English FA is reported to have agreed to visit Trinidad
and Tobago to play a friendly against the Soca Warriors
subject to two conditions: Jack Warner apologies for calling
them an irritant, and an agreement is reached with Trinidad
and Tobago players over World Cup monies owed from the 2006
The trip is not just a test for the England team and their
new coach Fabio Capello, but also a way to win Warners
backing for Englands 2018 World Cup bid.
Condition one appears to have been met, albeit in a roundabout
way. Referring to an interview with the BBC in 2007 in which
he described the English FA as being regarded as an irritant
and having had no impact upon the game at a world level,
Warner stated that his comments were merely restating the
opinions of others, rather than voicing his own.
assume that I had a personal grudge against England is incorrect,
said Warner, reports London newspaper, the Telegraph.
without my active support, there still would not be an Englishman
in Fifas Executive Committee today, an apparent
reference to Warners protests of racism when John
McBeth mentioned the existence of corruption within African
and Caribbean football associations.
FA are fully aware of all of this and I am certain that
nobody of relevance within the FA would have believed that
Jack Warner is Englands enemy.
European football grandees have often made depreciative
remarks about England in the past. What I did was merely
to state them and share them with the public at large. Unfortunately,
it was subsequently construed to be Jack Warners opinion.
Agreement with players
If the rumours are true, then now all that remains to be
solved for England to travel to Trinidad is for the T&T
Football Federation (TTFF) to reach an agreement with players
from T&T over World Cup monies owed.
As reported by Play the Game in 2007, the TTFF, which employs
Warner as its special adviser, is accused of understating
accounts leading to players being offered approximately
US$800 as a revenue linked performance bonus for the 2006
World Cup. This is despite revenues running into millions
of dollars according to the T&T government.
The dispute led to a blacklist of players being drawn up,
who were banned from representing their country after seeking
legal counsel over the terms of the bonus.
Play the Game has learnt from Shaka Hislop, one of the blacklisted
players and vice-president of the Football Players Association
of T&T that the decision over bonuses will go to arbitration
That means the English FA will still have to wait a couple
more months before they can confirm their friendly tie against
T&T for June.
World Cup 2018
Staging a friendly in Trinidad in June would be regarded
as a boost for Englands chances of staging the 2018
World Cup, as Trinidadian Warner holds direct sway over
three votes out of the 24 deciding the tournaments
host. For the TTFF, the match would be a celebration of
the organisations centenary, as well as being a potential
Ironically, it is believed that the initial anger Warner
voiced against the FA was over the decision not to send
an international side to T&T in August to mark the TTFF
centenary. The FAs offer to send a representative
team instead was dismissed, and the fixture was shelved,
leading to the outburst.
At the time, there were fears that playing the game after
Euro 2008 could have led to complaints from Premiership
club managers, as the game would have been played just prior
to the start of the 2008/2009 season. However, now with
England out of Euro 2008, the June timing of the proposed
match is much more convenient for the FA, as well as England