Sun, May



Kenwyne Jones’ outrage and mashing up of a teammate’s vehicle windscreen had almost nothing to do with the bloody pig’s head left in his locker at Stoke City’s training ground. Rumour has it that the real reason the giant English Premier League striker and former national captain blew a gasket on Friday was the result of seeing his share of the financial settlement with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation taped onto the swine’s snout.

Do I have any proof of that? No. Should I get proof, or at least corroboration of the story from reliable sources before going public with it? Why should I, for if the players who have apparently finally prevailed in a nearly seven-year legal battle for their share of the spoils from the 2006 World Cup finals campaign now choose to go silent, why shouldn’t we all engage in a bit of creative imagination to fill in the blanks?

Isn’t it hypocritical, after going on all these years about transparency and accountability, after vigourously milking public suspicion and disaffection with the administration of the game here, after loudly championing the opening of the TTFF’s woefully inadequate financial records in pursuit of what they felt was justifiably due to them on the word of one man – a man described by at least one international arbiter as being economical with the truth – that the previously verbose and vociferous advocates for the cause would now go dead silent on the terms and conditions of the supposed settlement?

If, as is being suggested, the attorneys for both sides have signed off on a non-disclosure clause to the settlement, the obvious question is, why? What do they have to hide? Why would they want to have the amount of compensation finally agreed upon kept under wraps? Weren’t they the same ones bleating about the need for full disclosure from the TTFF and how this cause was not just about forcing the organisation to be bound by a valid agreement but also for the people of Trinidad and Tobago to benefit from the recovery of all that money that poured in from various sources after the team had qualified for Germany 2006?

In now observing a stony silence where previously they were knocking on every newspaper’s door and taking no prisoners in front of every microphone, the “World Cup 13” has actually given us media maggots a lovely, bloated carcass of speculation to feed upon.

Is it that infighting has now begun over who gets how much from the long-awaited money? Can we assume that some, if not all, of the ten who abandoned the effort or were induced to jump ship are now exploring their legal avenues towards getting their shameless hands on some of that cash, or worse, are issuing veiled or open threats that they better get their share or else, in keeping with the lawless, wrong-and-strong culture that defines this distressingly corrupt nation?

Okay, so let’s call everybody out for the purposes of identifying who may be who in the midst of our creative speculation. The “World Cup 13” comprises Shaka Hislop, Kenwyne Jones, Brent Sancho, Kelvin Jack, Stern John, Avery John, Cyd Gray, Aurtis Whitley, Collin Samuel, Cornell Glen, Evans Wise, Atiba Charles and Anthony Wolfe.

Those who opted out of the legal route are Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy, Marvin Andrews, Dennis Lawrence, Carlos Edwards, Chris Birchall, Jason Scotland, Densill Theobald, Ian Cox and Clayton Ince.

In announcing his intention to step down as Member of Parliament for Chaguanas West last month, former FIFA vice-president and TTFF special adviser Jack Warner identified Yorke and three others as agreeing to accept financial compensation to drop out of the legal battle. So unless they are completely devoid of any semblance of a conscience, or if they believe that we have all forgotten about that revelation, given that it was done more than nine days ago, there can really only be six out of the ten dropouts who may – may – be threatening to cause trouble in their own right or worse, are seeking legal counsel to do the scrounging and scavenging for them.

It is more than just convenient and disingenuous for players who have worked so hard to keep the matter in the public domain for years to now take an apparent oath of silence just as a settlement has been reached and the money is about to roll in. It is a betrayal of the public trust, for it doesn’t take any deep analysis or expensive study by our many university-trained old-talk specialists to work out that the sympathy of a significant majority of those who were aware of the issue rested on the side of the footballers.

Are they implying that we, and especially the many backslappers they may have around them, will now be pursuing them endlessly for a generous donation or at least a borrows should we find out how much they are getting? Or is there are hierarchical structure to the compensation package, and if those at the bottom of the 13-man totem pole realise what the ones are the top are getting, all hell will break loose?

Look, the details are going to seep out anyway over time. That’s just the way things are. So rather than adopt a TTFF-style arrogant silence, and being haughtily dismissive of anyone who dares to ask a question, the men who are set to reap a financial windfall should realise that money may compensate for credibility, but only for a while.