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Latapy withdraws TTFA lawsuit

By JADA LOUTOO Thursday, January 16 2014

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FORMER head coach of the Soca Warriors, Russell Latapy has withdrawn his claim against the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (now TTFA) in which he sought more than $4 million for salaries owed to him and compensation, after he was stripped of his post as coach in April, 2011.

Latapy and his lawyer Anthony Bullock and president of the TTFA Raymond Tim Kee and the football body’s attorney Derek Ali were present at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain yesterday, for what was listed as the start of the trial before Justice Frank Seepersad.

However, Latapy’s lawyer informed the court that a settlement had been arrived at between his client and the TTFA. As a result, Latapy was withdrawing his claim.

Details of the settlement between the two parties remain confidential and were not made public in court. According to the lawsuit filed in the Port-of-Spain High Court last year, Latapy’s claim covered outstanding salary in the sum of US$424,278 and damages for wrongful dismissal in the sum of US$402,852. He also wanted the TTFA to pay interest on both sums.

Latapy was fired as national coach following this country’s dismal showing at the 2010 Digicel Caribbean Cup in Martinique. Latapy’s claim also alleged that during his term of employment with the TTFA, he was only paid part of his salary for some months and no salary for some other months.

The former national team captain, dubbed the “Little Magician” for his skills on the field, was hired by the local governing body as head coach of the 2010 World Cup football team. His contract, signed on April 15, 2009, covered the period April 15, 2009 to November 30, 2009. It was agreed that Latapy would be paid a base salary of US$33,571 per month.

The national team’s 2010 World Cup campaign came to an end in November 2009 but the TTFA agreed for him to continue on as coach at the same salary (of US$33,571) until another formal agreement was arrived.

According to Latapy’s claim, in March 2010, former TTFA Special Adviser Jack Warner and the federation’s former general secretary Richard Groden entered into an oral agreement with him that he would serve as national coach of the senior team for two years, starting March 2010.

The former football coach said terms of the oral agreement was that he would continue to be paid the same salary and there was no provision for termination of the agreement, by either party, by the provision of notice or otherwise.

Latapy said he performed the duties of coach, according to the agreement with the TTFA, until he was terminated on April 8, 2011, before the end of the two years. He claimed he was wrongfully dismissed and suffered damage for twelve months - April 2011 to March 2012. He said he has on several occasions demanded payment of his outstanding salaries as well as compensation for his dismissal.

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