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Trinidad and Tobago still reverberates to the 'thud' of Dennis Lawrence's headed goal against Bahrain, which booked the country a historical berth at the 2006 FIFA World Cup football tournament in Germany.


On November 16, Trinidad and Tobago became the smallest country ever to qualify for a FIFA senior World Cup and Prime Minister Patrick Manning, President George Maxwell Richards and the rest of the population swore their love for the team, dubbed the "Soca Warriors".

More than a month later, the national players have not received a cent as tangible reward for the accomplishment.

FIFA vice-president and Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) special adviser Jack Warner is not so patient or charitable.

Warner's family owned company, Simpaul Travel Services Limited, emerged without any public tender as the authorised ticket sellers for the World Cup tournament. And tickets that FIFA priced at $2,254 and $1,339 are being sold, by Simpaul, for $30,000 with the addition of lodging for 12 days in Germany and a national flag, replica shirt and wristband.

Oliver Camps, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF), was given the chance to explain the deal between his organisation and Warner and whether patriotic fans were being financially exploited.

Camps refused on the grounds that he was told not to speak to the press just yet.

Trinidad and Tobago football fans, it appears, are at the mercy of someone who has no tangible post within the local running body.

The post of "special adviser", which falls under the category of "honorary member" in the T&TFF constitution, is not allowed to vote at general council meetings or make decisions.

But Warner boasts of hiring and firing coaches, paying players and receives cheques on behalf of the Federation.

FIFA's motto is "For the good of the game" but it is possible that Warner, one of 13 FIFA vice-presidents, might have modified this watchword.

Exactly what is the relationship between Warner, Camps (as T&TFF head) and the general public, though? And how did it become thus?

Warner, a former school teacher and football linesman, emerged on the national scene in 1974 "soon after T&T's infamous and unsuccessful attempt to qualify for the 1974 World Cup in Germany" and served as general secretary for nearly two decades before reinventing his role to that of special adviser.

The honorary position gave Warner the ability to peer into T&TFF affairs but not to affect it. For Warner to maintain his influence, he needed a supportive president.

Camps, who replaced Peter O' Connor as president in 1992, had just taken the reins and the pair quickly formed an alliance.

Warner publicly supports Camps and declared that, were the president to be ousted, he would immediately insist on collecting money owed to him by the T&TFF and, quite possibly, force the local organisation into bankruptcy.

It is virtually impossible to quantify the money owed to Warner for several reasons.

The T&TFF books are audited by Kenny Rampersad and Company, a small accounting firm.

Article 13.2 of the T&TFF Constitution explains that the local body must hire "a firm of qualified accountants" who hold no office in the Federation for obvious reasons of transparency.

Although Kenny Rampersad is not a T&TFF member, Express investigations did unearth a document authorising the accountant to act on behalf of Warner's Simpaul Travel business.

The T&TFF is therefore relying on a man who, at the least, acted as Warner's business partner in the past to give them credible information on how much is owed to Warner.

Considering Warner's relationship with Camps, T&TFF affiliates may also be concerned by a possible conflict of interests when they are briefed on the Federation's financial position.

There was a notable change to the T&TFF constitution as well under Camps' stewardship. In 1994, local clubs lost their right to vote at the general elections. Instead, only regional football associations and "properly constituted bodies" like the Trinidad and Tobago Football Coaches Association and Football Referees' Association are allowed to vote.

In the 1980s, Warner almost lost his position when clubs, buoyed by the financial promise of the Arthur Suite League, tried unsuccessfully to unseat the veteran administrator.

Former Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Captain Horace Burrell was ousted from his post after cries of financial mismanagement from the country's club teams soon after the Reggae Boyz appeared in the 1998 World Cup.

Eleven years ago, Camps-possibly with help from a clever adviser-ensured that it could never happen here and even a vibrant local professional football league could never threaten his position. At present, Camps is the longest consecutive serving president in the history of local football.

While Camps got the power, Warner benefited financially.

The T&TFF constitution allows the general council to "delegate any of its powers to any committee or sub-committee". More often than not, committees are set up outside the T&TFF offices when large sums of money are involved like the Football Company of Trinidad and Tobago (FCoTT) and the 2006 World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC). The now defunct FCoTT and the present LOC were both chaired by Warner.

The administrator repeatedly boasts of the money he has put into the game without offering a detailed accounting report. This report, done by an impartial accountant, should provide information on the money flowing into the game such as television rights, sponsorship deals, gate receipts and endorsement contracts.

Simpaul is the highest profiled example of a Warner-owned company benefiting directly from the T&TFF. But the Jamad Limited cleaning company, Emerald Plaza and Coal Pot restaurant also received good business from local football.

The Express continues to investigate other companies regularly associated with the T&TFF.

There is still much about the T&TFF that requires explanation in spite of-or precisely because of-our qualification for Germany.

Camps is not saying anything just yet.