'Debt paid in full'
Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Raymond Tim Kee, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) president, said all the outstanding monies owed to players and technical staff were being paid over in full, fending off a boycott by the players of last night's CFU Men's Caribbean Cup final against Jamaica.
"Earlier this evening (yesterday), we arrived from Trinidad. Team manager William Wallace and I, of course, took with us cheques for all the players and technical staff who were owed money coming into this championship," said Tim Kee.
"All the debt is now paid in full, and that has settled the whole matter," he added.
The payment came in time for the disenchanted T&T players, who had planned to boycott the Caribbean Cup final because of money owed to them by the TTFA.
Earlier, Shawn Fuentes, press officer of the Trinidad and Tobago football team and head of communications of the TTFF, had dismissed suggestions that the players had planned to pull out of the final.
"Yes, there was some disenchantment in the Trinidad and Tobago camp leading into tonight's (last night) final, but at no time was there any plan to boycott the game," Fuentes said.
"Prior to training last evening, the TTFF had a meeting with the players and the staff and the captain, Kenwyne Jones, decided that the team had come this far and wanted to complete the job by taking back the Caribbean Cup," Fuentes added.
He did say, however, that there was discontent in the squad about the non-payment of salaries of players and staff dating back to their international friendly match against Iran in Sao Paolo, Brazil, in June 2014, prior to the World Cup.
"We had the opening phase of the Caribbean Cup that was played in Trinidad about a month ago, and promises were made by the football association and also by the government to step in to assist these payments of fees and the operation of all the national teams.
"There has been ongoing dialogue for the past weeks, and one was hoping it would have been resolved in time for this Caribbean Cup, but the team arrived in Montego Bay still with unpaid monies," Fuentes noted.
According to Fuentes, the T&T manager, William Wallace, stayed back in Port-of-Spain for the past week to get the situation rectified, but the team found out Monday evening that the monies were not forthcoming.
Wallace and Tim Kee arrived on Tuesday afternoon with the cheques to ease the concerns of both the players and the technical staff, with one report out of the twin-island republic suggesting that head coach Stephen Hart, out of frustration, was planning to return to Canada with his family.
The team and the TTFA, Fuentes said, are thankful to the government, particularly Prime Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who intervened to make sure the national football team of Trinidad and Tobago takes victory and that the national flag keeps flying high.
"The government's input into football in Trinidad and Tobago has been substantial and is the reason why we have survived on the international stage, and I am sure they will continue to be there for us, now that we are in the Gold Cup," Fuentes said.