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T&T former national coach Stephen Hart

Two weeks after former national player Russell Latapy demanded from the T&TFA his US$6 million owed to him since 2009, another former national football coach Stephen Hart has demanded that the T&T Football Association (TTFA) pay him the US$742,444 (TT$5 million) in unpaid salary and benefits from his three-year stint in charge of the senior men’s team by May 9.

In a letter sent to TTFA general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan on Monday, Hart’s lawyer Keith Scotland indicated that his client intends to levy against the cash-strapped association in the event that it fails to meet the deadline.

The letter comes ousted TTFA executive members including former president William Wallace are currently engaged in proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over FIFA’s decision to remove them from office and appoint a Normalisation Committee chaired by businessman Robert Hadad.

The former executive is also still currently engaged in legal discussions with the association’s bank First Citizens Bank over control of its accounts.

In his lawsuit brought against the TTFA, Hart only sought to recoup his salary and benefits under his contracts and not additional damages for the TTFA’s conduct in his case.

According to his case statement, Hart was not paid his US$20,000 per month salary from September to October 2015 and from September to November 2016.

Hart, who currently coaches Halifax Wanderers in Canada, also claimed for the US$25,000 per month salary, he would have earned between December 2016 and December 2018, if his contract was not terminated in November 2016.

His lawyers contended that he was entitled to the payment as he was wrongfully terminated without reasons being given.

In addition to the US$10,000 bonus for leading the team to the hexagonal stage of Concacaf World Cup qualification, Hart also claimed for US$7,444 in travel, food, and baggage expenses he incurred between 2015 and 2016.

In November, High Court Judge Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell granted Hart a default judgement against the TTFA after it failed to register a defence to his claim.

The outcome came two months after former TTFA technical director Kendal Walkes won his US$783,000 over being wrongfully dismissed by former TTFA president David John-Williams and the association’s executive in March 2016.

Similar lawsuits, albeit for lesser compensation, have been also won by the association’s former technical staff over the past few years. The association has also faced litigation from suppliers over unpaid bills for goods and services previously provided.

Hart, a former national player, was head coach of the Canadian national team before taking over the local job in June 2013. He led the team in two relatively successful Gold Cup campaigns in 2013 and 2015, where the team made it to the knock out stage on both occasions.

Hart was eventually sacked after T&T was eliminated from the final round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. At the time his record was 16 wins, 12 draws and 15 losses in 43 matches.