William Wallace and the United T&T Football Association (TTFA) team of Clynt Taylor, Joseph Sam Phillip, Keith Look Loy and Anthony Harford, are facing a second lawsuit.
Within 24 hours after T&T Pro League team Cunupia FC announced that it will be suing the association, former national coach Stephan De Four who was given a two-year contract to coach the T&T women’s team back in 2019, said he has instructed his Attorneys to pursue legal action against the United TTFA for breach of contract.
This comes, only a day after the group's battle against football’s world governing body, FIFA, which was expected to end in the T&T High Court, in Port-of-Spain, yesterday. However, High Court Judge Carol Gobin reserved her decision in the case to Tuesday at 3 pm, after hearing submissions from lawyers representing Wallace and his team.
Less than a year after De Four had been given the job, TTFA president Wallace sent him a letter terminating his position as coach of the team, De Four said. At that time, Wallace had been out of the country and therefore the letter was sent via email, De Four told Guardian Media Sports.
De Four said his contract was scheduled to expire in July 2021, but a hasty move by Wallace only days after his executive assumed the leadership position on November 24, De Four said he received the letter terminating him on December 17, following which a pre-action protocol letter from his attorney, was sent to Wallace and his team.
The United TTFA never responded to the pre-action protocol letter that was sent.
De Four described the United TTFA as heartless and disrespectful, saying not once did they respond to his attorney.
“With all that was taking place with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, I decided to wait until this situation blows over, so now I am ready to proceed,” said the former national women’s coach, who also assured that his contract was a good one, since it was approved by the Board of Directors of the TTFA.
He lashed out at Wallace for his lack of respect in dealing with the situation, saying the same lack of respect shown by not even responding to his attorney’s pre-action protocol letter, is the same lack of respect that is being exhibited in the way he and the United TTFA have been managing the affairs of the sport, showing no heart or concern for people who depend on the sport as a way of making a living.
The United TTFA has come under fire for its decision to challenge the appointment of a Normalisation Committee which replaced them as the managers of local football. Due to this challenge, FIFA has suspended the United TTFA for its failure to adhere to the FIFA Statutes regarding the jurisdiction for disputes.
Quizzed as to whether he wanted to receive a lump-sum payment of his wages or return to work, De Four said he can never work under Wallace and his administration again.
It is uncertain exactly when court proceedings will begin but De Four said it is all in his lawyer’s hands right now.
Attempts to reach Wallace for a comment yesterday were unsuccessful.
Cunupia FC coach slams Wallace on promised meeting.
By Jonathan Ramnanansingh (Newsday).
CUNUPIA FC coach Michael De Four is unamused by ousted TTFA president William Wallace's promise to convene a meeting of TTFA members if Justice Carol Gobin rules in his favour in their High Court battle against FIFA.
The TTFA will know on Tuesday, at 3 pm, if FIFA’s decision to remove Wallace and his executive from the helm of the local football body in March, and appoint a normalisation committee, was justified or in violation of local laws.
Justice Gobin said at a virtual hearing on Friday that she will give her decision by e-mail. FIFA suspended the TTFA on September 24 for persisting with the legal battle in the local court.
On Friday, Wallace vowed, if successful, to stick to his word and immediately convene a meeting with the TTFA members to chart a way forward.
In an immediate response, De Four expressed scepticism about Wallace's sincerity given United TTFA's failure to pull their legal challenge against FIFA from the local court before FIFA's deadline.
He said, “They’re playing games with people. He said he would call another meeting? But didn’t he call a meeting sometime aback? Did he follow through with what was agreed upon at that meeting? How would members be certain that he would stick to his word this time around? Leaders don’t think subjectively.
“I have issues with the level of objectivity he has displayed. Every single football club and footballer in T&T is subject to lose because of this. That idea (another meeting) doesn’t sound very much as if you’re functioning like a person who has an idea of how to run the business of football. Because that incorporates strategic management with a specific plan, goal and aim.”
Cunupia FC recently filed an affidavit in the local court challenging William Wallace’s failure to meet FIFA’s September 23 (3 pm) deadline to withdraw the matter against the sport’s governing body.
De Four believes Wallace reneged on his word, after an informal meeting of the TTFA membership on September 22, when the removed president gave assurance that he would withdraw the legal claim to ensure T&T did not face sanctions.
Wallace and his executive did in fact submit the withdrawal, but two minutes past the deadline.
Initially, Wallace was given until September 16 to withdraw the case but failed to do so. This deadline was then extended until September 23.
De Four believes T&T's football suspension has cost the club an approximate $4.5 million of investment. It is on this grounds that the club has begun legal proceedings against Wallace and vice-presidents Clynt Taylor and Joseph Sam Phillips.
“We’ve filed an affidavit and we’re in the process of having the matter brought before the court. This matter is presently in its embryonic stage. The club feels disenfranchised and the actions that led up to T&T being suspended were reckless. A lot of people have been affected negatively and as such, these are the consequences,” said De Four.
The club has retained the services of attorney Peter Taylor to handle this legal matter.
Taylor said on Friday, “This was more like a shot across the bow to express their (club) consternation at the position taken by the leadership of the TTFA. I still have to take instructions from them going forward.”
At the informal meeting, held virtually on the night before FIFA’s deadline, the majority of TTFA members voted to end United TTFA’s court action against FIFA.