Thu, Oct


Shaka HislopEx-players concerned about further Govt funding.

Kelvin Jack called it "absolute madness". Shaka Hislop said it lacks "proper business procedure".

Both former national footballers are questioning Government's support for the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation's (TTFF) 2014 World Cup programme, as promised by Works and Transport Minister, acting Prime Minister Jack Warner.

On Tuesday at the official unveiling of T&T's new senior football coach, 74-year-old German Otto Pfister, Warner guaranteed government support once the Federation re-submit their next budget proposal.

But the two players—who along with ex-T&T defender Brent Sancho have been the main proponents of legal action taken against the TTFF for monies owed them from the 2006 World Cup campaign—feel the Government should first require the Federation to submit all outstanding, properly audited accounts, before they receive more money.

"That should be basic public policy for Government spending," Hislop told the Express yesterday. "If you're contributing money, especially significant amounts of money, there should be accounts produced.

There should be proper checks and balances. I don't think they've proper accounts since, I don't' think they are producing proper accounts currently."

Hislop said that his cause is more than that of a former player embroiled in a lawsuit. As a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, he is interested in knowing what happens to taxpayers' money. He is also looking to a resolution of the current legal matter.

"(If an independent third party determines) the money that was offered initially then in 2006, TT$5,800, is what we're entitled to we'll be okay with that. All we want is a third party [ruling]."

Jack took an even tougher stance on the matter. He is saying Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar needs to question why the Federation are being given more funding without providing proper audited accounts.

Said Jack: "as far as I'm concerned, if the Prime Minister is endorsing (Government support for the TTFF), she has questions to answer as well."

He also accused Warner of trying to "distance himself" from the matter.

"How can her government give even more public money for this organisation who have not accounted for millions of dollars to date?" he asked.

"If you ask me—and I'm sure thousands of T&T citizens are asking the question—Mr Warner has to explain and show where the money has gone. He cannot distance himself from it."

The TTFF are due to present their accounts to the courts for the second time on May 31, after Justice Devindra Rampersad ordered them re-done last month.

The players were awarded an interim payment after the judge upheld an arbitration ruling to award them 2006 World Cup bonus monies.

Hislop is hoping T&T football will be the winners once the matter ends.

"I would like to see how football is administrated going forward from here, given that as far I as I am aware, there has never been proper accountability," the T&T 2006 World Cup goalkeeper said.

"How do things change from here? Is football going to be run the same way? Is money going to be distributed in the same way?

If that's the case (that things stay the same) I have to say this whole process maybe will benefit a few, but would have been a waste for what I believe would be the (benefit of T&T football)," he concluded.