League for its fail­ure to ho­n­our an agree­ment to pay them $1,000,000 that rep­re­sent their win­nings for the 2017 sea­son, which was ex­pect­ed to be used to cov­er its ex­pens­es, in­clud­ing the reg­is­tra­tion fees for both years.

North East Stars in their pre-ac­tion pro­to­col let­ter from At­tor­ney Bar­rie R. N, chal­lenged a re­lease by the League on No­vem­ber 7 last year, which stat­ed the club was en­ti­tled to pay all its ad­min­is­tra­tive fees as there were no prize monies to be had. The 'Stars' re­fut­ed this how­ev­er and point­ed to the min­utes of the Ju­ly 2017 meet­ing in which the par­tic­i­pat­ing clubs were told that prize monies were put on hold.

Ac­cord­ing to North East Stars, "The high­light­ed text is in­cor­rect, as there is no res­o­lu­tion of the Board of Di­rec­tors to the ef­fect that Pro League Lim­it­ed would no longer pay prize mon­ey to the Cham­pi­ons of the League. I am ad­vised that you seek to re­ly on an in­nocu­ous state­ment in the Ju­ly 27, 2017 Board min­utes, which pro­vid­ed that 'the 2017 prize monies will be put on hold."

"Con­cern­ing this, and at best, “on hold” means the oblig­a­tion of Pro League Lim­it­ed to make a cash pay­ment to the League’s cham­pi­ons will be de­ferred to a date to be de­ter­mined. At worst, “on hold” means that any Board dis­cus­sions per­tain­ing to the is­sue of the pay­out of prize mon­ey to the even­tu­al Cham­pi­on of the 2017 League will be de­ferred."

"What is clear, how­ev­er, is that “on hold” does not mean by any con­tor­tion of the Eng­lish lan­guage that the en­ti­tle­ment of the Cham­pi­on to re­ceive prize mon­ey (or draw­down in lieu there­of) had been ter­mi­nat­ed. Specif­i­cal­ly, a de­ci­sion to the ef­fect that win­ners of the League are not en­ti­tled to prize mon­ey must be stat­ed in clear and un­am­bigu­ous terms and, in any event, can­not be made af­ter the sea­son had com­menced and Clubs had al­ready re­lied up­on the promise to pay to their detri­ment by in­vest­ing con­sid­er­able time and mon­ey in the de­vel­op­ment of their teams with their “eyes” on the lit­er­al “prize”.

Mike Awai, the 'NE Stars' Tech­ni­cal Di­rec­tor said the team, which was tak­en over from the pre­vi­ous own­er Dar­ryl Ma­habir, agreed to play in the League based on an agree­ment made on or around 2014, that prize monies would be raised to $1,000,000 in or­der to at­tract and en­cour­age greater par­tic­i­pa­tion in the League.

His lawyers not­ed, "In con­sid­er­a­tion of Pro League Lim­it­ed’s promise to pay the prize mon­ey, foot­ball clubs have agreed too, to par­tic­i­pate in the League, and Pro League Lim­it­ed has de­rived sev­er­al ben­e­fits there­from, in­clu­sive of the re­ceipt of fi­nan­cial spon­sor­ships."

Mean­while, Fakoory said all clubs agreed that the 2017 sea­son would have had no prize monies, and not­ed that Ma­habir, who rep­re­sent­ed the club at the time, had agreed al­so. He be­lieves Awai and com­pa­ny who took over the club last year, have mis­in­ter­pret­ed what was meant by 'on hold.'

SOURCE: T&T Guardian