FIFA Vice President Jack Warner said yesterday that he believes the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) should pay the Soca Warriors the money owed to them as ordered by the courts.
Warner, also the Minister of Works and Transport, made the comment following the adjournment of the Parliament sitting.
"I am not involved in that, you know, the TTFF will have to decide. I imagine they will appeal, I really don't know. I haven't spoken to the TTFF," Warner said.
Pressed for further comment, he said: "I have taken myself out of that a long time ago. They had asked for $100 million, at one time was $50 million, then it came to $20 million, one month ago it was $10 million, now the courts says $6 million, okay.
"If I were to advise the TTFF, I would tell them of course to give it to them and call it a day, because at the end of the day this thing is just protracted, a waste of time and in the end nobody will believe it."
Questioned on criticisms that he is responsible for the legal position taken by the players, Warner said, "The country will judge me by my deeds. If the country believes that I am a person who treats people unfairly, I will pay a price for that. If the country believes that I treat people fairly, I will also be praised for that. I don't have to prove anything to anybody, my deeds speak for themselves and this is good enough for me."
He added, "It's one man and one man only who has been fighting this thing, Shaka Hislop and his father. We have paid much more money than you have here.
"What is to gain in all this? What it shows of course is how frivolous this whole thing has been and what it does show is how one man, one person only could lead a multitude to do nonsense. It didn't have to reach this far, from $100 million to now $6 million."
Mixed reaction from players.
By Kern De Freitas (Express).
Ex-T&T defender Brent Sancho, one of the most vocal players during the case that dates back to 2006, was relieved to finally have some progress in a matter that has had its fair share of twists and turns.
"It's a happy/sad moment because we're finally moving forward in the case. The sad point is where is the money gone because they (TTFF) can't show where the money is gone," Sancho said.
In 2006, 16 players took legal action against the TTFF over 2006 World Cup bonus money they claimed was promised by TTFF special adviser, now Minister of Works, Jack Warner.
After being awarded the money by a sports arbitration body in England, the TTFF took it to the local courts, where High Court Judge Devindra Rampersad ordered the TTFF to pay the players and asked to see the federation's books.
The Express learned that in addition to awarding the footballers an interim sum, to be confirmed next Friday, the TTFF has also been directed to redo their books and present them again to the courts.
Sancho yesterday called on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Minister of Sports Anil Roberts to investigate the matter. He added that the players are happy with the judgment.
"Everybody is happy, but it is astonishing what happened with the accounts, where the money has gone. Where is the money going? Whose pocket is it lining? They want to get paid but in the end they want to see football do well."
George Hislop, father of former T&T goalkeeper Shaka Hislop and one of the legal counsel representing the players in the matter, said the result was a "favourable one" for them.