PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — The Trinidad & Tobago government has turned down a request to fund the national team's participation in next week's Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Cup qualifiers in St Kitts/Nevis.
A letter to the Trinidad & Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) says its request for TT half-a-million dollars to prepare for and participate in the competition has not been approved.
T&T are due to play French Guiana on October 10 in Basseterre, Anguilla two days later, and hosts St Kitts-Nevis on October 14.
"With regard to the support for the senior team, you have been informed on several occasions that the ministry's focus is on development given the abysmal performance of the senior team," states the letter from Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports Ashwin Creed.
"As you are aware, there is a note before the Cabinet to treat with the way forward for football. This note is predicated on two consultations held on a development plan for football. The ministry will be guided by the recommendations of this note following the approval of Cabinet."
T&TFF was requesting funds to cover airfares, including the return of five overseas-based players; player and staff stipends; a weekend camp, and accommodation for four persons.
The cash-strapped association has not received government funding since March and sponsorship funds raised to date supported the Under-17 and Under-20 teams in their qualifiers.
Football officials now fear that the Soca Warriors may be forced to withdraw from the CFU qualifiers and face possible CFU and FIFA sanctions.
T&T, which played in the 2006 world cup, is the most successful country in the history of Caribbean football, having competed in all 17 tournaments, winning eight times.
The Caribbean Cup is a qualifier for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which serves as preparation for FIFA World Cup qualifiers.