By Paul Nicholson
July 8 – FIFA has blasted the ‘United TTFA’ lobby group and its lawyers who still believe they are running the Trinidad and Tobago FA despite having had their officials removed from office by a FIFA Normalisation Committee.
After what has been a long process of bitter public abuse and accusations from the United TTFA members towards FIFA, United TTFA’s lawyers achieved what they thought was a breakthrough with an agreement to a mediation process. They even went on TV to claim what they believed was a victory.
A day later FIFA blew that claim out the water saying the mediation would not now go ahead and the lawyers should have followed ethical protocol and maintained confidentiality to allow the mediation to take place between the parties.
FIFA went even further in dismissing the United TTFA, saying that the mediation was never about recognition of the status of the United TTFA. “For the sake of completeness, it should be noted that the mediation FIFA previously agreed to with “United TTFA” would never have dealt with the legality of the appointment of the Normalisation Committee and would only have covered some costs related issues,” FIFA said in a statement.
It is another setback for the United TTFA rebels who were unceremoniously removed from office just three months after election amid multiple allegations of misleading the TTFA membership and subsequent claims of financial fraud. The United TTFA have aggressively protested against perceived injustices of the removal from football and even began an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which they pulled out of claiming the CAS process was rigged and they wouldn’t get a fair hearing.
They instead chose to challenge the authority of FIFA in the Trinidad and Tobago High Court, filing a complaint May 18 challenging the decision to remove then president William Wallace and his board, including elected members Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Joseph Sam Phillip who all came to power under the United TTFA political banner.
Also removed was United TTFA’s chief puppeteer Keith Look Loy who had taken a position within the TTFA as chair of the FA’s technical committee.
Look Loy (pictured) has subsequently denied any involvement in the allegations of financial fraud, scheming and lack of governance transparency, saying he was never involved in contracts or decision making, preferring instead to throw Wallace under the investigators’ bus saying it was all his doing.
Look Loy comes out to play
On Monday, after a period of quiet from the controversial Look Loy, he stuck his head above the parapet regarding the mediation, saying to Trinidad Newsday: “This is a potentially positive development. It implicitly offers recognition by FIFA of the democratically elected TTFA leadership, and it potentially opens the way for productive talks between equals.
“The lawyers will thrash out the mechanics of the process over the next (few) days, and we very much anticipate the talks themselves.”
Look Loy’s enthusiasm was shortlived as FIFA dismissed any notion that it was recognising the United TTFA or that they would now meet with Look Loy and his partners, saying: “FIFA does not, and will never, accept the jurisdiction of a local court in Trinidad & Tobago to decide on the legality of the appointment of the Normalisation Committee currently appointed to run football in the territory.
“For the avoidance of doubt, FIFA only recognises the authority and jurisdiction of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in these matters. Any dispute regarding the appointment of a Normalisation Committee falls squarely within the jurisdiction of the CAS, and CAS alone.”
Look Loy – a loyal disciple of football most wanted Jack Warner, and who served under him when Warner was illegally monetising his way through Trinidad, Caribbean and Concacaf football – is no stranger to being on the wrong side of authority. As coach of a High School team Look Loy was banned for life from coaching by the Secondary Schools Football League for inciting his team to commit acts of violence on the field.
Incredibly that ban was overturned on the intervention of his spiritual leader Warner who asked the SSFL that he be released from the ban as he could not use Look Loy as national team coach of the U16s Trinidad and Tobago team who were being prepared for the World Cup.
The SSFL capitulated and reversed the ban. Warner had a son who was in Look Loy’s coaching school at the time and was able to take part in the national team set-up.
Following FIFA’s statement, Look Loy was quoted in Wired868 as saying that he believed “FIFA is petrified” of losing the case in the High Court at the end of the month. An interesting choice of adjective.
‘Petrification’ is the process by which organic material becomes a fossil. As this dispute has progressed it is perhaps more a metaphor for Warner’s former crew behind United TTFA and their way of operating, than a progression towards a modern day, sustainable and thriving Caribbean FA.
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