Feb 15, 2012 Sports
Trinidad Express – The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) now has a fresh issue to deal with: the reported disappearance of Haiti Aid funds.
On the weekend, the UK Sunday Times reported that former FIFA vice-president and CONCACAF ex-president Jack Warner received money destined for the impoverished nation to assist its football after Haiti suffered a massive, deadly earthquake in 2010.
The British newspaper stated that FIFA aid to the tune of US$250,000, plus a further US$500,000 from South Korea businessman Chung Mong-Joon—a total of US$750,000 (TT 4.76 million)—was wired to the TTFF on Haiti’s behalf, but only US $60,000 (TT $381,000) reached the French-speaking nation.
And the Wired868 website reported that FIFA not only confirmed that the Federation has not accounted for the money, but that the global football body has stopped all FIFA payments to the TTFF, as sanction over the matter.
The TTFF is due in court this morning for the ongoing case involving 13 of the 2006 “Soca Warriors”, who sued the Federation over World Cup bonuses they claimed were promised by Warner.
Justice Devindra Rampersad has since ordered Warner to produce accounts related to the LOC accounts for the 2006 World Cup, but the Minister of Works missed last Friday’s deadline.
The Express was unable to reach TTFF acting president Lennox Watson to comment on the matter, but vice-president Rudolph Thomas said that he only yesterday learned of the reports, and had not yet met with the Federation’s executive members to discuss the issue.
“I’m not aware of (the facts of this matter),” Thomas told the Express yesterday.
“I heard (the reports) this morning, and I wasn’t able to reach my general secretary (Richard Groden) by telephone for the day. I have sent him an email and I haven’t received a response yet. I’m still in the dark about it.”
The TTFF has already been hit by numerous scandals, starting with last year’s alleged cash-for-votes fiasco involving Warner, former FIFA vice-president and ex-presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam and Caribbean Football Union (CFU) representatives who met in Trinidad in May last year.
Warner was forced to retire from all football related activities due to the threat of a FIFA investigation into allegations of financial impropriety on his part, while former president Oliver Camps resigned with an investigation into him pending. Groden was given a warning.
The TTFF has also been ordered by Justice Rampersad to pay the players two sums totalling close to $12 million. Last week, the Federation was levied upon by the players, who seized all their assets at the Federation’s Port of Spain headquarters.
Thomas said the Federation will now have “look at our situation and strategise” following the latest development. “We were concentrating on the case tomorrow to see what transpired in that situation, but it looks like we have a lot more on the plate to consider,” he said.
Right now, though, Thomas wants to ensure that football continues to be played regardless of what is happening off the field. “I want to make sure whatever happens, footballers get to play their football,” Thomas stated.
“I want to get straight on (finding out the reports of FIFA sanctions). I don’t have the information; this is why I sought (Groden’s) guidance on it. I want to know exactly what is happening.”
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