Back to court

Back to court

RUSSELL LATAPY has instructed his local management to resume court action against the cash-strapped Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) for failing to honour an agreement to pay off financial arrears to the former Trinidad and Tobago senior men’s national football coach.

Latapy is owed money by the TTFA, for services rendered as Trinidad and Tobago’s senior national coach between 2009-2011. The Little Magician, as Latapy was known during his playing days, was hired by Jack Warner, the former special adviser of the TTFF (Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation), CONCACAF president and vice-president of FIFA, world football’s governing body. 

Latapy, currently employed in Scotland as an assistant-coach with Inverness Caledonia Thistle, initially began legal proceeding against the TTFA, claiming $5 million in arrears. However, Latapy opted to stay legal proceedings after he and the TTFA agreed to an arrangement regarding a payment deal. 

Both parties agreed, that the settlement figure agreed upon, would not be disclosed. Yesterday, however, Latapy’s local agent Giselle Mendes indicated that court action would resume against the TTFA for breaching the agreement, despite a partial payment by the TTFA last month.

“We have to take them back to court. Mr Latapy has instructed that we proceed. He wants it done first working day (of the year), so by Monday I am hoping we start,” stated Mendes, who has been Latapy’s personal assistant in Trinidad and Tobago for the last four years. “They have broken the agreement,” she said. 

Mendes acknowledged that the TTFA had made a payment recently, but it was far less than agreed upon. “Yes, they did make a part-payment, but we have an agreement that a certain amount was to be paid, by a certain date, and that has not been honoured,” Mendes explained. 

“We made an agreement that half of what they owed him was to be paid by (yesterday) December 31. A very small portion of that was made earlier this month (December) and we have not received the balance as per agreement,” pointed out Mendes. 

“We had an agreement on January 15, 2014, that by December 31, 2014, half of what was owed would be paid and then the next half would be paid by December 31, 2015,” noted Mendes. 

Just a week ago, TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips had disclosed that the TTFA had made a payment to Latapy, although Phillips conceded they still owed a sizeable amount to the former T&T national footballer and coach.

Phillips had told the Express then: “We were able to make a payment to Russell. Despite our circumstance, we have been able to make this payment to Russell, and we intend to address (the remaining arrears). We have financial limitations, but we made a commitment. So we are doing our very best to meet that commitment. 

“It is a substantial debt. This is a debt that was accumulated before this administration came on board and was something that was created in the last administration. But, we felt it was important to address it in the best manner in which we could."