The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) has indicated an interest in settling out-of-court, in the next two weeks, its long standing dispute with members of the 2006 T&T World Cup football team.
The TTFF faced Justice Vasheist Kokaram in the Port of Spain High Court for a second day, yesterday, to answer contempt of court charges for failing to provide financial records pertaining to revenue collected during T&T's 2006 World Cup campaign.
English Queen's Counsel Nicholas Stewart, Derek Ali and Alvin Ramroop are representing the TTFF, while the players are being represented by George Hislop, Dave De Peiza and Phillip Lamont. Present in the court's back bench on Tuesday's opening day was attorney Om Lalla, who has represented former TTFF special adviser Jack Warner in many legal matters.
TTFF lawyers went before Justice Kokaram yesterday, and agreed on specific guidelines the TTFF would follow in its effort to gather its financial records, after agreeing to do so on the opening day. Yesterday's brief session was adjourned after it was officially put on record the methods the TTFF would use to gather the financial records.
The TTFF and its former president Oliver Camps are before Justice Kokaram to answer contempt of court charges, coming out of the their failure to comply with an earlier ruling by Justice Devindra Rampersad, who ordered them to produce documents relating to 2006 World Cup revenue.
Thirteen members of T&T's 2006 World Cup football team have sued the Federation, seeking to recoup a share of the estimated US$40 million in World Cup revenue. The players said that former TTFF special adviser Jack Warner had offered them a 50 percent share of World Cup revenue. Over a six-year period, the players have won battles at the London-based Sport Dispute Resolution Panel (SDRP) and the Trinidad and Tobago High Court.
At yesterday's session, only former TTFF president Oliver Camps and lawyers for both sides were present.
"The TTFF have indicated that they want to settle the matter with us out of court," stated player representative Brent Sancho. "It is so strange that the TTFF have declared themselves bankrupt and can now afford to have a queen's counsel representing them, probably at $250,000. And now they want to finally settle a matter which they have fought us so hard on.
"They are going to meet with our team within the next two weeks and see if a settlement figure can be worked out," Sancho said. "It's a matter that should have been settled years ago. But more important is the current situation where we have a national team struggling for money to go to St Kitts for a qualifier. Local football should have been in a better position than this."
In Tuesday's first court session, it was established that both former TTFF president Camps and general secretary Richard Groden faced contempt of court sanctions. It was also determined that the TTFF could face serious sanctions coming out of the contempt of court matter. The local football body was given a last chance to obtain accounts showing revenue collected during 2006.
The TTFF has always argued that T&T's National Security Minister Jack Warner had total control of all revenue collected during the 2006 World Cup campaign. Once one of the three most powerful men in football and a former FIFA vice-president, Warner was chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) which collected millions of dollars donated by Government and major sponsors towards the World Cup effort.
To date, the TTFF has been unable to get World Cup records from Warner.