Sat, Aug

TTFA no-show, loses in court again.

Ex-general secretary wins wrongful dismissal case

FORMER general secretary of the TT Football Association (TTFA) Sheldon Phillips was yesterday instructed by the court to quantify his claim for wrongful dismissal by the TTFA, after the judge ruled in his favour. Phillips was fired by former TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee in October 2015.

At the Industrial Court yesterday, the judge made the ruling after TTFA president David John-Williams failed to show up at the trial to make a defence.

Phillips provided his statement but there was no one from the TTFA to provide a statement. The court asked Phillips' lawyers to assess the damages and present their claim. Phillips, who was fired 18 months before his contract expired. told Newsday yesterday he was uncertain what the damages would amount to.

"We are assessing that right now, it would be premature for me to provide that figure," Phillips said.

Newsday called John-Williams for a comment yesterday but he did not answer his cellphone.

This was the second judgement won by Phillips against the TTFA. In April last year, he won a lawsuit over an unpaid loan to the local football body.

Raymond Tim Kee had fired Phillips prior to TTFA elections for "failure to adhere to directives regarding the operational activities of the FA.”

The TTFA had said Phillips was asked to resign but refused.

Phillips was described by Tim Kee as competent and efficient before he was fired.

Soon after his sacking, Phillips said he believed he was fired, not because of his performance or because he failed to follow procedures, but because he had written to FIFA about the manner in which the election process was being managed in the TTFA.

Phillips, asked yesterday how he felt that the situation was nearing its end, said, "(I feel) grateful to my family and the support that they have given and continue to give. Certainly very thankful for the incredible level of professionalism from my attorneys...They put a tremendous amount of work in and I was very comfortable with what they provided."

Phillips said the case was not over and the process needs to unfold.

He said, "I feel very relieved at this point in time (but) certainly the matter is not over. We still have to wait on the judgement. I am also very pleased at the process and I put faith in the process. The proceedings today and the questions and the manner in which the proceedings were held by the judges and the court staff confirmed my faith in the process."

The former secretary made a call to all sporting leaders to show athletes and their workers respect. "At the end of the day, I hope that this is a signal to sporting organisations that the manner in which they deal with their workers, especially the athletes, has to dramatically change. The old days of bullying people are over."

Phillips was represented by Tara Thompson, Joel Roper, Justin Leung and Gideon McMaster.