Stephan De Four

SEEKING LEGAL REDRESS: Stephan De Four

WHETHER FIFA’s normalisation committee, or the local Association is in charge, it is likely Trinidad and Tobago football will become worse off financially, before things get any better.

Sacked women’s national team coach Stephan De Four has gotten a lawyer and is soon expected to begin a legal claim for wrongful dismissal against the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).

De Four was one of several contracted coaches fired by the William Wallace administration, all expected to cost the Association heavily through compensation claims. Among those fired were senior men’s coach Dennis Lawrence, De Four, and Under-15 coach Stuart Charles Fevrier.

Based in Texas, USA, De Four was contracted in June 2019 and sacked six months later in December, after Wallace unseated his predecessor David John-Williams, in the November 24 TTFA presidential elections.

De Four was a previous T&T Women’s Under-17 girls coach and Under-20 Women’s assistant coach and was also the assistant coach to the Women’s Under-15 team that participated at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. All of this was before he returned from the USA to work with the TTFA for a second stint.

“I have not been contacted by TTFA since my unlawful dismissal,” De Four told the Trinidad Express.

On June 21, 2019, the TTFA, under former president John-Williams, announced De Four as Women’s head-coach and also put him in charge of the national women’s Under-20 and Under-17 teams, ahead of upcoming CONCACAF Championships.

“De Four assumes duties that will see him overseeing the programme for a period which runs through to the respective U-20 and U-17 Women’s World Cups,” a TTFA media release stated back then.

De Four, on being hired, stated then, ”I am very honoured and humbled to serve my country in this capacity. My initial plan is to select a high-level competent technical staff with the same dedication and vision as I have. I am in the process of holding a screening of players for both groups early next month. I am elated to return to my homeland and make a difference as it relates to Women’s Football in T&T.”

De Four conducted several scouting missions in the USA where he unearthed the likes of Tori Paul and Maria-Frances Serrant.

De Four took charge of a new-look senior Women’s team during the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic qualifying Group A series held in Trinidad and Tobago, between September 30 and October 8, at Ato Boldon stadium, Couva.

Needing to top their group to move to the CONCACAF finals phase, the T&T Women could finish only third, when beaten 4-1 by group winners St Kitts & Nevis and held goalless by runners-up, the Dominican Republic.

In December, the newly-installed TTFA, under Wallace, announced that De Four had been relieved of his duties, with Wallace contacting the coach and stating: “It is with a bit of a heavy heart that I have to inform you that we can no longer retain you as head coach and sincerely thank you for your services rendered so far. We will arrange to discuss matters pertaining to the existing contract and outstanding payments.”

However, the lack of contact since seems to have precipitated De Four’s next course of action. “I have acquired an attorney to deal with my matter,” De Four informed. “So, I don’t want to comment any more in the matter per my attorney’s advice.”

Prior to being contracted by T&T, De Four was previously the technical director of the Haitian Football Association Women’s programme, where he served as head coach of the senior women’s and youth teams.

De Four was recently seen at the CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship Qualifying series in which he was in charge of the Cayman Islands team. Following a 2-0 defeat to T&T, De Four could be observed hugging his compatriot Richard Hood, the man chosen by the TTFA to replace him. “I am enjoying working in the Caymans very much,” De Four stated of current job.

De Four has also been keeping an eye on recent developments on the local front, which last week saw Wallace’s executive dissolved by FIFA after just four months in office, and to be replaced by FIFA-appointed managers. “I have been seeing how the situation is unfolding, but have no comment about the situation,” he said.

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“All things are lawful, but not all things are advantageous.”

That’s an ancient, biblical statement.

I’ve had cause to think upon those words of late. As the sun began to set on the first week of “Stay at Home”, on Sunday, there was still life on the Brian Lara Promenade. Maybe too much, given the COVID-19 times in which we live.

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:2…