THE hot seat on which businessman Robert Hadad sits is becoming even hotter, with former national coach Dennis Lawrence among the latest chiding the local businessman for a lack of communication with TTFA creditors.
Lawrence is owed millions by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association after being fired in December 2019 by former TTFA president William Wallace, who Hadad replaced when world football’s world governing body FIFA installed its own normalisation committee, and gave it a mandate to bring the football association back on a firm financial footing.
“Show some respect,” demanded Lawrence, the former UK-based former Everton Football Club development coach. “The lack of communication from Mr Hadad has been nothing short of disrespectful at this time.”
Lawrence also told the Express: “He has ignored letters from lawyers from people (who) have judgments against the TTFA and who can on any day begin wind-up proceedings against the TTFA. Mr Hadad’s attitude towards creditors of the TTFA and former national coaches like myself, Anton Corneal and Stephen Hart has been nothing short of disrespectful.”
Saddled with the heavy burden of righting an almost insolvent TTFA) which had debts of near $70 million-plus when he took charge, Hadad confessed that he did not need the aggravation of dealing with TTFA issues in his life.
“Apparently I can do nothing right,” Hadad relayed to the Express yesterday, a tone of frustration weighing heavily in his voice after having been rebuked in some quarters, even when trying to bring some Christmas cheer to TTFA staff by paying outstanding salaries.
“What are all these scathing attacks about?” Hadad asked.
Yesterday, Wayne Sheppard of the football coaches standing committee and Under-17 boys coach Angus Eve, both reported initially that coaches attached to national teams had reported not being paid outstanding salaries promised by Hadad up to the time banks closed on Tuesday. However, Sheppard later confirmed that a portion of the coaches’ salaries had reached the bank.
Sheppard lamented that the National Coaches Steering Committee had received no official communication as to the status of their outstanding salaries, except what was reported in the newspapers. Many coaches were owed money up to August when their contracts ended. However, Sheppard said that their only source of information was an informal communication between Hadad’s assistant Amiel Mohammed and a single coach.
While the salary situation was still uncertain, Hadad assured the Express that money had indeed been sent to the banks.
“The admin staff has been paid for the year up to November. The players have been paid off, and the debt owing to the coach has been paid up to half (50 per cent) up to the end of August. We have to find the money to pay the balance.”
Hadad also reported that he would have to find other means to settle historic debt and other issues such as Lawrence’s.
Hadad’s explanation was: “Dennis Lawrence, Anton Corneal, Russell Latapy and all these guys, the money which FIFA gives us for the year cannot be used to pay these debts. So, I have to find other arrangements. I have to figure out, with FIFA, where that money is coming from. It cannot come from current money we get from FIFA.”
Lawrence believes that the solution, while difficult, can be made less complicated by arbitration rather that litigation.
“No one is saying that we expect the TTFA to pay us every cent that is owed to us today. But at least have the respect to speak with us, the people who have served the country and given everything for the sport,” Lawrence stated.