Dr. João Havelange Centre of Excellence

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Dr. João Havelange Centre of Excellence
Founder(s) Jack Warner
Established 1998
Owner Disputed
Location

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

(10°38′29″N 61°23′01″W / 10.64131°N 61.38368°W / 10.64131; -61.38368)
Website http://www.coetnt.com

The Dr. João Havelange Centre of Excellence is a football academy and development suite on the outskirts of Port-of-Spain in Trinidad and Tobago. It is named after João Havelange, the former President of FIFA and the Brazilian Football Confederation.

The centre was the idea of Trinidadian MP and CONCACAF President (1990–2011) Jack Warner. The company was registered in October 1996, during FIFA President João Havelange's reign.[1][2] A second company was registered with the same name in July 1999.[3]

The centre was funded by CONCACAF's development money for a four-year presidential term and also required funding from FIFA. It was first used in 1998 (officially opening in December 1999) and is CONCACAF's only development centre.

At the planning stage Warner valued the cost of the work would be £16million USD.[4] The FIFA development budget between 1999 and 2002 for the CONCACAF region was $10million USD.[4] In addition, FIFA secured a $6million USD loan from Union Bank of Switzerland, and paid it when no payment came from Caribbean Football Union or CONCACAF.[4] Warner said that the centre is named after João Havelange for agreeing to fund the development.[5]

The development, despite being paid for by football bodies was registered in the name of Warner-owned two companies.[6]

In 2001, a FIFA goal programme, headed by Warner invested $400k in an indoor facility at the site, in addition FIFA provided a further $100k in a futsal-related 'special fund' and CONCACAF raised $143k.[7] Four years later, a second FIFA goal programme, again headed by Warner invested a further $400k for a new artificial pitch.[8]

Facilities[edit]

  • Garden sanctuary - used for weddings and corporate functions
  • André Kamperveen Hall
  • Ken Galt Hall
  • Guillermo Cañedo Hall - used for concerts and trade shows
  • Joseph Blatter Hall - used for concerts and trade shows
  • Marvin Lee Stadium - outdoor football stadium
  • A swimming Complex with two outdoor pools, a 25-metre pool, and a 12-metre pool
  • Le Sportel Inn - 44-room hotel
  • The Nelson Mandela Room - conference room

Controversy[edit]

Investigative journalist Lasana Liburd reported that Warner owned the Centre of Excellence through two companies; CCAM and Company, and Renraw Investments. Warner and his wife, Maureen are listed as directors for both companies. Also, the land upon which the Centre of Excllence was built, is also owned by Warner. Ownership was transferred to him and Renraw Investments from Syrian businessman and Trinidad's Guardian newspaper owner Dr. Anthony Norman Sabga and FirstCaribbean International Bank director Michael Kelvin Mansoo in October 1998.

On 18 September 1998, Renraw Investments and CCAM and Company took out a $2 million mortgage with First Citizens Bank and the Centre of Excellence was listed as a borrower along with Renraw Investments, CCAM and Company, and Jack Warner. CONCACAF's signatory was Harold Taylor, then CONCACAF assistant secretary and CFU general secretary.

On 4 June 2007, Jack Warner and Lisle Austin co-signed an $11million mortgage allowing Warner to borrow against the value of the "Centre of Excellence". Austin Lisle, the Barbados Football Association President and CONCACAF vice-president later claimed that he had only signed the contract and was not a beneficiary of borrowed funds.[9]

Another loan was made by a political supporter of Jack Warner's UNC party, Krishna Lalla and his company Real Time Systems Ltd. Lalla filed a lawsuit in 2011 claiming he was owed $28.1 million TTD and the lawsuit shown that one of companies secured against was the Centre of Excellence.[10]

In May 2012, FIFA President Sepp Blatter stated that FIFA would attempt to retrieve control of the centre through legal means.[11] Warner denied that he is owner.[12] Warner says that the Caribbean Football Union are the owners of the centre.[5]

Jeffrey Webb, the CONCACAF and Cayman Islands Football Association President said that he was "shell-shocked, dismayed and upset" at the revelations.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "DR. JOAO HAVELANGE CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE". TT Football History. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Business #433268 at rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt
  3. ^ Business #436827 at rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt
  4. ^ a b c Jennings, Andrew (2 May 2006). "Trinidad Jack". Daily Mail. 
  5. ^ a b "FIFA want Centre of Excellence". CNC3. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Collett, Mike (23 May 2012). "Soccer-Financial mismanagement allegations stun CONCACAF congress". reuters.com. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Goal Programme - Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation - 2001". FIFA.com. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  8. ^ "Goal Programme - Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation - 2005". FIFA.com. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  9. ^ Slinger, Tim (25 May 2012). "Austin: All I did was sign". Nation news. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  10. ^ "Warner granted leave to appeal to Privy Council". Guardian (Trinidad & Tobago). 15 May 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  11. ^ "Blatter says FIFA will try to regain control of $22.5M training center owned by Jack Warner". Washington Post. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  12. ^ Boodan, Shastri (27 May 2012). "Warner: I won’t be destroyed by FIFA". Guardian (Trinidad and Tobago). Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  13. ^ Panja, Tariq (23 May 2012). "Concacaf Soccer Body Tells Members About Financial Mismanagement". Bloomberg. Retrieved 27 May 2012.