By Paul Nicholson
September 28 – The soap opera that is the United TTFA’s desperate politicking to regain control of the Trinidad and Tobago FA took a couple of more plot turns over the weekend with the withdrawal of the notice to withdraw the court proceedings against FIFA on Friday, and the news from Concacaf that they were keeping the TTFA in the Gold Cup draw, at least for now.
FIFA had removed the William Wallace regime and then later suspended the Normalisation Committee-led TTFA until Wallace (pictured left with Keith Look Loy) and his United TTFA gang withdrew their High Court action against FIFA over their forced removal from office for financial mismanagement (and a deeper investigation into financial malfeasance).
In an informal meeting of stakeholders called by the United TTFA group – a number of stakeholders refused to attend disputing the authority of the gathering – Wallace was unanimously mandated to withdraw the court action before the court.
The application to withdraw was filed minutes after the deadline given by FIFA but was never sanctioned by the court. More pertinent is that the application to withdraw was filed with a lengthy affidavit from Wallace claiming he had been pressured and coerced into filing the withdrawal. That affidavit pretty much guaranteed it would never have been granted by a judge, and led to accusations that he and his committee had never intended to get the court action withdrawn – despite the informal mandate from his previous membership.
His withdrawal of the withdrawal and his affidavit was significantly more succinct.
That then prompted the resignation of battle weary Susan Joseph-Warrick, the only female member of the rebel group, from the United TTFA.
Gold Cup half full
In something of parallel universe move by the United TTFA, they said they would be going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to protest against the country being removed from the Gold Cup – perhaps indicating how far out of touch the United TTFA is with football in their region.
Concacaf had already met and given them a window of opportunity to stay in the competition despite being suspended. The criteria for remaining in the competition is that FIFA has lifted their suspension by December 18.
But the move to go back to CAS was another pinch yourself moment. Previously the United TTFA have claimed that CAS is corrupt and rigged in FIFA’s favour, and hence withdrew their challenge to FIFA to refile it in their home court in Trinidad and Tobago – about the same time that CAS fees would have been due to proceed the case.
FIFA have said that the only court that they will recognise is CAS – as per their statutes. Interestingly, similar laws also apply to National Olympic Associations and as football is an Olympic sport there could logically be wider implications and a knock on for sport generally in the twin island republic.
Meanwhile Wallace issued a cringing self justification of his actions on TTFA letterhead with the TTFA address in Couva listed, and signing himself as president of the TTFA. In case anyone has forgotten, Wallace was removed from his presidential office and the Couva offices by FIFA. He is not recognised by FIFA, and doesn’t have access to the building from which he is apparently sending letters. Under anyone’s laws it appears to be a clear cut case of misrepresentation.
Wallace’s puppetmaster, Keith Look Loy (big on rhetoric, not so big on taking personal responsibility in writing), has talked about the invasion of his island by FIFA stormtroopers. Presumably the United TTFA has massed its committee (minus Warrick) at the gates of the Ato Bolden Stadium, ready to counterattack and regain their sovereign land. Doubtless armed with Trinidad and Tobago’s equivalent of weapons of mass destruction – a locally issued High Court action.
This is one drama that is ready to run and run with the next episode this week eagerly awaited. The only plot guarantee is that it won’t involve any actual football being played but will involve some noisy men grasping for a return to FIFA’s coffers. Look Loy, like the good WW1 general he is, will be at the back waving them over the top. Doubtless the fabled Jack Warner (banned from football for life and still wanted by the FBI) will be watching of actions of his alumni, perhaps even martialling them, from his own hill top that isn’t currently under siege but might be soon.
The draw for the Concacaf 2021 Gold Cup is tonight. Draws can be pretty drab affairs but this one, the first time it has been televised, will have the excitement of everyone wondering who is representing the TTFA. I’m rooting for Big Jack W to make a guest appearance, or perhaps a Nelson Mandela cutout as a proxy, after all, wasn’t he similarly oppressed? The only difference with him was that on Robben Island the football statutes that they had for their league were FIFA’s.
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