Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) president Keith Look Loy appears to have survived an attempt to dislodge him from the board of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), after a petition to remove him was ruled to have failed to meet the constitutional threshold by TTSL general secretary Peter Thomas.
The TTSL constitution allows members to call an extraordinary general meeting, once ‘more than 50% of the members’ make the request in writing. And, according to article 19.8, it takes only an ‘ordinary resolution’ at this meeting to remove any director from office.
The low threshold to jettison the TTSL president is in sharp contrast to the ‘majority of three quarters of the valid votes’ required to unseat the TTFA president, according to article 38.4 of the TTFA constitution.
Yet, Guaya United Randy Hagley appears to have failed to get the necessary votes. Hagley initially claimed to have 15 signatory clubs and needed 12. By Sunday night, the clubs that supported his petition had been whittled down to 11; and, today, the TTSL said it recognised only eight of his supporters—due to the declared non-compliance of three teams: Siparia Spurs, Youth Stars and Central 500.
“By directive of the TTFA Annual General Meeting of 31 March 2018, the TTFA Board of Directors provisionally suspended all TTFA members which had not submitted 2016 compliance documentation, with a recommendation for expulsion,” stated Thomas, in an email to clubs on 5 February 2019. “At the 2018 AGM meeting of 21 April 2018, which addressed the status of all non-compliant members, it was decided to offer each club special conditions to redeem their compliant status.
“Nothing further has developed in this matter. Therefore, these three clubs are still held to be non-compliant with all rights suspended, according to Article 14.3 of the TTFA constitution.”
In truth, Hagley’s petition seemed doomed on Sunday night when San Fernando Giants undid the will of their club president, Anthony ‘Cla Tones’ Clarke, at an extraordinary general meeting of their own.
It was, arguably, a moment of high irony. Clarke, an open supporter of current TTFA boss David John-Williams, accused Look Loy of dictatorial tendencies and speaking out of turn by tackling the local football president on matters of transparency without—in his opinion—the proper support of the clubs he represented when on TTFA board business.
Yet, Giants found Clarke guilty of exactly the same.
Last week, Giants public relations officer Curtis Emmanuel informed the TTSL that Clarke had misrepresented their club.
“San Fernando Giants FC will like to distance itself from [the] petition signed by Mr Anthony Clarke,” stated Emmanuel, in a letter to the TTSL on 28 January 2019. “He had no authorisation to sign this petition on behalf of San Fernando Giants FC.”
Clarke subsequently held two meetings with his club and told Wired868 that he was confident he could get his colleagues to see things his way. But he failed to do so.
“Our position remains that we support the contents of the letter that we sent to the Super League,” said Emmanuel today, “and we have no further comment.”
The about-turn by Giants, Erin FC and WASA FC left Hagley one club short of a majority, even before the TTSL ruled three more of his backers ineligible due to non-compliance.
Hagley was defiant though.
“That letter [from the TTSL general secretary] is null and void because based on information [from Look Loy] on the 26th, there are 16 compliant teams in the Super League,” said Hagley. “Well, we have eight. Right now if we are talking about compliance, then UTT and Queen’s Park did not make the deadline and should be non-compliant too…”
It is a double-edged sword. At least two more of Hagley’s supporters, Marabella Family Crisis Centre and 1976 Phoenix FC, are also believed to have compliance issues and could find themselves in trouble.
However, it is the TTFA—and not the TTSL—which rules on issues of compliance. And, although the local football body has already pronounced on the fate of Siparia Spurs, Youth Stars and Central 500, Hagley said he intends to approach the umbrella body again to see if its position has changed.
“We will get the TTFA to intervene because it is too much collusion in the Super League,” said Hagley. “He can’t be the president and the owner of a team; that is too much of a collusion. So let the TTFA tell us who are the legitimate clubs in the Super League and who is or isn’t compliant.”
Look Loy insisted that using his ownership of Santa Rosa as an excuse to remove him was a red herring.
“Under the laws of the TTSL—and as under the Pro League’s regulations as well—a club member is not denied the opportunity to be an officer of the league or the board,” said Look Loy. “The whole Pro League board including their chairman are representatives from clubs; but they seem to be trying to make an issue with that in the Super League.
“In the [TTSL) elections, I ran against [Ryan] Ottley who is from Defence Force and [Cunupia head coach] Michael De Four ran for vice president and the fact that they are associated with clubs was not an issue then. Now it has become an issue, only because they lost.”
The inconsolable Hagley claimed that Look Loy—and not the TTSL general secretary—penned the letter which ruled the three clubs non-compliant. And, although his petition asked only for the TTSL president to be removed from the TTFA board, the Guaya owner admitted that he did not want Look Loy around in a leadership role at all.
“It’s not Peter Thomas who wrote that letter; because I have never seen him write anything saying ‘comrade’—that is Look Loy,” said Hagley. “My position is I don’t want Look Loy as the president of our football.
“[…] Look Loy might know all the ins and outs of the laws of the game but he is a bad president. I don’t care about the court case against the Home of Football or whatever, I care about the Super League; and plenty teams support me.
“So I will ask the TTFA to intervene…”
Whether Hagley has enough teams in his corner is the vital question, though. Look Loy dismissed Hagley’s claims and insisted that the petition did not deserve any more attention.
“In 2018, the [TTFA] board suspended several clubs with a recommendation to expel [and] the 2018 AGM reinstated all but three, giving them special conditions to regain compliance,” said the TTSL president. “They have not fulfilled these conditions [so] they remain suspended. And no other club has been deemed non-compliant by the TTFA board or general meeting; only those three. And only the general meeting can lift the suspension.
“They cannot counter the logic of our legal position nor the numbers that are against them nor the fraudulence of their approach.”
The following is a statement from Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) general secretary Peter Thomas in relation to a petition for the removal of president Keith Look Loy from the board of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA):
Good morning comrades,
I respond to the petition dated 29 December 2018 re: “Request for Extraordinary General Meeting” and submitted to me via email on 29 January 2019.
As correctly quoted in said petition, TTSL’s By-Laws (2017) state:
Article 32 Extraordinary General Meeting
“2. The Board of Directors shall convene an Extraordinary General Meeting if a majority (more than 50%) of the Members make such a request in writing. The request shall specify the items for the Agenda. An Extraordinary General Meeting shall be held within twenty-one (21) days of receipt of the request, unless the Agenda includes the election of members of the Board of Directors, in which case the Extraordinary General Meeting shall be held within thirty (30) days of receipt of the request. If an Extraordinary General Meeting is not convened within the indicated time, the Members who requested it may convene the Extraordinary General Meeting themselves. As a last resort, the Members may request assistance from TTFA.”
I must, firstly, point to the fact that one of the signatories, Perseverance FC, is not a member of the TT Super League as they never fulfilled the basic membership requirements offered to them—i.e. purchase of a share in TTSL Limited—nor did they participate in the League’s 2018 season.
Secondly, since the submission of the petition via email, three clubs have submitted written communication to the League Secretariat rescinding their support for the document and its content. These clubs are Erin FC, San Fernando Giants FC, and WASA FC.
Indeed, one of these three clubs has even described the handling of the petition and the securing of signatures ‘by a TTSL member’ as ‘fraud and deceit’.
Thirdly, three clubs on whose behalf persons signed, Central 500 FC, Siparia Spurs FC, and Youth Stars FC, are non-compliant members of TTFA, without the right to participate in TTFA/TTSL business, unless and until they are deemed to be compliant by the TTFA General Meeting.
We are guided in this by TTFA’s Constitution (2015), which states:
“A suspended Member shall lose its Membership rights. Other Members may not entertain sporting contact with a suspended Member.”
By directive of the TTFA Annual General Meeting of 31 March 2018, the TTFA Board of Directors provisionally suspended all TTFA members which had not submitted 2016 compliance documentation, with a recommendation for expulsion. At the 2018 AGM meeting of 21 April 2018, which addressed the status of all non-compliant members, it was decided to offer each club special conditions to redeem their compliant status.
Nothing further has developed in this matter. Therefore, these three clubs are still held to be non-compliant with all rights suspended, according to Article 14.3 of the TTFA Constitution. Indeed, the latest document on TTFA compliance issued by the TTFA Secretariat indicates that these three clubs, in addition to being 2016 non-compliant, are also deemed to be 2017 non-compliant.
Further, TTSL’s By Laws (2017) [under article 5.4. Application for Membership and Relegation from Membership] state:
“5.4(3). Any legal entity or person wishing to become a Member shall apply in writing to the Company Secretariat. The application must be accompanied by the following mandatory items:
a. a copy of its legally valid constitution and regulations, which shall comply with the requirements of the TTSL by laws; b. a declaration that it will always comply with the Statutes, regulations and decisions of FIFA, CONCACAF, CFU and TTFA, and ensure that these are also respected by its own members, officials.”
By agreement with 5.4.3.b. of our by Laws—and the regulations of TTFA membership compliance—all TTSL members agree to abide by decisions of TTFA, and cannot refuse to do so by reference to their membership in TTSL.
Given all of the above, in actuality, the petition in question is supported by only eight (8) clubs and thus does not meet the majority (‘more than fifty percent’) threshold set by TTSL’s By Laws.
Under these circumstances, the TTSL Board of Directors cannot call an Extraordinary General Meeting.