Sidebar

15
Sat, Jun

Typography

Sancho vs Rooney.The "Soca Warriors", embroiled in a four-year legal battle with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) over outstanding 2006 World Cup payments, are waiting with bated breath to see what is in the TTFF's account books.

The Federation were recently ordered by High Court Judge Devindra Rampersad to produce their accounts for scrutiny by Monday.

Brent Sancho, one of the 16 players named in the action against the Federation, is relieved that there finally seems to be progress in their case.

"The fact of the matter is they have to show their books now," Sancho told the Express earlier this week. "They've been very reluctant to do that since the inception of the court case. They have not wanted to do this willingly at all for whatever they have to hide. There is a reason, because they haven't done it."

Sancho criticised Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Anil Roberts for remaining mum on the issue of what he sees as TTFF's lack of transparency in the matter.

Said Sancho: "My biggest concern is the transparency issue and the accountability of Mr (Jack) Warner. You hear the Minister (Anil Roberts) on the podium all over talking about it and here you have the Federation asked to produce accounts and they still can't for five years.

"It's absolutely ludicrous and it saddens me. It's one of the things the new Government has been very, very heavy on and they spoke about in their campaign and we are not seeing anything said about it or done."

In response, Roberts told the Express that having come from a legal family background, he understands that it is not appropriate for him to comment on the issue, which also involves Minister of Works and Transport and TTFF special adviser Warner.

"(Sancho) may not understand the laws and the principles and the value of the judicial system and the independence of the judiciary," Roberts responded. "If something is currently before the judiciary an individual like myself must not comment. Because I have full respect and understanding of the law, I have respect for the independence of the judiciary and will not comment.

"Maybe Mr Sancho, while he is now a CEO (of North East Stars FC), should pick up a law book and read it, so that he will not make such irresponsible comments in the future."

Sancho, however, said that the Minister himself recently criticised the players, describing them as "mercenaries".

He said such comments only made it more difficult for them, because some members of the public had been misinformed and misled over the entire ordeal and some even think the matter had already been settled, and the players paid.

"To be considered heroes in one breath and in the next being called mercenaries… to be used and labelled and called all these names and all that we have endured. The courts have shown on three occasions that we are right in what we have answered before. At the end of the day you look to yourself and say 'we can't be wrong if the courts say we are right three times'."

Sancho stated that the initial blacklist of the 16 players who took legal action against the TTFF hurt their club careers because playing international football is a requirement to acquire a work permit, and put in jeopardy Kenwyne Jones's eventual move to Sunderland FC.

He likened the situation to Jamaica, where their players recently threatened action if their outstanding monetary issues were not settled.

"You would do very well to find any other country that will completely blacklist their players," said Sancho.

The ex-T&T defender said all the remaining players are determined in seeing their legal action to the end.

"It's not a fact that they have (shied) away. You talk to (players from) Evans Wise all the way to Kenwyne Jones and these guys are hurt. Some of these guys have gone through different hardships etcetera simply because of the fallout of the blacklist, and they want this to be done. They want justice to be done."