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Latas, TTFA kiss and make up
Former national senior football team head coach Russell Latapy has withdrawn his multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the T&T Football Federation (TTFF), now the T&T Football Association (TTFA), for unpaid salaries.
When the lawsuit came up for trial before Justice Frank Seepersad in the Port-of-Spain High Court yesterday morning, Latapy, through his attorney Anthony Bullock, indicated that he had agreed to an out-of-court settlement with the TTFF and no longer wished to pursue the matter.
The exact details of the settlement were not revealed in court. Both sets of attorneys agreed that each party in the case would bear their own legal fees. Latapy and current TTFA president, Port-of-Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee, were present in court yesterday.
In the lawsuit, which was filed in October 2011, Latapy was seeking to recover US$424,278 in outstanding salary payments and US$402,852 in damages. According to his court filings, the sum of damages that he was seeking represented 12 months’ salary from his dismissal as coach to the end of his contract with the TTFF.
Latapy’s first stint as head coach after retiring as a player began on April 15, 2009 and ended seven months later after T&T’s unsuccessful World Cup 2010 qualification campaign.
In his claim, Latapy alleged that in March 2010, during a meeting with former TTFF special adviser Jack Warner and former general secretary Richard Groden, he entered into an oral contract with the federation that he would serve a further two years in the position, ending in March 2012.
He was fired from the post after the team’s mediocre performance at the 2010 Digicel Caribbean Cup in Martinique, when they were eliminated in the group stage.
Under a written agreement with the TTFF, Latapy’s base monthly wages were $33,571, which were maintained at the same level during his second stint in the position. Latapy also alleged that he was only partially paid during some months and received no pay in others.
Latapy’s court filings detailed several lump sum payments made by the federation after his dismissal and other one-off payments that did not total the full salary due to him. According to the documents, Latapy also alleged that he contacted the federation on several occasions, demanding his payments and was ignored.
Latapy, who scored 29 goals in 79 appearances for the national team and was instrumental in the 2006 World Cup campaign, is currently employed as a coach with Portuguese third-division team Boavista FC.
The TTFF was represented by Derek Ali.