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Russell Latapy on the attack.
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T&T youth coach hits ‘unprofessional’ TTFA boss

UNDER-17 men’s national coach Russell Latapy has accused TT Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams of behaving in an unprofessional manner as it related to a lack of communication and non-payment of salaries and perks owed to him and the management team.

Newsday was forwarded an email issued yesterday by Latapy which was addressed to John-Williams. The email was copied to the TTFA technical director, general secretary and board members. In the email, Latapy queried the TTFA chief’s failure to address the matter of unpaid salaries during his tenure as head coach of the U-17 team.

“I write again in regard to the outstanding salary and car allowance payments. I’ve been emailing and calling you daily, with little or no response,” the former T&T and FC Porto midfielder wrote.

“This is unprofessional and unacceptable at best, as you have not acknowledged any communications regarding team matters, nor outstanding salaries and allowances. On the rare occasion you have accepted my call, it is brief with the promise to return the call to address my outstanding payments and matters pertaining to my team, which to date I still await,” he added.

In April, John-Williams injured himself after falling and hurting his ribs. Newsday was told by the TTFA that the accident took place at John-Williams’ home. The TTFA head has been recovering at his home, and with a medical clearance, he has since missed an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), where he was expected to be questioned by board members about the TTFA’s financial statements, his involvement in the Home of Football project, the financial status of the project and other matters. The rescheduled EGM is carded for next Wednesday.

“This has been occurring before your unfortunate incident, and now you have left me with little recourse, but to copy the Technical Director, General Secretary and Board members in this communication to you,” Latapy wrote.

Latapy could not be reached for further comment yesterday.

However, Newsday contacted National Super League president and board member Keith Look Loy, who has been vocal in asking for transparency in financial matters of the TTFA. He also said if information is not forthcoming he would seek assistance from the police. Asked what steps the board will take if John-Williams fails to attend the EGM, Look Loy said: “We will elect a chairperson and proceed with business. Motions on a range of financial issues will be tabled.” He added that there may be a motion of no confidence calling on John-Williams and his officers to resign.

“Where is the FIFA and sponsorship money going?” Look Loy asked.

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Latapy: “This is unprofessional and unacceptable!” T&T U-20 coach urges DJW to address debts to technical staff.
Wired868.com


“I write again in regard to the outstanding salary and car allowance payments. I’ve been emailing and calling you daily, with little or no response.

“This is unprofessional and unacceptable at best…”

The following email was sent by Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team coach Russell Latapy to Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams on 8 June 2018:

Good Morning David,

I write again in regard to the outstanding salary and car allowance payments. I’ve been emailing and calling you daily, with little or no response.

This is unprofessional and unacceptable at best, as you have not acknowledged any communications regarding team matters, nor outstanding salaries and allowances.  On the rare occasion you have accepted my call, it is brief with the promise to return the call to address my outstanding payments and matters pertaining to my team, which to date I still await.

This has been occurring before your unfortunate incident, and now you have left me with little recourse, but to copy the Technical Director, General Secretary and Board members in this communication to you.

I await your feedback as it relates to my team members and myself.

Regards,
Russell Latapy.


Editor’s Note: Wired868 contacted TTFA president David John-Williams for response to Russell Latapy’s letter. We also asked for details on how many technical staff members are owed by the TTFA at present, the reason for the financial issues and how the local football body plans to address them.

Up to the time of publication, we had not received a response.

DJW: Latapy’s letter doesn’t “reflect our efforts”; Latapy: “We have differing perceptions”
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868).


Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams has promised to honour the local body’s debt and outstanding salary payments to National Under-20 Team coach Russell Latapy.

However, the beleaguered president has suggested that the former football icon and 2006 World Cup player did not properly reflect the communication between the pair in an email last Friday, which was leaked to Wired868.

“Disparaging excerpts of your communication to the Board has [sic] now made its way into the public domain,” John-Williams wrote to Latapy, in an email on Sunday, “which in no way reflects our efforts to date and sheds a less than favourable light on both myself and the TTFA.”

Latapy, in his own response, stood by his initial email but expressed hope “that these issues are addressed and resolved as soon as possible.”

The tense exchange is a spin-off from the TTFA’s current economic issues, which are believed to be linked to John-Williams’ failure to have his 2016 financial statement approved—his first year in office as football president.

At present, the football body can receive up to TT$9.7 million a year from FIFA, which is an unprecedented largesse from the world governing body. It is uncertain whether such funding has been halted due to an impasse between John-Williams and the TTFA membership over his financial stewardship and inability to provide detail on several projects including the Home of Football—a technical development centre and hotel, adjacent to the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

According to information that John-Williams forwarded to the TTFA Board on Sunday, the local football body is eligible to receive up to:

- US$750,000 per year for football projects such as pitches, competitions and women’s football.

- US$500,000 per year for running costs in areas including administration and governance and football programmes.

- US$175,000 per year to cover travel cost, so its various national teams can compete in international games and competition.

- US$100,000 over four years as an equipment solidarity fund, which can only be used, for equipment as stated.

None of this money can be used to service debts.

Three years ago, then TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillip gave a budget of TT$10 million to run the entire football body with all teams in training at once. At present, the TTFA can access most of that money from FIFA funding alone, without counting a NLCB contract for another TT$2 million annually or gate receipts, television rights and other sponsorship options.

Yet, the John-Williams-led body has racked up a considerable debt to technical staff and players during his two and a half year term so far.

Eight months after the biggest result of his tenure, Wired868 understands that the TTFA has still not paid players their bonuses for a shock 2-1 win over the United States in Couva, which eliminated the North American giants from the Russia 2018 World Cup campaign.

And the Women’s National Senior Team are believed to have had a debt settled in mid-tournament last month, after threatening to strike.

Latapy’s own frustration bubbled over last Friday, when he emailed John-Williams and copied in the entire TTFA Board.

“I write again in regard to the outstanding salary and car allowance payments,” said Latapy. “I’ve been emailing and calling you daily, with little or no response. This is unprofessional and unacceptable at best, as you have not acknowledged any communications regarding team matters, nor outstanding salaries and allowances.

“On the rare occasion you have accepted my call, it is brief with the promise to return the call to address my outstanding payments and matters pertaining to my team, which to date I still await.

“This has been occurring before your unfortunate incident, and now you have left me with little recourse, but to copy the Technical Director, General Secretary and Board members in this communication to you. I await your feedback as it relates to my team members and myself.”

John-Williams’ response was swift—on this occasion—but the president said only that he spoke to Latapy just two days earlier.

“Your email in noted. For the record I did speak to you by telephone on Wednesday,” said John-Williams.

Latapy replied again to stress that their midweek phone call did not negate his concerns about their supposedly poor communication.

“As mentioned in my previous email,” Latapy said, “we briefly spoke: ‘On the rare occasion you have accepted my call, it is brief with the promise to return the call to address my outstanding payments and matters pertaining to my team, which to date I still await’.

“You requested documents which were sent. I am still awaiting your acknowledgment of receipt and feedback regarding the monies owed as you promised in that said conversation on Wednesday morning.

“The promise you made for feedback by Wednesday night I still have not received. This continues to be unresolved.”

John-Williams’ initial response to Latapy was despatched just five minutes after Wired868 published the coach’s grouse. By the following day, the letter had also hit the mainstream media.

The TTFA president contacted his national youth team coach again to express his disappointment at that fact.

“Firstly, I acknowledge receipt of the documents requested on June 6th 2018,” said John-Williams. “I note the position that you have now taken since our last conversation on June 6th and I respect your decision.

“In my capacity as President of the TTFA, while not happy, I am very comfortable that the TTFA has made all reasonable efforts to address your situation, and of which we frequently keep you appraised.

“Disparaging excerpts of your communication to the Board has now made its way into the public domain  which in no way reflects our efforts to date and sheds a less than favourable light on both myself and the TTFA.

“Notwithstanding the foregoing we wish to assure you that this Administration will continue to pursue every effort to honour the large debt we inherited, and your outstanding salary.”

On Monday morning, Latapy accepted John-Williams’ olive branch but stressed that he did not believe he misrepresented their previous communication.

“Your email is acknowledged,” stated Latapy. “It is apparent, based on the statements in your last email, that we have differing perceptions of this situation.

“My hope is that these issues are addressed and resolved as soon as possible.”

According to another John-Williams’ release on the weekend, the TTFA owed Latapy over TT$7 million for his previous stint as National Senior Team head coach during the tenure of president Oliver Camps and special advisor Jack Warner.

It is uncertain how much of that figure was reduced during John-Williams’ tenure.

At present, the TTFA is facing over TT$10 million in lawsuits from former employees like coaches Stephen Hart, Carolina Morace and Clayton Morris—all related to decisions made by the John-Williams-led body.