By Paul Nicholson
September 24 – FIFA’s patience with the former leadership of the Trinidad and Tobago FA (TTFA) has inevitably run out. The world governing body tonight suspended the TTFA “with immediate effect and until further notice”.
The announcement came following the failure of the former president William Wallace (pictured left) and his United TTFA co-conspirators – Clynt Taylor, Sam Phillip, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Keith Look Loy (pictured right) – to meet the FIFA deadline of 3pm yesterday to provide evidence that the claim against FIFA in the Trinidad and Tobago High Court had been withdrawn.
Wallace provided an affidavit two minutes after the September 23 deadline asking for the case to be withdrawn, but included in it multiple allegations that FIFA had coerced him and his colleagues into withdrawing. No judge would grant a withdrawal on that basis. Wallace was foolishly playing a game with Trinidad and Tobago football he was destined to lose.
Calling FIFA’s bluff in an attempt to regain power has proved to be playing Russian Roulette while wearing a suicide vest – you might dodge a bullet but there is still a big bang coming. There was only ever going to be one ending to this story and FIFA let them blow themselves up. Sadly they have taken the rest of Trinidad and Tobago football with them. Theirs is a football legacy like no other.
Never in the history of football administration has such a short-lived administrative tenure – just three months in their case – resulted in such apocalyptic damage to the footballing fabric and ambitions of a footballing nation.
In a letter to Normalisation Committee chairman Robert Hadad, FIFA general secretary Fatma Samoura outlined the reasons for suspension and the extensions to the deadlines they had been given to allow them time to withdraw the Trinidad High Court proceedings.
The response from Wallace and Look Loy in particular has been arrogant and contemptuous towards FIFA at every stage of the process. They believed that FIFA’s law did not apply to them and that the governing body’s money was their entitlement. An increasingly strident claim when they actually had decision-making power but drove the TTFA deeper into debt without any credible plan to resolve the crisis. Their arrogance and belief that they were the ‘real’ TTFA continued even in exile as they challenged FIFA in the Trinidad and Tobago courts.
“The Bureau (FIFA’s top decision making body) was informed that the institution and maintenance of those proceedings by these individuals, purporting to act in the name of the TTFA, in complete disregard for the FIFA Statutes threatens the very stability of the structure of football governance, both in Trinidad and Tobago and globally,” said Samoura.
United TTFA had become not just an enemy of local football, it had become an enemy of world football and the laws that every other nation in the football world follows.
Samoura said the TTFA suspension will only be lifted when:
- The TTFA complies with the terms and conditions of its membership of FIFA as set out under the FIFA Statutes, including in particular Article 59 of the FIFA Statutes,
- The TTFA acknowledges and confirms FIFA’s power and authority to appoint a Normalisation Committee subject to the right of the TTFA to appeal such a decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport;
- The TTFA Statutes are amended to ensure that all type of disputes may only be submitted to the established dispute resolution forum at CAS
What this means immediately for the TTFA is that the opportunity to play in the US in the qualifying competition for the 2021 Gold Cup – where the country was pre-seeded – has been lost.
“.,. the TTFA will be deprived if all its rights as a member…neither the TTFA’s national teams nor its clubs will be allowed to participate in any international competitions. Additionally, this also means that TTFA and its members will not benefit from the FIFA or Concacaf financial/development programmes,” said Samoura’s letter.
Today is Republic Day in Trinidad and Tobago. On his social media Keith Look Loy has a poster saying that ‘I will celebrate Republic Day when FIFA leave my country’. FIFA has currently left, with its competitions, money and support – get the party started Keith, Wallace and the gang are on the way over. Most people would call that a wake.
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