Sun, Jul

FIFA vice-president and special advisor to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) Jack Warner, has responded to the letter issued to the media on Thursday by Minister of Sport, Roger Boynes, with a public letter of his own.

On Thursday, Boynes' letter, complaining about the ticket prices for the "Soca Warrios" farewell match against Peru on May 10 was released. Yesterday, through TTFF media, an upset Warner responded first to the timing of Boynes' public release saying: "Unfortunately, rather than calling me directly on my return or awaiting my reply to your letter, you have sought to issue publicly, letter addressed to me on the matter of ticket costs for the World Cup warm-up match between Trinidad and Tobago and Peru carded for May 10th at the National Stadium - no doubt, hoping that with the holiday, today, Good Friday, the readership will be optimum!!. It saddens me yet again that a football event that has so inspired and unified our nation can be so politicised."

Warner then gave reasons for the price upgrade which has seen covered and unconvered stand prices going up to $500 and $300 respectively.

He said they were:

1. "To off-set the loss of $2.2 million dollars suffered by the TTFF in the pre-match preparations between Trinidad and Tobago and Iceland in London on February 28.

2. An additional warm-up match will be played in Germany at an added cost of $580,000.

3. Coach Leo Beenhakker, quite rightly, has requested that Peru fields its best team possible for the match against Trinidad and Tobago. This required many of their overseas-based players take part thereby increasing the cost of hosting the match by a further $1.4 million dollars.

4. To cover the costs of World Cup match tickets which the TTFF has decided will be allocated to spouses/friends of the members of the team. Two tickets each are being provided at no cost to the players.

5. Coach Leo Beenhakker has requested, again quite rightly, a de-linking of the T&TFF's German office from the hotel where the Soca Warriors are being accommodated. This has meant that additional accommodation must be sought for the group at the World Cup in Germany-at a cost yet to be determined.

6. A cultural presentation will be put in place for the match with Peru on May 10th. This presentation as well as the match itself will be broadcast live to over 100 countries around the world. (The TTFF remains particularly concerned about the absence, up to this point in time, of any official announcement of specific arrangements of what Trinidad and Tobago has put in place to showcase the country during the World Cup in June.)"

The Warner letter continued in part:

"The above represents some of the major expenses to be covered through the ticket sales for the match on May 10 and, in an effort to offset some of these costs the members of the T&TFF's General Council have all voluntarily waived their rights to complimentary tickets and are each purchasing two tickets per member at a cost of $500 each. In this same vein, no complimentary tickets will be issued to VIPs, all of whom have been written to and have been so advised and of whom some 254 have agreed to purchase their own tickets - from Sir Ellis Clarke to the Commissioner of Police to the Chief of the Defence Force.

Warner also addressed Boynes' statement about the Government's assistance of $1.6m that was given for a specific qualifying match, to a sum of $6m that was given to assist in the payment of the charter flight to take the team to Bahrain.

He thanked the Minister publicly but asked: "Is this all a team needs to qualify for the greatest show on earth ? Because that is all that has been received from your Government for this team to date ! ! !"

Special advisor Warner also stated again that, "the TTFF has to date, a mere six weeks before the start of the FIFA World Cup, received no official letter from your Government on the 45 million dollar allocation which we learnt through the media."

Warner ended by, "respectfully" urging Boynes to, "use the same consideration which drove you to query the tickets costs for the Peru game, to write the T&TFF officially on the World Cup allocation and to give the Soca Warrior team members who earned this country its World Cup qualification their due incentives now."