For Trinidad and Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones, the 2006 Soca Warriors’ legal tussle with the T&T Football Federation (TTFF) is a “huge disappointment”.
The Stoke City striker added his voice this week to the concerns of his more vocal former T&T teammates, Brent Sancho and Kelvin Jack, following the Federation’s failure to meet payments ordered by Justice Devindra Rampersad.
Thirteen players from that 2006 World Cup team have been embroiled in a legal battle with the TTFF since they sued the Federation for unpaid World Cup bonuses they said were promised them by former TTFF special adviser Jack Warner.
Despite winning that judgment, the players received no money and took the matter to the High Court. They have since been awarded two payments totaling approximately $11.5 million, including legal costs, but have only received part of that sum.
The players levied upon the TTFF last month, seizing its assets in lieu of payment.
Jones is “disappointed” over the Federation’s lack of accountability and the current state of T&T football.
The 27-year-old forward has questioned the Football Federation’s lack of willingness to pay the players and blamed the Federation and Warner for the current situation.
“Why was it so difficult to pay us?” Jones asked. “Unless the millions of sponsorship and taxpayers dollars was spent on something else... If that is the case, what was it spent on? For our football has been stagnant and going tragically downhill since 2006.”
Jones reiterated Sancho and Jack’s call for Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to intervene in the matter.
“We do not deserve to be treated this way. We were feted as heroes when we qualified for the World Cup in 2006 but now we feel abandoned and neglected,” he said.
Jones expressed confidence in the local judicial system on the issue and thanked the fans for their support, but said T&T football cannot move forward until the matter of TTFF funding is finally put to rest.
“I want football in Trinidad and Tobago to prosper but it can’t until our issue is resolved. The TTFF and Mr Warner should know that it is not business as usual, because this is a national scandal that needs sorting out.
“We need to somehow build trust but it’s up to the TTFF to earn it,” Jones concluded.