Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 25th 2015 Contents A62
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, November 25, 2015
President of the T&T Cricket
Board (TTCB), Azim Bassarath has
praised minister of Sport, Darryl
Smith for showing what he terms
total respect to the cricket board
by including them in taking the
Bassarath was invited by Smith to
tour the ill-fated Brian Lara Stadium
in Tarouba, South Trinidad, yesterday.
The stadium, which was started
under the last PNM administration
in 2006 for the 2007 ICC World Cup,
was neglected by the PP adminis-
tration but the minister is keen to
get the project completed and is look-
ing to get cricket there next year.
Bassarath said the minister has
shown that he wants development.
"We had our problems in the past
with certain people in government
but Mr Smith has embraced us and
is making us a part of the movement
forward. We at the TTCB are very
impressed with this young man and
we will give him all the support we
can from our end, as he looks to get
this stadium completed, so interna-
tional cricket can be played in the
south where it is well supported.
"He has shown us total respect
and this is the way to move, if you
want stakeholder buy in and support
in moving sports forward in this
country. He has not only embraced
the TTCB but other sporting asso-
ciations and for this we all must be
thankful. He does not think he has
all the answers, he wants to hear
from the stakeholders and this is the
hallmark of a good leader."
During the tour, Smith was con-
cerned at the state of disrepair and
pledged to work alongside project
managers UDeCOTT to bring the
sprawling facility to a functional state.
The tour was led by project archi-
tects and officials of UDeCOTT,
including chairman Noel Garcia.
According to the architects, extensive
work is required but the facility is
far from unsalvageable. Minister
Smith insisted that the requisite
assessments be carried out to ensure
structural and other foundation work
was sound before proceeding. Min-
ister Smith is also keen to move for-
ward with a consultative approach,
including the voices of cricket and
other stakeholders, such as disabled
sport and media.
On the invitation of Smith, the
tour group was joined by Brian Lara---
after whom the facility was named.
The cricketer expressed his disap-
pointment that the stadium and plans
for its training and performance usage
had been shelved. He praised Smith
for his open-door approach and indi-
cated his willingness to advise the
Ministry and UDeCOTT on the tech-
nical areas of the facility. Lara hinted
at his concern about lending his name
to an incomplete project but said he
had faith that the current Minister
and government would make every
effort to turn the derelict space into
a vibrant hub for cricket, which he
asserted was strongly supported by
fans in south and central Trinidad.
Bassarath says Smith on track
Chelsea's John Terry is taken off the field on a stretcher during group G Champions League soccer match
against Maccabi Tel Aviv in Haifa, Israel, yesterday. Chelsea won the match 4-0. See Page 57 AP PHOTO
PARIS---The FIFA ethics commit-
tee has requested a life ban for
Michel Platini, the Frenchman s
lawyer said Tuesday, a move that
would rule the UEFA president out
of the race to succeed Sepp Blat-
ter.Thibaut d Ales told The Associ-
ated Press that the maximum sanc-
tion was asked for when the FIFA
ethics committee investigations
unit submitted its final case report.
Blatter could also face expulsion
from world soccer over a $2 million
payment of FIFA money he
approved to Platini in 2011.
Platini and Blatter face separate
hearings before FIFA ethics judge
Joachim Eckert in December.
"The overreaching of the request
really convinces us of this com-
mission s total lack of credibility,"
D Ales said in a telephone interview.
"There is not a single tangible ele-
ment in this case that can confirm
Platini is currently serving a 90-
day ban over cash he got as back-
dated salary almost nine years after
he stopped working as Blatter s
presidential adviser from 1998-
Platini denies wrongdoing and
says he had a verbal contract with
Blatter to receive the money.
Blatter has argued that an oral
agreement is valid under Swiss law.
However, FIFA was also not legally
required to pay Platini after five
Eckert is expected to give his ver-
dicts in the cases of Platini and
Blatter in December. Any sanctions
can be challenged at the FIFA
appeals committee and Court of
Arbitration for Sport.
D Ales said he was informed of
the ethics committee s request on
Monday and decided to make it
public after it leaked in the French
press. He said FIFA s aim is to prove
that there was no contract between
Platini and Blatter.
"Obviously we ve got the proof
that such a deal existed," D Ales
said. "We will submit it to CAS,
which will handle the case within
a fairly short space of time."
A spokesman for the FIFA ethics
prosecutors declined to confirm
what sanction was requested last
"We are entitled to comment but
we decided for reasons of person-
ality rights and the presumption
of innocence not to publish the
request," Andreas Bantel told The
Associated Press in a telephone
interview. "If Mr Platini wants to
comment on the request he is enti-
tled to do that."
Platini aims to clear his name
and stand as a candidate in the
FIFA presidential election on Feb-
ruary 26 to succeed Blatter, who is
stepping down. Blatter announced
his exit plans on June 2 under pres-
sure from American and Swiss fed-
eral investigations into bribery and
corruption at FIFA.
Switzerland s attorney-general
has opened criminal proceedings
against Blatter over the $2 million
payment as suspected criminal
mismanagement of FIFA money.
Platini was quizzed on Sept. 25
at FIFA headquarters as "between
a witness and an accused person,"
according to attorney general
FIFA ethics committee seeks life ban for Platini
lenges were doable.
He said the contractors are
working on a $90 million budget.
He added: "like any renovation,
when you touch it, you really start
to find out what s inside. But the
structure seems sound."
Smith, who was visiting the
facility for the first time, could not
give a completion cost. He said
because the project was stalled for
five years, moving forward and get-
ting it completed was all that mat-
tered. "In moving forward we
must forget the past, dust ourselves
off and take a positive approach
to getting it done. At the end of
the day, it is the taxpayers money.
It is the people s money. It is not
mine, it is not Mr Lara s, it s
nobody here own."
Smith said he was not in a posi-
tion to give a final figure. "But it
is a positive start with regards to
the fact that we could actually
make a decision."
He said the price of oil and gas
will be taken into consideration to
ensure the project does not go over
He noted the failure for
Trinidad and Tobago and West
Indian cricket to be denied anoth-
er state-of-the-art venue for
cricket all those years, was dis-
heartening, not just for him, but
for the entire country.
Lara agreed. "I think the min-
ister said it right. It is disheartening,
disappointing for something that
was so close to completion to be
left alone and to arrive back with
it to this stage is for me a very sad
moment. I am a bit happy that
something might be done in the
near future. I don t think there
should be any rush. I think it
should be pretty much well
planned working forward. Cricket
season is not until January, which
is impossible for this year. Maybe
2017 we might be looking at some-
thing a little better."
Lara said while he was not con-
sulted much in the past: "and I
am not asking for the minister s
position, I am sure I am going to
be consulted on this occasion,
because it bears my name and I
am known for playing very long
innings. But sometimes you have
to declare your hand and I am def-
initely going to be making a deci-
sion on the future of my name at
this venue. I have been through
about 11 tumultuous years with
what has happened with this place
and I personally don t think I could
Lara said he is hopeful that the
Rowley administration could see
the light and what s possible at
...$90 million budget
Continued from Page A64
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