After years of legal wrangling over unpaid fees, 13 national footballers yesterday came to a compromise with the T&T Football Federation (TTFF).
The deal, involving the disclosure of the federation’s financial records, was bartered yesterday during a hearing of contempt-of-court proceedings the players had brought against the TTFF. The case is being heard by Justice Vasheist Kokaram in the Port-of-Spain High Court.
During the hearing, British Queen’s Counsel Nicholas Stewart, who has been retained by the TTFF, gave an undertaking on his client’s behalf to provide the requested document to the players’ attorneys.
Stewart said his clients were prepared to write to FIFA and the Ministry of Sport for details of the funding those organisations had given the TTFF in the past few years.
Kokaram said the players should be kept abreast of progress in sourcing the documents.
He also agreed the TTFF’s bankers should be approached to obtain detailed records of the federation’s banking records.
Attorneys representing both parties informed Kokaram that the fee dispute was currently being negotiated, with an amicable solution being the expected outcome.
The attorneys are expected to submit a draft consent order today listing the undertakings agreed to.
At an early hearing of the case, another High Court judge, Devindra Rampersad, gave an order compelling the federation to provide the players with the documents.
The federation did not fully comply, claiming it did not have the information. The players responded by filing the contempt proceedings.
In their substantive legal action, the players, who belonged to the team that participated in the 2006 World Cup campaign, alleged that former Local Organising Committee chairman Jack Warner promised them a 50 per cent share of all World Cup revenues.
The London-based Sport Dispute Resolution Panel (SDRP) was also called upon to intervene in the impasse and on May 19, 2008 it ruled in favour of the group of players.
On October 11 last year, Rampersad ruled similarly, allowing the federation seven days to pay an interim sum of approximately $4.2 million (US$710,000) to the 13 players. The federation also failed to comply with that order.
The group of players are: Players’ Association president Brent Sancho, Stern John, Cyd Gray, Anthony Wolfe, Atiba Charles, Aurtis Whitley, Shaka Hislop, Kelvin Jack, Avery John, Collin Samuel, Evans Wise, Cornell Glen and Kenwyne Jones.
Former TTFF president Oliver Camps and current General Secretary Richard Groden have been listed as parties to the matter.
During yesterday’s hearing, Camps’ attorneys sought to absolve their client from responsibility stating that he was no longer affiliated with the federation.
However, Kokaram suggested that Camps might be able to provide the 13 footballers with historic information of which he would have had first-hand knowledge during his long tenure as president.
Camps was represented by Seenath Jairam SC while attorneys Phillip Lamont and Dave De Peiza represented the players.