Sun, Jun


SECRETARY of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) Jack Warner has admitted responsibility for excess printing of tickets for the deciding CONCACAF zone World Cup qualifying match here four months ago.

In interviews with Express newspapers, Warner said an extra 5,000 tickets had been sold for the game at the national stadium on November 19 won by the United States, ending Trinidad's hopes of going to Rome.

He confirmed the reports to CANA and said he felt relieved. He said he had been unable to speak out before on the advice of FIFA which was using the match as a demonstration film up until March 4.

The oversale of tickets had left hundreds of angry football supporters outside the Stadium with valid tickets and the affair became a national scandal, prompting a presidential inquiry.

According to Warner, up to October 19, 1989, over half of the 34,300 tickets had been pre-sold to companies which had financed the team during its build-up to the qualifying game.

When FIFA recommended a five per cent cut in the sale of tickets because the match was classed "high risk", Warner said he realised the organisers would have problems meeting the needs of the public whose interest had already been aroused.

"Then, we got orders from overseas and people on ... charter tours to Trinidad. About 400 from Barbados and 800 from New York," Warner told the Express newspaper and its stablemate, the Evening Sun.

"I decided to increase grounds by another 5,000 making the total 43,000."

Warner had denied the allegations against him following the match and had even threatened to sue the Guardian newspaper, which had waged a campaign asking for answers on the issue.

He had announced his resignation after 16 years as TTFA secretary effective April 30.

The presidential enquiry, at which Warner will be a key witness, begins hearings on Friday.