The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) today insisted that Works Minister and ex-FIFA Vice President Jack Warner was the sole arbiter of its World Cup revenue and it did not have the funds to honour its debt of $4.6 million to the 2006 World Cup players.
The figure represented the second interim payment awarded by Justice Devindra Rampersad which was due to the 13 “Soca Warriors” on 18 October 2011. The players successfully sued the TTFF and its former President Oliver Camps for unpaid bonuses from the country’s historic appearance at the 2006 World Cup tournament in Germany.
As a result of the unpaid debt, the TTFF’s head office at 43 Dundonald Street, Port of Spain was closed today and all removable assets were seized following instructions by the High Court.
Four World Cup players, Brent Sancho, Cyd Gray, Anthony Wolfe and David Atiba Charles, turned up at the TTFF office at around 10 am today with a court-appointed marshall and 15 policemen to execute the order.
Acting TTFF President Lennox Watson asked for an hour's grace to find the money, which was granted. But Watson was unable to source the cash within the agreed time frame.
"The TTFF had hoped that 2006 World Cup Local Organizing Committee (LOC) accounts of which Mr. Warner was the sole arbiter," stated the TTFF release, "would have been reconciled and payments would have been made to the players. This unfortunately has not occurred.
"The TTFF on its own does not have the resources to fulfill this request for such payment."
The release was sent by TTFF Press Officer Shaun Fuentes but did not carry the signature of Watson or his General Secretary Richard Groden. Fuentes said the release was "a general statement by the TTFF" following discussions between Executive Committee members and Anthony Harford, the CEO of sport marketing company All Sports Promotions.
The release further stated that the homeless football body would "continue to function as the elected governing body for football" based on financial assurances from Sport Minister Anil Roberts.
"The TTFF will continue its operations with focus of the National Under-23 Men's team and U-17 Women's team which goes into World Cup qualification in May," stated the release. "Funds for these two teams have been guaranteed by the Ministry of Sport and therefore their programs will be continued...
"The TTFF will also continue its FA Trophy competition and will host the Draw for the Round of 8 tomorrow."
The TTFF release also acknowledged that the World Cup players had "exercised their legal rights". The football body promised to address the media from 4.30 pm tomorrow at the Harvard Sports Club after an emergency meeting of its Executive Committee.
Warner, who brokered the bonus agreement with the World Cup players in his former capacity as special advisor, is due to supply the High Court on Friday with written accounts of "all income, donations, gifts, grants or benefits whatsoever and all expenditure" arising from the Germany 2006 World Cup.
The TTFF, Camps and the World Cup players are due to return to court next Tuesday on 14 February.
The TTFF Executive Committee has routinely missed court appearances and attorney Om Lalla suggested that Groden might have had trouble finding the court room when the parties were before Justice Rampersad on 12 January 2012.