Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) president has acknowledged that Russell Latapy “had not been treated” fairly in relation to the Federation’s outstanding debts to the former senior national coach.
Tim Kee was speaking yesterday during a press conference at the VIP Lounge of Hasely Crawford Stadium, where he officially announced the TTFF had settled their seven-year court battle with the 2006 “Soca Warriors”.
Asked by the Express what was the status of their reported debt to Latapy, the TTFF head said he had met with the ex-T&T midfielder and had placed him “close to the (2006) Soca Warriors in terms of priority (for payment)”.
Reports last year claimed Latapy had filed a lawsuit in the High Court seeking over $4 million in outstanding salary owed by the Federation and damages, plus interest.
Tim Kee explained that soon after he assumed office, he met with Latapy, who explained the situation to the TTFF head, which left Tim Kee “taken aback”.
“I asked for the evidence to support what he was speaking about. He furnished me with a file, which contained communication between him and the TTFF. Having perused that file and having looked at all that was there, I felt that he had not been fairly treated.”
He added that he informed Latapy that the footballers’ case took precedence over his matter, and that he should not “expect anything overnight”. But he guaranteed the “Little Magician”, as Latapy is known, that he will try to settle the debt.
“Nobody in the commercial world is going to sponsor money to pay debt,” Tom Kee said. They won’t get their mileage. I told Russell based on the plans we have been discussing (about) some of the initiatives we propose to implement, they are all income-generating initiatives.”
The TTFF boss said he wants to change the body’s way of doing things, and wants to work toward clearing “some of the expenses we had in the past”.
But it is also clear that the TTFF executive is not all on the same page. Asked why some of the TTFF executive, including former acting president Lennox Watson had not been privy to the source of the funds used to settle the 2006 Warriors’ matter, Tim Kee said he did not know how to answer the question.
“We are talking about exigencies, we are talking about several challenges that we had. In fact, I don’t know why Mr Watson, who is vice-president would go out in the public and say that. I don’t know,” he responded.
“Anything further than that, you would have to ask him. It was something that was new to us, it wouldn’t have been to them.
As a matter of fact (CONCACAF president) Mr (Jeffrey) Webb said that he shared that information at a conference where Mr Watson was.”