The dispute over World Cup bonus money between the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation and the T&T players was settled in London Tuesday, with arbitrator Ian Mills QC ruling in favor of the players. The exact amount of money they will receive from the Federation will be ruled on next month, but it is expected to be around $250,000 per player.
The dispute began after the players claimed they had a deal with FIFA vice president and TTFF "special adviser" Jack Warner to split the profits from commercial revenue that the federation made from the 2006 tournament. After the World Cup, Warner offered the players around $1,000 each, saying that was all that was left over after expenses. The players were skeptical, but when they protested and formed their own players' association, they were banned from the national team. This in turn lead to a first-round exit for a largely second-string team at last year's Gold Cup.
When both sides agreed to arbitration at the Sports Dispute Resolution Panel in London, shortly after the T&T government revealed how much cash was really in TTFF coffers, the players were reinstated. Both the TTFF and the 16 players involved are prevented from commenting due to a confidentiality clause, but a leaked copy of Mr. Mills' ruling states: "It seems to me that the applicants (players) have done enough to raise a case for the TTFF to answer in this respect. I therefore find, not without some hesitation, that Mr. Warner did promise on June 12, 2006, to increase the players' share under the commercial revenues sharing agreement...and...that promise was, and is, legally binding on the TTFF."