NATIONAL Security Minister Jack Warner has denied funding to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) was withheld because of a letter he wrote to Sport Minister Anil Roberts.
He was responding yesterday to statements made by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley in his budget contribution last Friday.
Rowley had quoted Warner stating in a letter sent to Roberts that "no support be provided to the TTFF".
Warner, speaking during his budget contribution yesterday in the Lower House at the Port of Spain International Waterfront Centre, said while Rowley sought to implicate him in the issue "nothing could be further from the truth".
He said in April last year FIFA arranged to take all Caribbean members to "Prague in Hungary" (Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic) to vote for regional officers.
Warner said he got Harold Taylor, a veteran football administrator, to run for a FIFA position to get a toe-hold in the Caribbean but the local federation leadership refused to support him.
He said he wrote to the Sport Minister stating that if they did not support Taylor this country would lose its influence in the Caribbean "and therefore I would suggest that you tell them the gravity of the situation that it may even affect their funding". He said at the last minute Taylor received their support in Hungary but eventually lost.
He reported that unlike previous Cabinets, this Cabinet agreed to provide $55 million for a programme and more if they got to the next round.
Warner said the national footballers could not beat Guyana to qualify for the next round, which during his time St Augustine Senior Comprehensive could have done twice in one day, and were therefore knocked out of the World Cup.
The former FIFA vice president also responded to Rowley's statements that he had been banned from football by FIFA saying "no one has banned me from football".
"Everything I have done in my life has been to lift football of this country and by extension the Caribbean," he said.
Warner continued to train his guns on Rowley, reporting that on Thursday he would be applying to make the secret Annestine Sealey Commission of Enquiry report on the Landate Housing issue a parliamentary paper.
"I'm telling Mr Integrity (Rowley) that this issue is not dead," he added.
Warner next tackled his public revelation of a death threat on Rowley's life to which the Opposition Leader had responded that he had compromised his security and told Warner to keep his distance.
"What have I said to take that vitriolic attack from the Leader of the Opposition?" Warner asked.
He said he was putting Rowley in an elite group of politicians that had received death threats and he had no cause to worry but he came "in with a raging-bull attitude" and mimicked the phrase "keep your distance".
"I will keep my security distance, I will keep my social distance but ... I shall also keep my political distance," he said.
Warner also took issue with the governance of Tobago, saying for more than four years officials were unable to account for the money given to them.
"Tobago swimming in a sea of corruption," he claimed.
He also claimed there was a property in Plymouth of the Tobago House of Assembly which a lot of the land was excised and given to party associate Irma Eastman for 99 years at $50 a year which was $4 a month, the cost of one doubles.
"This thing must stop," he said.