Jack Warner still won’t pay Soca Warriors their 2006 World Cup money
More months passed. Small creatures lived out their life cycles and the leaves fell. Then in October Warner’s accountant produced the long-awaited spreadsheet.
It was surprisingly short. ‘Consistent with normal accounting principles we have made estimates in such instances where specific documentation was unavailable.’ There were more holes. Sponsors appeared to have paid less than their earlier press releases claimed. Some sponsors – and their money – had fallen off the page.
And another surprise! One third of their money was being withheld to fund the next campaign, to qualify for 2010. Warner insisted that sponsors had insisted – until the claim became so lacking in credibility that he abandoned it, gracelessly.
But here was the bottom line: Warner had sold their bodies for millions – and their share was £494 a man!
Dwight Yorke told reporters, ‘The contracts we enter into are not worth the paper they are written on.’ The majority of the squad hired London sports lawyer Mike Townley. Warner promptly blacklisted them saying, ‘I lose no sleep, I have nothing to be worried about, absolutely nothing.’ For players needing regular international games to keep work permits, it was a disaster.
Jack’s crony Trinidad Federation general secretary Richard Groden accused the team of ‘delinquency’ and ‘less than honourable motives.’ Warner added that they were ‘greedy’.
Six more months passed and in mid-2007 Warner popped up to commend his officials (code for himself) for their ‘principled stand in resisting being blackmailed by certain players.’ He added, ‘Their demands are not justified and until they drop all court action, they remain outside the pale of organised football.’
Lawyer Townley turned to FIFA. Was this a case for FIFA’s Ethics Committee, chair Seb Coe? No, Townley was told, it’s an internal matter, we refer you to Jack Warner to sort it out.
Townley made a Freedom of Information request to the Trinidad Government. That brought another surprise. Warner had neglected to reveal the additional £18 million contributed by taxpayers to the campaign’s cost – freeing up more money for the players.
It wasn’t looking so good for Warner at home so he agreed to switch the dispute from a Trinidad courtroom to arbitration in faraway London.
That hearing was at the end of April this year and its confidential Decision was passed to both parties on May 19. The Warriors won all they asked for, disclosure of all contracts and revenues raked in by the Warners and 50% of the total. The Warriors were looking to get – at last - the big money they are owed.