The Ministry of Sport yesterday handed over a cheque to officials of the T&T Football Federation made out in the name of Soca Warriors team manager William Wallace to cover expenses accumulated during the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Cup Group Five qualifiers in St Kitts/Nevis earlier this month.
The writing of the cheque in Wallace’s name comes less than two weeks after Minister of Sport Anil Roberts stated he would not be making any cheques out in the name of officials of the local football federation or its authorisation committee led by Anthony Harford, marketing director of All Sport Promotion, due to claimed discrepancies in invoices, bills and receipts.
According to Roberts, any national football team wishing to get financial support must make their request via a letter written on official paper from the federation. This was done by Wallace and yesterday, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport Ashwin Creed confirmed the cheque was made out to the Soca Warriors manager, who was not present to receive it.
The cheque which was ready for collection on Monday afternoon was eventually collected by a T&TFF official yesterday. While not disclosing the sum of the cheque, it is expected it will cover the T&TFF’s request for $423,218 in funding to cover airfare and allowances for the team during the week-long tournament, inclusive of $218,000 which was due to the players for appearance fees.
On Monday Wallace stated the cost of the trip to St Kitts/Nevis would have seen an increase due to the team’s extended stay on the island after the passage of Tropical Storm Rafael forced the team to spend extra days in St Kitts as a result of the cancellation of flights.
Wallace said the figure was just over $300,000 with stipends for the players still to be paid. The Soca Warriors manager is also expected to present two more budgets to the Ministry of Sport over the next couple of days for the senior team’s second round qualifiers against Cuba, Suriname and the runner-up of Group Two (Guyana, St Vincent/Grenadines, St Lucia and Curacao) from November 14 to 18 to be played more than likely in Tobago, and the Under-20 Soca Warriors CFU Championship in Jamaica.
According to sources close to the team, the budget for the tournament is close to $400,000 and the T&TFF or the team’s management is hoping for a favourable answer before the end of the week for the tournament which runs from November 5 to 10 in Kingston, Jamaica. In August, the Under-20s secured a spot in the final round of CFU qualification towards the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup after beating St Vincent/Grenadines 3-0 in a must-win match.