New judge to hear football case
By Jada Loutoo Tuesday, July 3 2012
AN agreement has been arrived at for another judge to hear the contempt of court application made by 13 aggrieved former national players of the 2006 World Cup football team against the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF).
Attorneys representing the former players, who are seeking their share of the $88 million the local football body received as World Cup commercial revenue for the tournament which took place in Germany, had asked Justice Devindra Rampersad to step down from the case for allegedly showing bias against the TTFF.
The local football body was represented by Nicholas Stewart, QC, while the players were represented by George Hislop, Dave De Peiza and Phillip Lamont.
After hearing submissions from the TTFF’s attorney, both sides agreed to have another judge hear the contempt of court application.
The players, on May 3, served TTFF’s general secretary Richard Groden and ex-president Oliver Camps with contempt of court after they repeatedly failed to file a civil suit against former TTFF special adviser, National Security Minister Jack Warner.
Groden and Camps were required to respond by May 31, to the application for contempt proceedings, but instead asked the judge to step down from hearing the case.
Warner was said to have negotiated the bonus payment scheme with the players and in a ruling in 2010, Rampersad accused the TTFF of time-wasting and ordered that it honour its agreement to pay bonuses to the Soca Warriors.
The TTFF had sought to prevent the players from enforcing the judgment of the London- based Sport Dispute Resolution Panel (SDRP), on the grounds of a supposed breach of confidentiality by the claimants “severely undermined” the defendants’ faith in the SDRP and, as a result, “they no longer agree to be bound by the agreement.”
The SDRP had ruled in 2008 that the Warriors, as the result of a contract made by Warner and the players, they were owed 50 percent of all 2006 World Cup commercial revenue and ordered an immediate independent audit of the federation’s financial books for that period.
After his refusal to grant the local body a stay of execution preventing the players from enforcing the SDRP’s ruling, Rampersad called on the TTFF to provide the documentation necessary to determine what the players are owed.
Camps in an affidavit on August 24, 2011, said he had no information or records for Germany as it was under Warner’s control. He also said he and the executive made repeated requests for Warner to provide the accounts.
Warner subsequently told Rampersad, in writing, that he was prepared to provide to the information and documentation relevant to the accounts.
However, Warner failed to do so voluntarily and on two occasions the TTFF failed to get him to also do so. When the matter was called in February, this year, Rampersad advised Groden and Camps that they risked a charge of contempt and jail if action was not taken against Warner.
TTFF is contending that the judge’s cautionary advice was a threat and that he effectively pre- judged the case.
Groden is also alleging that the players were promoted to institute contempt proceedings, on April 4, based on the judge’s warnings.
The 13 aggrieved players are: Kenwyne Jones, Stern John, Cornell Glen, Collin Samuel, Anthony Wolfe, Evans Wise, Aurtis Whitley, Avery John, Cyd Gray, David Atiba Charles, Brent Sancho, Shaka Hislop and Kelvin Jack.