THE Football Association has declared that money which Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar committed to fund Trinidad and Tobago's participation in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, has amounted to just promises thus far.
The Prime Minister's gesture came in November, to avert a player boycott over unpaid wages at the 2014 Caribbean final in Montego Bay, where Trinidad and Tobago's Soca Warriors finished runner-up at the 2014 Caribbean Cup, a qualifier for the Gold Cup. As was widely reported, the Prime Minister hosted the team on its return, and also promised to avert any such recurrence at the Gold Cup.
TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee still insist that those promises made to the Soca Warriors should be kept, despite a cordial meeting this week with new Minister of Sport Brent Sancho.
“We are insisting that the promises that was made by the Prime Minister to the senior national team be upheld and maintained and acknowledge. He (Sancho) is going to see how best he could work with us,” Tim Kee, said in responses to question at a press briefing.
“We had a meeting which was quite instructive because they (Ministry of Sport) did indicate the kind of strain (they face), as a result of the fall in oil prices and how it affects the exchequer,” Tim Kee continued,
“(Apparently) Money that has been allocated is just an allocation. It is not cash in the bank.”
Meanwhile, Sport Minister Sancho is insisting that the TTFA had gotten most of what was promised, but he does not rule out the possibility of giving them some further help. The Ministry of Sport, is the largest financial contributor to the TTFA and football in T&T. Sancho also acknowledge that promises were made.
“There was a cabinet note for $9 million dollars,” Sancho admitted. “Ninety percent of it has already been used up. The Cabinet note was specific for salaries, arrears of salaries, and a range of specific things that related to the Cabinet note. They have used up the majority of it. Moving forward, they will have to decide how they will move things forward.”
Both parties also differ on whether the TTFA had met Sancho's criteria of providing audited accounts before further funds are released for football. Tim Kee insists that the TTFA had done so within the time-frame set to provide audited accounts, while Sancho says it was not completed.
“The next due date for the delivery of that draft (audit) is in a week or so time, but we have lived up to every bit of the stipulation he has made for us to get the ears of the Minister,” Tim Kee said.
Sancho countered: “They (TTFA) haven't met the stipulations. They are still a way off. We have got accounts from them. We have gotten accounts for certain years and we have gotten income and expenditure for other years.”
“They have expressed to me that they have had challenges that they have had to deal with including parallel accounts. They have had to deal with what they describe as things which are not normal practice as it relates to accounts,” Sancho said.
“So, they have asked for the assistance of the Ministry to help them get the access to some of the things they can't get access to.”