Wallace: Cudjoe is right on timeline but don’t blame us for DJW’s behaviour

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Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president William Wallace confirmed that he did not seek a meeting with Minister of Sport Shamfa Cudjoe before March but denied suggestions that he only reached out to her when they were in trouble with Fifa.

Wallace previously claimed that he tried unsuccessfully to meet Cudjoe and was only promised an audience last month, just two weeks before Fifa ordered a normalisation committee and declared that the local football body was under new management.

Photo: Sport Minister Shamfa Cudjoe (right) meets the Venezuela football team before kick off against Trinidad and Tobago in the TTFA Youth Invitational Boys U-15 Tournament at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 19 July 2019.
Venezuela won 4-0.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Cudjoe denied that she ignored the TTFA president.

“Wallace did not ask for a meeting with the Sport Minister,” said Cudjoe. “It is only about two weeks before [the normalisation committee] that they reached out. Before that they reached out to everyone but me.

“[…] Two years ago, there was an issue with the Women’s National Senior Team and their manager Jinelle James asked for the ministry’s intervention. When [then president David] John-Williams came here, he said ‘I don’t know what I’m doing here because I never requested this meeting. TTFA reports to FIFA’.

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“And that has been the position and posture of TTFA ever since. So don’t play a different game with me now that you’re having trouble with FIFA.”

Wallace admitted that the sport minister was correct about the timeline of his request for a meeting. However he said it was unfair to blame his administration for the belligerence of his predecessor, John-Williams.

“The first time I would have written to Shamfa [Cudjoe] would have been when the bank accounts were frozen,” said Wallace. “However she did say that it is only when we got in trouble that we contacted her which was not true… She spoke about the attitude of the previous TTFA president but that [behaviour] didn’t come from us.

“I did meet with the Sport Company in January. But there was no urgent need to meet with the sport minister until March. And it didn’t have anything to do with Fifa.”

Photo: TTFA president William Wallace (right) and Sport Minister Shamfa Cudjoe (centre) present prizes during a schools football event put on by former football legend Steve David (second from left) in December 2019.
(via Ministry of Sport)

At present, Wallace is seeking to block Fifa’s move to replace him with normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad and has appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). He also wrote to First Citizens Bank and ordered them not to allow Hadad access to the TTFA’s bank account.

FCB is seeking legal advice before making a determination on the claims from Hadad and Wallace.

Although the TTFA is formed by an act of Parliament and its constitution does not permit a president to be moved by any outside party, including Fifa, the government has already begun talks with Hadad, as the de facto local football boss.

Minister of National Security Stuart Young negotiated with Hadad last week for use of the TTFA Home of Football facility and ignored a letter from Wallace, which voiced concern about the snub.

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About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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One comment

  1. My advice to you Mr. Williams (know you did not ask for any) is not to defy the FIFA, get out of the way let the Committee do their thing until you have your date with CAS. You would do more harm than good to TTFA by doing otherwise. When the referee sends you off the field you cannot argue you case on the field. If you want to be part of football then you have to live according to the rules of football and find solutions for what you may think is unfair according to the rules of football. In other words…COOL YOURSELF.

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