Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Anil Roberts says proper documentation from the T&T Football Federation is the reason for the delay in payments to members of the Soca Warriors technical staff and players.
A Guardian exclusive yesterday revealed that members of the senior team (36 players) and technical staff, headed by Russell Latapy are awaiting payments for 13 matches dating back to July up to the just concluded Digicel Caribbean Cup Finals in Martinique. Speaking at his Abercromby Street head office yesterday, Roberts blamed the T&TFF for the late payments as his Ministry was still awaiting documentation.
He said: “I’m yet to receive documentation that is suitable for the Ministry to disperse funding for the salaries. ‘We got a general e-mail which was too superficial to be considered for anything. It was sent by the manager David Muhammad and not from the T&TFF officially.
“I asked them (T&TFF) over three months ago for the contracts of all the technical staff and so on so that we could double check figures and see what is owed and what is paid and then put it through the process, but we have not seen a contract as yet.” Roberts said his Ministry needed a break down of how much is owed to the players per match and a grand total.
“Today (yesterday) I spoke with the manager and he sent me an e-mail. However I told him that can only be used for our preparatory work but we have to get some documentation officially from the T&TFF.
“Obviously I’ m not sure if T&TFF president Oliver Camps is aware of this so obviously he will have to ask his members of the executive because that is all we are awaiting.” Roberts dispelled the suggestion that the T&T players underperformed at the Final because they were not paid.
“I don’t think our boys would go and under-perform or play poorly or without passion because of money. “That has to be absolutely ridiculous. Our guys have more respect for the game than that and for themselves and they certainly have more respect than that for the country.
“They have never used it as an excuse. They gave their heart and soul but it did not pan out as we had hope, so now we have to go back to the drawing board and plan a way forward to qualify for Brazil 2014.
“Once the paper work is in we have persons at the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs and the Sport Company of T&T to start processing as we really want to get their money in the shortest possible time.”
Roberts, who in early November expressed the view that coach Russell Latapy should have his position reviewed if T&T failed to reach the Digicel Caribbean Cup Finals surprisingly stayed away from the issue.
Instead, Roberts said he had spoken long ago and it was now an issue the T&TFF and its executive body will have to sit and discuss with the coach and his staff.
Roberts also expressed the hope that the English FA and fans do not take out their anger on the T&T players for Fifa’s vice-president Jack Warner’s failure to support their 2018 World Cup bid. Commenting on the situation, Camps said, “Anytime we have not paid salaries is because we have not received money from Government.
Once we don’t get the funding, we cannot pay the players.” Asked how soon the players can expect to be rewarded, Camps said a meeting was expected this weekend but has now been pushed back.
“We had scheduled a meeting for Saturday but too many members of the executive would have been absent due to another engagement so we are hoping to have the meeting some time next week to iron out a few things. “But rest assured we are hoping to give the players what is due to them before Christmas.
- Roberts awaits T&TFF document for payments.
- Jack Warner speaks about Russell Latapy's future as coach of Trinidad & Tobago