Following several erroneous press articles over the last few days, the board of Central F.C. would like to advise the public of certain facts concerning the employment of Marvin Oliver, who has served the club throughout its short, yet successful history.
It is not usual for the board of Central F.C. to air personal issues in public, a fact that Mr. Oliver himself can testify to, yet due to the reckless and inaccurate reporting of this episode, the club feels it has no choice other than to defend its reputation as well as that of its players, staff and sponsors.
On Sunday 24th January, following a game vs W.Connection in which he took no part, Marvin Oliver spoke to Team Manager Kevin Jeffrey and Head Coach Dale Saunders. Mr. Oliver was disappointed in the number of appearances he had been making. He made it clear that if he was not going to be starting more games he would prefer to leave the club. This is a usual occurrence in football, particularly when a player begins to mature.
Following on from this conversation, having no wish to prevent the player from continuing his career elsewhere, a letter was prepared by the club agreeing to release Mr. Oliver from his contract. This letter was delivered to Mr. Oliver at the training ground on Tuesday 26th January by Kevin Jeffrey, Dale Saunders and Derek Khan. Contrary to certain press statements, no impromptu meeting between Managing Director Brent Sancho, Dale Saunders and Stern John took place on the training field regarding Marvin Oliver.
At no point was Marvin Oliver's employment terminated by the club. Indeed, no official release from his contract has been prepared. Until an official release from contract letter was prepared and signed by both parties, Mr. Oliver's employment was intact. Indeed, it is standard practice that when a player leaves the club he is required to return all apparel before receiving his final salary. No such letter had been prepared or presented. This letter was merely correspondence confirming a verbal discussion. One of the reasons for such a letter is that it would give the recipient an opportunity to reconsider his actions before the formal letter of termination is issued.
Instead of following the recognized grievance procedure, or even, common employment practice, and requesting a meeting with the board, Mr. Oliver decided instead to contact a journalist and air his grievances publicly. This resulted in several untruths and misconceptions being expressed, exaggerated, and now repeated as if fact.
At this point, Central F.C. would have been within their rights to terminate Mr. Oliver's contract on the basis of gross misconduct by bringing the club into disrepute.
However, the board of Central F.C. decided instead to invite Mr. Oliver to a meeting at the club office to resolve the situation. Mr. Oliver was and still is, an employee of Central F.C. and is contracted until May 31st 2016.
As such, it is the responsibility of Mr. Oliver to attend meetings when requested. However, Mr. Oliver declined to attend the meeting and instead suggested to meet 4 days later in Port of Spain.
Again, this refusal to attend an official meeting is a contradiction of the terms of Mr. Oliver's contract.
One final attempt was made by the board to resolve the matter by requesting Mr. Oliver's attendance at a meeting on Friday 29th January 2016 at the club office. The invitation was sent in writing. The letter also reminded Mr. Oliver that it is his contractual duty to attend the meeting and a fine would be administered should he fail to attend, which is standard practice.
Once again, instead of responding in a professional and respectful manner, Mr. Oliver decided to send this letter to a journalist for publication, together with further derogatory remarks.
Mr. Oliver has provided exemplary service to Central F.C. on the field. Out of respect for Mr. Oliver and the service he has provided, Central F.C. has frequently been financially supportive of his community projects. Indeed, no other Central F.C. player has received as much support and respect as Mr. Oliver, a fact that he seems to have forgotton. The club has also supported him in two separate legal matters which were in the public domain, when the club could simply have terminated his contract. Several other incidents during his time with Central F.C. could have resulted in termination. In one incident the club lost a potential sponsor valued at around $200,000 per year. Our club sponsor, Bankers Insurance also helped Mr. Oliver financially, preventing his arrest. Central F.C. and its sponsors have also assisted Mr. Oliver with the building of his house by contributing finances and building materials.
The reality of the situation is that Mr. Oliver tried to force the club to select him more often. Unfortunately, despite his ability, the clubs coaches felt that he would not be suited to the new tactics employed by the club in most games. No club wants to force a player to stay when he wants to leave.
However, at no time had there been any discussion to terminate Marvin Oliver's contract. He was a squad player and would certainly be called upon from time to time. It would appear that Mr. Oliver didn't expect the club to accept his request to leave the club, and panicked, knowing that no other club would pay the same level of salary as he received at Central F.C.
It is these situations which clearly show the need for a players association. Had Mr. Oliver had access to professional advice, the situation may well have been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties. Instead it appears that outside influences, perhaps with their own agendas, have convinced Mr. Oliver to take a more militant route in the public domain.
Airing such grievances in public can benefit no party other than the journalist. Yet it is the player and the club, and, ultimately, the game of football, whose reputations are tarnished in the name of writing one or two headlines.
As we have seen so many times, the real loser in this dispute will be the beautiful game.