Es sieht so aus, als sollten die Fußballer aus Trinidad & Tobago nach vielen Jahren doch noch ein bisschen Geld für die WM-Qualifikation 2006 und die Teilnahme an der Endrunde in Deutschland erhalten. Jack Austin Warner, die FIFA-Skandalnudel, inzwischen Transportminister auf den Inseln und in Kürze wieder WM-Gastgeber, hatte sie mächtig geschröpft. Die Spieler sind vier Jahre lang von Anwalt zu Anwalt, Schlichter zu Schlichter und Gericht zu Gericht gezogen. Mein Freund Lasana Liburd, der schon etliche Privatgeschäfte von Jack the Ripper enthüllt hat und immer an der Prämien-Geschichte drangeblieben ist, fasst im Trinidad Express die jüngsten Entwicklungen zusammen.
- Lasana Liburd: The Jack Warner production - How a humble school teacher became a multimillionaire
- Andrew Jennings: Jack Warner still won’t pay Soca Warriors their 2006 World Cup money
- Torhüter Shaka Hislops Vortrag auf der Play the Game Konferenz 2007
- Ein Zwischenstand von Lasana Liburd im Mai 2008: FIFA Vice-president loses dispute over World Cup bonus to players
Die neuen Geschichten von Lasana Liburd:
- 1. August 2010: High Court backs payments for Soca Warriors: …TTFF ordered to honour 2006 W/Cup agreement
- 1. August 2010: Warriors elated by World Cup judgment
- 3. August 2010: A political football
- 3. August 2010: From World Cup to High Court
Die letzten beiden Texte:
Warner’s political football
Four years and two successful legal battles since the 2006 Germany World Cup, the “Soca Warriors” look set to receive bonuses promised by Minister of Works and Transport and Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) Special Adviser Jack Warner.
Last Thursday, Acting Justice Devindra Rampersad dismissed a stay of proceedings by the TTFF and paved the way for the Warriors to receive 50 percent of commercial revenue associated with the 2006 World Cup as well as legal costs.
Still, the players’ attorney, English solicitor Michael Townley, cautioned his clients that, despite positive judgments from the London-based Sport Dispute Resolution Panel (SDRP) and the local High Court, they should not rule out further delay tactics from the TTFF who are accused of trying to deny justice.
Whatever the final outcome, it is a disgraceful end to one of Trinidad and Tobago ’s greatest sporting legacies and reflects poorly on the tenure of Warner—the country’s most experienced and successful sporting administrator and the person who negotiated the controversial bonus deal.
British arbitrator Ian Mill Q.C. lamented Warner’s failure to present himself to the SDRP for cross-examination while Rampersad described the TTFF’s conduct as “troublesome” and their appeal as “otiose”.
The TTFF’s accounting over the past four years have been contradictory at best and involve figures much higher than the $2 million spent on the national flag at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, which proved the nadir of ex-Sport Minister Gary Hunt.
In October 2006, the TTFF declared World Cup earnings of $18,255,952 and a net profit of $282,203 from which the Warriors were offered $5,644.08 per player. After the players rejected this figure, the T&TFF “revised” their calculations and came up with a net profit of $950,403.49, which meant $19,008.07 per player.
Two years later, in a curt meeting at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Port of Spain, Warner made a “take it or leave it”? offer to the players of US$30,000 or $193,569 each.
By then, a Freedom of Information Act request had placed the TTFF’s World Cup income at $173,690,113.50 exclusive of gate receipts from World Cup qualifying and friendly matches, broadcast rights including television revenue and several international sponsors.
The TTFF’s shifting stance regarding the legal battle also seems dubious.
As the players prepared to file suit against the sporting body in the local High Court, a FIFA Congress—which Warner attended in his capacity as FIFA vice-president—announced an amendment to its statutes on May 30, 2007 that obliged all member associations “to insert a clause in their statutes or regulations stipulating that disputes affecting the football family may not be taken to ordinary courts of law”.
Warner subsequently declared that the Warriors’ proposed use of the High Court could result in the country’s expulsion from FIFA—a move that would ban local club and national teams from playing against teams outside their shores and kill the dreams of hundreds of local players seeking overseas jobs.
But, after the Warriors accepted the SDRP alternative offered by the TTFF and won there, the same sporting body then used the High Court in an effort to deny the players their judgment. They were unsuccessful there too.
It seems certain that the TTFF owes the Warriors and surely a forensic, independent audit of the football body, which Warner remains a special part of, is in keeping with the transparency insisted upon by the ruling government.
It is time for the TTFF to come clean.
From Germany World Cup to Trinidad High Court
Lasana Liburd looks at the 2006 Soca Warriors’ extraordinary battle with the TTFF and a FIFA VP
It was the morning of October 5, 2006 when the “Soca Warriors”? finally received word on bonuses promised to them by Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) Special Adviser and FIFA Vice President Jack Warner for their historic qualification for the Germany World Cup.
At the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain , the jaws of over a dozen young men sagged and faces contorted as a contingent returned from the TTFF headquarters with news of their financial reward.
“How they came up with that?” asked one footballer.
One year prior, the national footballers hammered out a deal worth 30 percent of all commercial revenue attributed to the 2006 World Cup should they be successful in their qualifying bid but, in the following months, the TTFF proved elusive when it came to honouring its promise.
The Warriors returned from Germany to a $1 million prize and Chaconia Gold awards from the government but there was still no word from the TTFF. By then, Warner’s offer had risen to 50 percent although there was no mention of a dollar figure.
In October, the TTFF finally made an offer of $5,644 each and national captain and ex-Manchester United star Dwight Yorke phoned Hislop, who was not in the squad, to relay the news.
“(Dwight) was talking very quickly and sounded very agitated,” said Hislop. “His tone was one of absolute disbelief and disgust.”
In the subsequent press statement read by Yorke but written by Hislop, the national players threatened to resign as their contracts with the TTFF were allegedly “not worth the paper they are printed on” although they went on to thrash St Vincent 5-1 in a friendly on October 6 and, two days later, defeated Panama 2-1.
After a second unsatisfactory TTFF offer of $19,008.07, the players hired English sport attorney Michael Townley to act as their counsel although Yorke and veteran playmaker Russell Latapy decided against proceeding.
“I understood why they didn’t want to go to court,” said Hislop. “I agreed with Russell on their stance. Let us just say they had different professional and personal circumstances which I respected.”
Dennis Lawrence, whose goal secured a famous win against Bahrain , also declined to participate in legal action as did Jason Scotland, Carlos Edwards and Clayton Ince. All four players were represented by English agent Mike Berry who also worked as liaison officer for the TTFF in the build-up to the World Cup.
Caledonia AIA midfielder Densill Theobald also broke ranks.
“Densil contacted me when the TTFF pressured him and we had a long talk and I really sympathised with him,” said Hislop. “I don’t criticize him at all. I know what it is like to be at that age and put under pressure by the national team… He always had my utmost respect despite what others may believe.”
The cracks were widening by now between players and administrators and among the Warriors themselves.
Theobald was the only World Cup player named in the 2007 Concacaf Gold Cup squad and Warner congratulated the TTFF on “the principled stand you guys have taken in resisting being blackmailed”by “a mercenary few”.
After the Trinidad and Tobago government revealed, on September 14, 2007, that the TTFF had understated their World Cup earnings by nearly $155 million, the TTFF offered to go to arbitration and the blacklist was lifted.
In May 2008, Warner made his last offer to players at a meeting in Crowne Plaza , Port of Spain .
“Jack walked in nonchalantly and asked ‘what allyuh want’ and ‘what is the problem’,” said World Cup defender Brent Sancho. “I answered that ‘you called us to meet so what is your offer’. He said he was tired of this nonsense and that we were lucky he was giving us a bonus at all.
“He told us the deal was 30,000 US ‘take it or leave it’. The room was stunned into silence. He then said ‘you know what to do if you want the money’ and walked out.”
There was nervous laughter in Warner’s wake but, as the months passed, Marvin Andrews settled while Chris Birchall and Ian Cox are believed to have followed suit.
Four years on, though, at least 13 players remain defiant.
World Cup and Ma Pau defender Cyd Gray shared much of his initial reward from the government with family and friends while he married Natakie, the mother of his five year old son Jardel, in 2007.
“My life revolves around my son and my wife and I hope I can use this money to look after them,” said Gray. “I hope this fight can help in the long run too. Maybe if Jardel grows up to play for the national team, it will be different for him.”
Hislop singled out 26-year-old Ma Pau utility player Anthony Wolfe for special praise. Wolfe was 22 at the World Cup and did not play while the court case took its toll on his subsequent career.
“As much as we share equally in this step forward, Anthony Wolfe is the face of this victory for me,” said Hislop. “Wolfey has not wavered in his commitment to see this through, when the personal cost to him has probably been the greatest and while many who hold themselves in higher regard have fallen by the wayside.
“He is someone you’d want in the trenches alongside you when the going gets tough.”
Wolfe, an unsuccessful candidate for the PNM at the Local Elections, used his government reward to build a home in his Manzanilla hometown at 23.
“The bonus would be to put things in place for my son Anthony Junior,” said Wolfe, “but before I even touch the money I am going to give a donation to my church (Manzanilla Pentecostal) because I think God played an important role in us winning the case.
“I thank Mr Warner for the opportunity to play in the World Cup but he is not a man of his word. Nobody begged for this (money). They are the ones who promised us so how come we are called greedy?”
Wolfe, like his teammates, vowed to go the distance in the court room against daunting odds just as they did, five years ago, on the field of play.
The battle ground has changed but the Warrior spirit lives on.