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Hart promises drastic action if repeated

The three players who broke camp before the World Cup Qualifier against Guatemala on September 2, received hefty fines, national coach Stephen Hart said yesterday.

The players—midfielders Kevin Molino and Joevin Jones, who play for Orlando City and the Seattle Sounders in America’s Major League Soccer (MLS) respectively—and defender Mekeil Williams of the Colorado Rapids that also campaigns in the MLS, broke the team’s curfew on Independence night (August 31st) to attend a boat cruise, without the knowledge of Hart and his technical staff.

Hart explained yesterday that the matter was dealt with as a team the morning after by handing the players heavy fines, saying it is the way matters like those are normally handled.

Hart said he wanted to get on with the matter at heart which was qualifying for the World Cup. “I can assure you the fines were hefty, after that we just got on with game. It was actually the first time it has happened under my reign and not like it happens all the time. However, I can assure you that if it happens again, more drastic actions will be taken against the players” Hart explained.

The issue has since gained the attention of the media and the public, with concerns being raised about appropriate action for the players.

Contacted, president of the T&T Football Association David John-Williams said he was expected to receive a report on the matter this evening (yesterday ). He told the Trinidad Guardian that while he did not want to comment on the issue until he receives the report, he felt very disappointed by what had happened. And when quizzed on whether he felt it may have had an effect on the performance of the team, John-Williams said: “It may have. You can never know if that may have affected the way the team played that night. It was very possible”

The T&T team came from a goal down to draw with Guatemala 2-2 in front a sold-out crowd at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, with the left footed Jones (Joevin) getting the double strike to earn his team the vital point to advance to the Final Round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifier, Concacaf Zone.

It is understood the players are likely to be sent to the football association’s Disciplinary Committee upon investigation. But Hart, when quizzed on whether the players should receive additional punishment, said “That is entirely up to the FA to decide. We have dealt with it as a team but I cannot say what the FA should or should not do.”

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TTFA: No comment
...wants dialogue with management before making statement
By Sean Taylor (Express).

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) is staying mum on the current issue involving three national players who were allegedly reported to be partying two days before the Guatemala match at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Feedback from the TTFA indicated that no discussions regarding the incident have yet been had, but should be tackled soon to find a resolution. According to reports in the media, three overseas-based professionals broke camp on Independence Day, which was virtually on the eve of the crunch match against Guatemala at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on September 2.

The players, who have yet to be identified, were alleged to have gone on a boat ride, and were then subsequently allowed to play in both the Guatemala match as well as the final match against the United States last Tuesday.

Claims include that the national squad has been divided since, however no confirmation was forthcoming as to whether the rumours of disunity are indeed true. “All I have to say about the issue is that I am disappointed,” said John-Williams yesterday.

The TTFA president was unwilling to comment further, as it is a management issue and he cannot comment until he meets with the management team. Team manager William Wallace also was unable to confirm the allegations of division and nepotism within the squad, echoing John-Williams' sentiments that they would have to sit and discuss the matter, before they make an official release.