former TTFF special adviser: Jack Warner

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GOING AFTER JACK

Soca Warriors mulling over legal options

By Kern De Freitas kern.defreitas@trinidadexpress.com

The thirteen 2006 World Cup "Soca Warriors" currently embroiled in a battle with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) over unpaid bonuses are mulling over their legal options against National Security Minister Jack Warner.

The players have initiated legal proceedings to liquidate the Federation over non-payment of bonuses, and subsequent sums nearing $12 million awarded them by the local courts over the matter.

The Warriors have now retained counsel to look into a suit against Warner over his role as former TTFF special adviser and controller of the Federation's finances. Previously they had attempted, unsuccessfully, to have Warner added to their case against ex-TTFF president Oliver Camps and the Federation.

Kelvin Jack, a 2006 Soca Warriors goalkeeper speaking on behalf of the 13 players, is optimistic about their latest actions.

"We have engaged a QC (Queen's Counsel) here in England who is studying every part of the case, and if I was the National Security Minister I would be concerned…" Jack told the Express on Wednesday. "The QC and his assistants are looking at the role Jack (Warner) played.

"We have seen some transactions that directly involve Jack Warner, and it is something we are investigating. We are just making sure that everything is airtight."

The ex-T&T footballer said he was "stunned" that the TTFF allowed the case to "fester" until the Federation has reached the brink of insolvency. He said the players hope the matter is resolved soon, having dragged on into a seventh year.

"What they have done is wrong. It's 100 percent wrong. This is not a joke, this is not a bluff. They have no interest in paying us, but they can pay (expensive) QCs."

Jack (K) confirmed that the players have already initiated liquidation proceedings, and their intent to investigate the Federation's accounts and transactions involving what he said was in the vicinity of $200 million in sponsorships, grants and appearance fees associated with the World Cup.

He said the players did not want to proceed with these matters, but felt they had "no other choice".

The Warriors also wrote to FIFA a month ago asking their assistance on the matter, and Jack (K) revealed that world football's governing body has replied, insisting that the Federation is responsible for whatever legal consequences it faces.

The footballers are also revisiting contempt of court actions against Camps and former TTFF general secretary Richard Groden, which they had previously stopped. The players feel the duo made little attempt to get information from sponsors and Warner on money transfers and accounts, as mandated by the court.

The 13 Soca Warriors have no idea how long the proceedings will take.

"For some reason, in Trinidad things take a bit longer. If it was here (in the UK), something would have been happening fairly rapid," Jack stressed. "We wish something could happen next couple weeks. What is certain is that this (legal action) is being done."

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