THE international friendly dubbed A Score to Settle between
T&T and England scheduled for June 1 is now in jeopardy.
This is because of a new dispute between the Minister of
Sport Gary Hunt and the T&T Football Federation (TTFF)
over the use of the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
The Minister of Sport has submitted a new draft lease agreement
for the use of the stadium. But this has not gone down well
with the TTFF, who insists there was a binding agreement
made on March 15 that the TTFF used to negotiate for the
June 1 encounter with the English Football Association (FA).
Lawyers acting for the TTFF have given the Minister of Sport
until Friday morning to resolve this matter, failing which
they intend to take the matter to the High Court to seek
The cancellation of the T&T vs England match could also
lead to legal action being taken by the English FA for losses
incurred, sources said last night.
The match was organised to commemorate the 100th anniversary
of the TTFF, and the healing of wounds between FIFA vice
president Jack Warner and the English FA over comments made
Om Lalla, attorney for the TTFF, in a three-page letter
to the Minister of Sport yesterday pointed out that his
client approached the Ministry by letter dated February
18 requesting the use of the stadium for the England match.
Lalla said a written response, dated March 11, was received
from stadium manager Wilfred Stephen agreeing to the use
of the facilities subject to the rescheduling of certain
events at the stadium.
The TTFF, he added, was also informed that the rental charges
would be forwarded at a later date.
TTFF general secretary Richard Groden met with Stephen on
March 15 when it was agreed that the stadium was available
for use by the TTFF and the only issue to be agreed upon
was the rental cost.
Lalla said Stephen agreed that the terms of the rental of
the stadium would be the same terms on which the TTFF had
rented the stadium over the past 20 years for national and
The Guardian was informed that, in recent years, the TTFF
was called upon to pay a rental of $3,000 plus VAT or ten
per cent of the gate receipts, whichever sum was greater,
plus $2,000 and VAT for electricity.
Having received oral confirmation, Groden entered into an
agreement on behalf of the TTFF with the English FA on March
17 for the hosting of the game at the stadium.
According to Lalla, the terms and conditions of the agreement
dealt with the use of the stadium for the purposes of advertising,
tickets and access.
He said the TTFF also hosted officials of the English FA
to the stadium in March and conducted an examination of
Lalla, in his letter, said the TTFF sent a letter dated
April 12 requesting a waiver of the fees agreed to in March
for the use of the stadium. He said the local federation
withdrew the request by letter dated May 5 due to a lack
of co-operation from the Minister.
Lalla said the TTFF executive was shocked to receive a draft
lease agreement from Stephen on May 15. He said the draft
lease agreement contained terms and conditions that were
markedly different to those agreed upon at previous meetings.
The Ministry of Sport, in a media release yesterday, said
among the conditions contained in the draft lease agreement
n a rental sum of $150,000 plus VAT or ten per cent of the
gross gate receipts, whichever sum was greater;
n a refundable deposit of $45,000 towards damage;
n provision of advertising space, at a cost, within the
television arc; and,
n prohibition of alcohol and tobacco advertising.
Lalla said Groden sent off a letter yesterday to the Minister
seeking an urgent determination of this matter. The TTFF
attorney reminded Hunt that the contract entered between
the parties on March 15, was binding.
renege therefrom would amount not only to a breach of contract,
but will have serious consequences of loss, embarrassment
and liability to my client, he said.
client agreed to use the facilities of the national stadium
solely on the basis of the agreement entered into on or
about the 15th of March 2008.
11th-hour draft release, which does not reflect the agreement
between your Ministry and our client, with less than ten
days before the scheduled game, is not only disingenuous,
but will cause irreparable damage to the reputation of the
TTFF and subject each and every citizen of T&T to shame
and humiliation and will result in a breach of contract
with the English FA and may result in a cancellation of
Lalla said the TTFF advertised and sold tickets locally
and internationally for the match.
The Port-of-Spain attorney reminded Hunt that the match
was scheduled to be televised worldwide.
a consequence, it is imperative that personal and political
differences are buried at this crucial hour and the joint
efforts of your Ministry and our client are mobilised in
the national interest, Lalla wrote.
Ban on alcohol ads baffles Carib
Colin Murray, sponsorship and events manager at Carib, said
his company had entered into an agreement with the TTFF
for billboard and other advertising at the stadium.
As the official beer of the match, Murray said Carib had
no agreement with the Ministry of Sport.
He could not understand the prohibition of alcohol advertising
at the stadium, saying Heineken and Carling featured prominently
in the English Premiership, while other alcohol companies
were main sponsors for sport around the world.
Warner: No more matches at stadium
FIFA vice president Jack Warner said last night the T&T-England
match on June 1 would be the last international game at
the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Commenting on the sudden increase in rental at the stadium,
Warner said Minister of Sport Gary Hunt wanted to put his
back to the wall, but he cannot do that; I am going
after him, mark my words.
Warner said the last sports minister Roger Boynes had waived
the fees at the stadium for the World Cup qualifying matches
for the 2006 campaign.
at what this minister has done, Warner said.
has asked for a rental of $150,000 or ten per cent of the
match is costing us $15 million. We have sold $7.8 million
in tickets, that means he wants $780,000 for the rental
of the stadium.
is the rest of the money going to come from?
Warner said the Ministry was charging $10,000 for each of
the 32 advertising billboards within the television arc
and $5,000 for other advertising.
agreed for the English FA to come with six boards, what
are we to do now? he asked.