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Hislop hopes for closure to World Cup bonus saga

By JOEL BAILEY Wednesday, August 4 2010

FORMER Trinidad and Tobago football team goalkeeper Shaka Hislop is hopeful for an end to the bonus row between members of the 2006 TT World Cup squad and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF).

On Thursday last, in the High Court in the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain, acting Justice Devindra Rampersad blamed the TTFF of time-wasting and ordered them to honour their agreement to pay bonuses to a number of the footballers.

Speaking on the ESPN Soccernet Press Pass on Sunday night, the 41-year-old Hislop admitted, “We’re still a long way from (getting) the money but it’s a significant step forward.”

Further Hislop related, “Going into the World Cup in 2006, which Trinidad and Tobago qualified for, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation, through their special advisor Jack Warner, promised us a significant cut of the commercial monies raised.

“It turned out, in the end, we were offered some US$800 a man, which was ludicrous,” he continued. “We took it to court, it went to arbitration two years later, they found entirely in our favour.

“There was a supposed breach of confidentiality, which the TTFF said, meant the ruling was null and void,” Hislop said. “It went to the Trinidad and Tobago High Court and the judge said their claim was mischievous.

“So the arbitration ruling stands and for me, despite what monies may be paid or not as the case may be, it shows what you can achieve when a team stands together, shoulder to shoulder, against a Football Federation and (the) FIFA vice-president and special advisor Jack Warner.”

According to the Wikipedia website, after the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the TTFF declared revenue of TT$18.25 million, costs of TT$17.9 million and offered the players a split of TT$5,644.08 per player.

The players rejected this figure, disputing the Federation’s numbers. Warner criticised the players for refusing to accept the TTFF’s unaudited statement, saying, “what Trinidad is suffering from is a situation whereby 16 or 18 players are holding a country and a federation to ransom because of greed.”

The Trinidad and Tobago Government (at the time) later revealed that the Federation received in excess of TT$173 million for their part in the tournament in Germany.

The TTFF proposed that the bonus dispute be heard before the UK Sports Dispute Resolution Panel and the players agreed.

Arbitrator Ian Mill QC heard the case and ruled that Warner had “the authority of the TTFA to commit it to financial transactions” and that the players were entitled to 50 percent of the FIFA World Cup participation money and the commercial revenues gained from Trinidad and Tobago’s qualification, as well as half the net income from World Cup warm-up matches.

The players’ lawyer, Michael Townley, said, after the UK Sports Dispute ruling, “At the moment, the players have not received a single cent” and alleged that the TTFF defaulted on its payment to the arbitration body.

When asked if the latest development will affect Warner’s reputation in the football arena, Hislop replied, “I’m not sure and this man has come back from greater ‘knock-backs’, shall we say, than this. “I don’t see this as the end of Jack Warner as a FIFA vice-president,” he added. “He’s now a Government-elected official in Trinidad and Tobago and he’s got his responsibilities there.

“Probably it’s a minor blow for him but it’s significant for a lot of these players who never play football outside of Trinidad and Tobago,” Hislop said.

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