THE MINISTRY of Sport and Youth Affairs, and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF), have strongly condemned a story headlined "Beat Bahrain and we will talk", which appeared in a daily newspaper (not Newsday) on Saturday.

Sports Minister Roger Boynes was quoted as saying: "Should Trinidad and Tobago qualify for the World Cup, the main goal of the Government and the TTFF would be to keep (coach Leo) Beenhakker and his two assistants on board."

But, in a joint statement issued to the media yesterday, the two parties involved "emphatically maintain that at no time during the media conference held at the offices of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs on Friday, were those sentiments expressed.

"What was in fact discussed was a uniting of all stakeholders, including the corporate sector, Government and the TTFF, to support the efforts of the national senior team to qualify for World Cup 2006 in Germany," the release added.

The ministry and TTFF have asked the offending newspaper to publish an apology with the same prominence given the misleading headline.

Officials from both the TTFF and the ministry are expected to meet from 2 pm today at the ministry’s headquarters at 12 Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain to discuss any additional financial aid to the national team and the retention of the services of coach Beenhakker.

Next Monday, another meeting will be held with the ministry officials, the TTFF, members of the corporate community and media representatives when firm financial commitments from the corporate sector, in support of the team, will be recorded.

The Ministry emphasised, through yesterday media release, that, "The Government has contributed nearly $2 million to the World Cup campaign and has waived rental fees of the Hasely Crawford Stadium (in Mucurapo) with respect to the use of stadia for training."