Judge: Warner says he knows nothing about accounts

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PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) -- A high court judge said Tuesday that former FIFA vice president Jack Warner claims he knows nothing about any outstanding bonuses from the national team's 2006 World Cup run.

Justice Devindra Rampersad said Tuesday that Warner, the former special adviser to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation, submitted a letter denying any knowledge of the whereabouts of the accounts from the World Cup tournament. Warner's letter was not released by the judge.

Warner led Caribbean soccer for more than two decades until resigning all his duties last June to avoid a FIFA investigation into alleged election bribery. He remains a powerful government lawmaker in Trinidad.

Brent Sancho, a former star defender who is leader of the players' group, said the content of Warner's letter contradicts what Oliver Camps, the former president of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation, claimed last year.

"He told the court that Mr. Warner was the only person who held the accounts of the 2006 world cup and the TTFF never had them," Sancho told The Associated Press.

Earlier this month, Sancho and other World Cup veterans from Trinidad and Tobago's national team seized office equipment from the country's governing body due to a long-standing payment dispute.

Thirteen Soca Warriors who represented the Caribbean country in 2006 World Cup say they are owed millions in bonuses.

Public disputes began in 2006 when then-captain Dwight Yorke and 12 teammates announced they would quit the team unless the Trinidad federation rewarded the players with 50 percent of profits generated during the World Cup in Germany. The athletes later withdrew their threat, saying their lawyers would fight the case in court.

Trinidad, which became the smallest country in size and population to qualify for the World Cup, was eliminated in the first round.

Last week, Warner acknowledged he had promised the players a 30 percent bonus on the basis of the earnings of the team in the tournament. The players say Warner met an initial payment ordered by the court last year. However, a second award of the court still has not been paid.

Rampersad adjourned the hearing to give the federation more time to make a final decision on what it will do to make the overdue payment.