30 days deadline missed without any communication
T&T Football Association (TTFA), headed by president William Wallace, is now facing its first major challenge after it has failed to honour its first of several contractual agreements with senior men's national coach Dennis Lawrence.
A media release on December 15, 2019, from the TTFA stated that: “The services of Lawrence as national team coach were terminated with immediate effect following a majority decision by the board."
The release pointed out that the TTFA had a nine-hour board meeting on Saturday 14 December at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva with its elected officers president Wallace, vice-presidents Clynt Taylor, Susan Warrick and Joseph Sam Phillip and eight of 12 member delegates from Central FA, Eastern FA, Northern FA, Southern FA, TT Pro League, TT Referees Association, TT Super League and Women’s League Football (WoLF) inwhich several decisions including that of coach Dennis Lawrence were arrived at.
Guardian Media Sports was reliably informed by a source who is close to the situation that Lawrence's contract has a clause that states that once he's terminated the TTFA had 30 working days (January 31, 2020) in which to honour all outstanding contractual agreements and further, the contract makes provisions for the TTFA to meet with the coach's agent, who is Englishman Mike Berry and propose a settlement offer, however, that was not done.
The release from the TTFA also stated that: “The TTFA president and Lawrence’s representative(s) will meet to discuss the terms of separation.”
However, Guardian Media Sports understand that the agent has not been contacted to date with an offer of a settlement and that Lawrence never got an official correspondence from the TTFA until December 17, 2019.
Guardian Media Sports was informed that under the terms of the contractual arrangements Lawerance cannot take legal action against the TTFA before the matter is addressed through arbitration and by FIFA.
The source said that at present the TTFA does not have an arbitration committee for coach Lawrence to get immediate redress which means he has to take the matter directly to FIFA.
The source also pointed out that Lawrence has a contract that runs until 2021 and the coach has not been paid for several months.
The media release stated: “Immediately following the decision of the board, president Wallace contacted Lawrence via telephone to inform him of the decision and wished him well in his personal and professional life, while also thanking him for his services to the men’s team.
Guardian Media Sports efforts to contact President Wallace by phone, text and whats app messages but all proved futile.
The source reveals that the TTFA must be mindful of the fact that in 2016 the organisation was threatened with FIFA sanctions after it did not honour its debt of US$210,000 to former women’s national senior and youth team coach Norwegian Even Pellerud, who was fired back in 2010.
Eventually, the “Soca Warriors” avoided being blanked from participating in the FIFA 2022 World Cup when it paid off coach Pellerud in three tranches and FIFA also approved the organisation's internal audit and made funding available to the TTFA.
The 45-year-old Lawrence, who was appointed national coach in January 2017 was grilled on the national senior team performance by a committee led by Wallace, who became TTFA president on November 24. The committee also comprised Keith Look Loy, the chairman of the technical committee, Anthony Harford and Azaad Khan.
TTFA short on ‘Tallest’s’ $$
By Joel Bailey (Newsday).
THE TT Football Association (TTFA) is working to resolve the unpaid debts to former men’s football team coach Dennis “Tallest” Lawrence, who was fired on December 14, 2019.
Lawrence was relieved of his duties after a poor run of form which saw T&T struggle at both the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup and the Concacaf Nations League.
The TTFA, in a media release on December 15, mentioned, “The services of Lawrence were terminated with immediate effect following a majority decision by the board.
“Immediately following the decision of the board, (TTFA president William) Wallace contacted Lawrence via telephone to inform him of the decision and wished him well in his personal and professional life, while also thanking him for his services to the men’s team. The TTFA president and Lawrence’s representative(s) will meet to discuss the terms of separation.”
A newspaper report last week said Lawrence, who was owed salaries for a few months (under the tenure of then-TTFA president David John-Williams), was yet to be contacted with an offer of a settlement.
Wallace said on Monday, “We’re working on Dennis Lawrence. We’re trying to liaise with his attorney and we’re trying to find monies to pay him off. We’re in the process of hunting that down. I think that should be settled very soon.”
The TTFA has been dealing with several legal issues which have left the local governing body in a cash-strapped position.
In terms of finding the funds required to resolve the Lawrence issue, Wallace said the TTFA will have to seek sponsorship deals to boost its coffers.
Asked if that matter will be settled in a matter of weeks or months, the TTFA boss replied, “Just after Carnival we’ll address a range of things that we met when we got into office, and what we have done so far.”
Concerning the T&T Under-20 women’s team, who will be engaged in a Concacaf Under-20 Women’s World Cup qualifiers in the Dominican Republic from February 22, Wallace said, “Everything is in place. They’re leaving (on Tuesday) for an 11-day camp and then they’ll play after that. The girls who are coming from North America will join them.”