|LETTER ISSUED TO MINISTER OF SPORT RE RENTAL OF HASELY CRAWFORD STADIUM FOR T&T VS ENGLAND|
Attached is a letter sent to Minister of Sport Gary Hunt on Tuesday May 20, 2008 in reference to the issue over the Rental of the Hasely Crawford Stadium for the T&T vsencounter. Ministry issues letter on May 15 insisting on new rental fees for the encounter... fees totally different to what have been the norm over past twenty years.
20th May 2008
I act for and on behalf of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF).
I am instructed that my client will be hosting the historic international friendly football game between Trinidad and Tobago and England on the 1st June 2008 which said game is scheduled to be played at the Hasley Crawford (HC) stadium in Port of Spain.
In contemplation of this game, my client approached the Ministry of Sport by letter dated 18th February 2008 requesting the use of the facility for the game and received a written response from Mr. Wilfred Stephen, Stadium Manager dated March 11th 2008 agreeing to the use of the facilities subject to the rescheduling of certain events carded for the same date.
The TTFF was also informed in the said letter that rental charges would be forwarded at a later date. Mr. Richard Groden, General Secretary of the TTFF and Mr. Stephen met on or about 15 March 2008 when it was agreed that the stadium was available for use by the TTFF and that the only issue to be agreed upon would be the rental cost. Mr. Stephen agreed that the terms of renting the stadium would be the same terms on which the TTFF had rented the stadium over the past 20 years for national and international games.
Accordingly, and having received oral confirmation to that effect, and in reliance thereon, Mr. Groden entered into an agreement for and on behalf of the TTFF with the English Football Association (FA) on the 17h March 2008 for the hosting and conduct of the game at the stadium.
The terms and conditions of the agreement dealt inter alia with the use of the stadium for the purposes of advertising, tickets and access. Pursuant to this agreement and with the knowledge and confirmation of Mr. Stephen, the TTFF hosted officials of the English FA at the HC stadium on or about 12th to 14th March 2008 and conducted an examination of the facility and reviewed the use of it insofar as advertising, seating and security were concerned. This demonstrated further ratification of the said agreement entered into between your Ministry and my client.
This game is not only historic, but indeed unprecedented since the hosting of England in Trinidad & Tobago places the country at a different level on the international footing in the sporting world. The TTFF which celebrates its 100th year anniversary this year endured great efforts to secure England to play this game in Trinidad and Tobago and considers that their presence here would be a victory for all Trinbagonians. The TTFF has had a long and distinguished history in the promotion and hosting of the sport of football and the individual players. Indeed, the success of qualifying for the 2006 World Cup speaks volumes for the contribution the TTFF has made and continues to make to the sport of football in the country.
My client, in the spirit of this historic game, requested by letter dated April 12th 2008 that you consider a waiver of the fees agreed to in March for the use of the stadium but later withdrew the request by letter dated May 5th 2008 due to the lack of co-operation from you.
I am instructed that my client was shocked and astounded to receive from your Mr. Stephen a draft lease agreement on 15th May 2008 when Mr. Richard Groden attended a meeting which Mr. Stephen had requested. The said draft lease contains terms and conditions which were markedly different to those which were agreed to at the previous meetings and upon which my client placed heavy reliance and acted upon.
By letter dated 20th May 2008 my client wrote to you seeking an urgent determination of this matter.
I am instructed to request from you a declaration that the contract entered into on or about 15th March 2008 and the oral representations made between the TTFF and yourself are binding and to renege therefrom would amount not only to a breach of contract but will have serious consequences of loss, embarrassment and liability to my client. My client agreed to use the facilities of the national stadium solely on the basis of the agreement entered into on or about the 15th day of March 2008. This eleventh hour draft lease which does not reflect the agreement between your ministry and our client, with less than 10 days before the scheduled game is not only disingenuous but will cause irreparable damage to reputation of the TTFF and subject each and every citizen of Trinidad and Tobago to shame and humiliation and will result in a breach of contract with the English FA and may result in a cancellation of the match.
The TTFF also on the basis of the said agreement advertised and sold tickets locally and internationally for the match which is to take place on 1st June 2008. Had the Ministry of Sport any objection to the hosting of the game at the stadium it should have taken all steps necessary to advise the TTFF and the public that tickets ought not to be sold.
I am further instructed to inform you that this international game is scheduled to be televised world wide thereby commanding great attention and respect for this country and the sport of football. As 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 mobilized in the national interest.
I am instructed to request that you respond to this letter by 9:00 a.m on Friday 23rd May 2008 and indicate whether you are prepared to honour the terms of the agreement of the 15th March 2008 upon which my client has relied and upon which the game depends, failing which my client will be left with no alternative but to institute legal proceedings against you for breach of contract and seek injunctive relief to restrain you from denying my client access to the use of the facilities as previously agreed.
I look forward to your urgent response in this matter and hope that good sense will prevail so that an amicable resolution can be reached in the national interest.
cc.Mr. Jack Warner
Mr. Richard Groden
The Ministry's Press Release
Ministry Insists on rental agreement with TTFF for use of Stadium
A rental agreement is part of the standard procedure in place for the use of any of the Ministry sporting facilities. As such, a similar document has been prepared for the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) as a condition for the use of the Hasely Crawford Stadium. The TTFF proposes to host a friendly international at the Stadium on 1 June 2008 between Trinidad and Tobago and England.
Among the conditions contained in the agreement are:
- A rental sum of TT$150,000 plus VAT or 10 % of the gross gate receipts, whichever sum is greater.
- A refundable deposit of TT$45,000 towards damages.
- Provision of advertising space, at a cost, within the television arc
- Prohibition of alcohol and tobacco advertising
The agreement was prepared by the Ministry’s Legal Officer and is an attempt to professionalize the way the State-owned sport facilities do business with their clients. The Ministry is of the view that events of this level of international significance and magnitude must receive careful and detailed attention in order to ensure all liabilities are covered.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago, through, the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, has pumped about TT$1.3 million into the upgrade and renovation of the playing surface, practice field and other amenities at the Stadium. Mr Wilfred Stevens, Manager of the Hasely Crawford Stadium confirms that the works are 90% complete and will be ready in time for the encounter billed as “A Score to Settle”.
Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Hon Gary Hunt confirms the agreement is “not too onerous” when compared to the costs associated with hosting such an event at a private facility. Minister Hunt adds that the contract agreement is keeping with the “new professional relationship” the Ministry wants to build with its stakeholders in sport.
Further, the Ministry has not received any indication from the TTFF that it is not in agreement with the proposed terms and conditions for the use of the Stadium