PORT OF SPAIN: Jack Warner, having accused Sepp Blatter of manipulation last week, has had the tables turned on him by a High Court judge in Trinidad and Tobago in the long-running wrangle over its refusal to pay players after the 2006 World Cup.
In an 11-page ruling, Justice Devindra Rampersad also dismissed an application for Warner, a former FIFA vice president, to be joined as a defendant in the proceedings brought against the T&TFF by 14 former national players, including former international goalkeeper Shaka Hislop and Stoke City striker Kenwyne Jones.
In 2007, the players, who represented T&T when the country made its debut appearance at a World Cup in Germany, had filed a claim seeking a number of reliefs, including an account of all sums due from the T&TFF under an agreement made “at a series of meetings” between the representatives of the players and the national governing body.
They were also seeking an account of all the monies received by Warner and/or former Federation president Oliver Camps and general secretary Richard Groden “individually or together, legally or beneficially and/or by to an agent acting on their behalf or any other party under the effective ownership or control of or serving as agents” of the T&TFF, Camps, Warner or Groden.
The players had also asked the court for a disclosure of all “sums paid” to Camps under the agreement.
On September 11 last year, the players filed an application for Warner, who is now a senior cabinet minister in the T&T government, to be joined as a party to the proceedings.
In his affidavit, Warner said that he was prepared to provide to the T&TFF the information or documentation “relevant to the takings of the account between it and the claimants in so far as the same was within his knowledge or control.
“It is plainly obvious, therefore, that the claimants are not satisfied with this assertion that the information and documentation being provided to the first named defendant (T&TFF) but, instead, they prefer that Mr. Warner be made a party to provide an account directly to them through this court in these proceedings,” the judge said in his ruling.
But the judge noted that Warner’s attorneys “countered by saying that it is improper for a party to be joined merely for the purpose of disclosure”.
In his ruling, Justice Rampersad, who indicated that “even more remarkable, was that both Mr Warner and the first defendant have retained the same attorneys-at-law to deal with this matter before the court”.
He said that the court “would not join Mr Warner as a defendant in these proceedings as there is no claim for relief made against (him)”. But he ruled for certain reliefs “bearing in mind Mr. Warner’s evidence on affidavit that he is willing to produce information and documentation to the accounts”.
The judge ruled that the T&TFF should direct Warner in writing and copied to the attorneys for the players “to file an account of all monies received by him” as the T&TFF’s agent “in relation to all income, donations, gifts, grants or benefits whatsoever and all expenditure therefrom arising out of the World Cup 2006”.
The judge said that “such account to be verified by affidavit deposed to by Mr Warner exhibiting all relevant documentation and to be filed and served in these proceedings by February 10”.
Justice Rampersad in dismissing the application to have Warner joined to the matter said the court would also hear arguments on costs.