A decision by the chairman of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee, Robert Hadad, to reach out on Monday to Attorney Keith Scotland, who is representing former national football coach Stephen Hart, to deal with monies owed to his client, is set to alter a position to have the T&T Football Association (TTFA) levied on.
On Monday Scotland said they were heartened by the fact that someone from the Normalisation Committee has finally reached out to them and opened communication after Hart had been ignored by the embattled football association under David John-Williams for four years, although judgement was given in his favour, last year.
Justice Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell, in the High Court last November, ruled against the TTFA, to pay Hart the sum of US$742,444 (an estimated TT$5 million) which represents monies for unpaid wages, bonuses etc, to Hart for his wrongful dismissal back in 2016.
The TTFA was given a deadline date of May 9 to pay, but there was no communication to Hart's lawyer, as the William Wallace-led administration was replaced by a normalisation committee of Hadad, a director of the HADCO Group of Companies, retired banker Nigel Romano, and attorney Judy Daniel, who is the deputy chairman. Two other persons are set to be appointed soon by the CONCACAF and FIFA.
Upon recognition that the accounts of the TTFA had been liquidated in an almost similar legal matter by then technical director Kendall Walkes in February and his legal team, Scotland had gotten fed up of the lack of communication by the TTFA to resolve the matter. He said they were considering levying on the "Home of Football" in Balmain, Couva to receive what was owed to his client.
“Remember this is a judgement. It is unfortunate that it took five years, where you dismissed a national coach by not honouring the obligations of his contract. I am heartened that someone from the normalisation committee has reached out, and because of this reaching out, we may amend our position,” said Scotland.
He did not say exactly what they were going to do, saying they had a plan of how they were going to proceed and that his next step will be to follow protocol by making contact with Hart who is based in Canada for guidance on how to proceed. Scotland said, "We are willing to see what proposals are made by the normalisation committee and have discussions.”
Meanwhile, Hart told Guardian Media Sports on Monday, that it all depends on the TTFA.
“Hadad reached out to me recently and I told him that I prefer he talk to my lawyer so I guess he has. My lawyer has not gotten on to me as yet. For me, it's basically what the TTFA comes up with. Let's just hope that things work out and football can get back on track.”
Upon the ruling in November, which was soon before the hotly-contested TTFA elections at the "Home of Football", only Wallace, Hart said, had reached out to him to try and settle the debt. Coincidentally it was part of a whopping $50 million debt which had crippled the football association and basically led to the appointment of the normalisation committee by the sport's governing body.
Hart has been commended for stabilising the country's football during his tenure from 2013-2016, at which time he guided the Soca Warriors to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which included a 4-4 tie with football giant Mexico.
He also took the national team to the final qualifying HEX stage of the World Cup Qualifiers before being replaced by Dennis Lawrence, a former national player.