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Lawrence wins Court judgment against TTFA for breach of contract
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Former national player and T&T head coach Dennis Lawrence has won a multi-million-dollar High Court judgment against the T&T Football Association (TTFA) which fired him on December 15, 2019. The judgment was issued on March 7 after Lawrence’s former employers failed to file a defence in the matter.

The sum, which represents a breach of contract, outstanding salaries and bonuses, now carries the TTFA debt to over $100 million.

The T&T High Court judgment ordered the payment to the former coach with interest.

The judgment also stated that if the TTFA ignored this order “your goods may be removed and sold or other enforcement proceedings may be taken against you. If this happens further costs will be added.”

Lawrence was fired by William Wallace’s United TTFA which took over the organisation from David John-Williams following its annual general meeting (AGM) on November 24, 2019.

However, in March 2020 FIFA removed Wallace’s executive from office and replaced it with a Normalisation Committee (NC) which comprises businessman Robert Hadad (chairman), business executive Nigel Romano, attorney Judy Daniel (deceased) and Nicholas Gomes, a chartered accountant.

Meanwhile, St Lucia’s Stuart Charles Fevrier, who was Lawrence’s assistant coach and head coach of the T&T’s Under-15 boys’ team, and who was also sacked by Wallace’s board, took his matter to FIFA, who ruled in his favour since he was a non-national of T&T. He was paid in full.

Lawrence also followed Fevrier and went to FIFA, but he was deemed a national of T&T and therefore his matter was not considered. He then turned to the T&T High Court for redress.

Lawrence, 47, who was represented by attorney Dave Williams explained to Guardian Media Sports on Saturday that the TTFA was represented by attorney Hobsons, who filed an appearance notice but no written defence was filed so the judgment was due to the TTFA’s failure to file a defence which they were required to present within 28 days after filing the notice of appearance.

The court judgment, which was seen by Guardian Media Sports, states:

To: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association– Defendant–You have not filed a Defence to the Claimant’s Claim Form and Statement of Case and the time for doing so has expired. It is therefore ordered that you must pay the Claimant:

1. The sum mentioned in US currency for debt and interest to the date of entry of this judgment together with interest at the rate of five per cent per annum after the date of entry of this judgment to the date of payment.

2. The sum which represents costs and court fees to date of entry of this judgment together with interest at the rate of five per cent per annum after the date of entry of this judgment to the date of payment.

*Warning–If you ignore this order your goods may be removed and sold or other enforcement proceedings may be taken against you. If this happens further costs will be added.

Mike Berry, Lawrence’s agent, told Guardian Media Sports yesterday, “I am delighted that Dennis has finally received this judgment from the T&T High Court after the lengthy ordeal he has been put through by initially the so-called “United” TTFA and then by Hadad and his Merrymen and also the bizarre decision by FIFA to declare his case inadmissible because there was no international dimension after living in the UK for 20 odd years and also holding a British passport whilst paying his assistant, Stuart Charles Fevrier, a St Lucian, in full even though he had worked most of his life in T&T. Let’s now wait and see what the Trustee comes up with regarding her planned proposal to the creditors of a debt resolution before any further action is considered.”

Lawrence, a former Defence Force standout player, had been under fire following a string of poor performances by the Soca Warriors during the Concacaf Gold Cup and the Nations League. However, he refused to step down during the tenure of TTFA president David John-Williams.

So as its first item of business on December 14, the United TTFA slate of Wallace (president), Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick, Sam Phillip (vice-presidents) at a Board meeting made 11 decisions.

The highlight of those decisions was terminating Lawrence’s contract with immediate effect despite him having 18 months left. He was also not paid five months of outstanding salaries up until his termination.

The then TTFA release read: “Following a marathon session of nine hours on Saturday, the board, after a majority vote, decided to sack Lawrence, a decision that was later communicated to the coach via a phone call by Wallace. It was also agreed that Wallace will meet with Lawrence’s representatives to complete the separation soon. They did not name a replacement for Lawrence but said they would do so soon.”

Lawrence, who became a hero after he helped T&T secure its first and only World Cup qualification when he scored the only goal, a header, in the home-and-away qualifier against Bahrain in 2006, was nearly three years on the job and posted a record of six wins, eight draws and 21 losses.

Lawrence, who has played and coached in England had replaced Belgian Tom Saintfiet who resigned, took over a struggling T&T side that was one from the bottom of the CONCACAF final round of qualifying for the 2018 Russia World Cup.

WATCH Dennis Lawrence Wins In The High Court Against TTFA