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Fifa appoints normalisation committee in T&T, Wallace and VPs removed after three months

Fifa has disbanded the Board of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) with immediate effect and will appoint a normalisation committee on the island. The decision was made today by the Bureau of the Fifa Council in accordance with article 8.2 of the Fifa Statutes.

Article 8.2 states simply that: ‘Executive bodies of member associations may under exceptional circumstances be removed from office by the Council in consultation with the relevant confederation and replaced by a normalisation committee for a specific period of time.’

Photo: FIFA president Gianni Infantino struts at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva during an exhibition match on 10 April 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

According to the Fifa website, the decision to disband the TTFA’s Board ‘follows the recent FIFA/Concacaf fact-finding mission to Trinidad and Tobago to assess, together with an independent auditor, the financial situation of TTFA’.

Fifa claimed that: ‘the mission found that extremely low overall financial management methods, combined with a massive debt, have resulted in the TTFA facing a very real risk of insolvency and illiquidity. Such a situation is putting at risk the organisation and development of football in the country and corrective measures need to be applied urgently.’

Ironically, TTFA president William Wallace previously stated that the fact-finding mission had gone well and Fifa and Concacaf officials expressed satisfaction with the financial structure that was about to be implemented by the local football body, on the guidance of auditor Robert Reis and financial consultant Kendall Tull.

The Fifa Bureau emphatically disagreed with Wallace’s suggestion today.

The normalisation committee, according to the Fifa statement, will be composed of an adequate number of members to be identified by the FIFA administration, in consultation with Concacaf. In line with the Fifa Governance Regulations, all members of the normalisation committee will be subject to an eligibility check.

Photo: (From left to right) Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Terry Fenwick, Caribbean Chemicals chairman Joe Pires and TTFA president William Wallace.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

The mandate of the normalisation committee is:

  • to run the TTFA’s daily affairs;
  • to establish a debt repayment plan that is implementable by the TTFA;
  • to review and amend the TTFA Statutes (and other regulations where necessary) and to ensure their compliance with the Fifa Statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress;
  • to organise and to conduct elections of a new TTFA executive committee for a four-year mandate.

The normalisation committee will act as an electoral committee, and none of its members will be eligible for any of the open positions at the upcoming TTFA elections under any circumstances. The specified period of time during which the normalisation committee will perform its functions will expire as soon as it has fulfilled all of its assigned tasks—but it has a limit of 24 months after the official appointment of members by Fifa.

Trinidad and Tobago has never been subject to a normalisation committee before, even during the scandalous fall from grace of ex-Fifa vice-president and TTFA special advisor Jack Warner.

Photo: FIFA president Gianni Infantino (right) and TTFA president David John-Williams at a press conference at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 10 April 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

The decision means that Wallace and his team of vice-presidents Clynt Taylor, Sharon Joseph-Warrick and Sam Phillip managed just over three months in office.

Wallace and general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan did not respond for requests for comments on the unprecedented development. And technical committee chairman Keith Look Loy, who was an influential member of the United TTFA slate that won the last election, said he would only speak after the seemingly outgoing president.

“I have taken a decision to let Wallace talk first,” said Look Loy. “He is the president [and] nobody has written to me. I will have a mouthful to say but I am letting the president of the TTFA speak first.”

Ironically, the TTFA’s debts stood at TT$16 million at the end of the late Raymond Tim Kee’s term in office and were upwards of TT$50 million when David John-Williams was replaced at the helm last November.

At present, the football body’s bank accounts are frozen. But that situation is due to change within days after the high court yesterday ruled that former TTFA employee Kendall Walkes can empty the accounts of his former employer. The TTFA will regain control of its accounts before the end of the week.

Photo: TTFA finance officer Tyril Patrick (right) poses with Fifa president Gianni Infantino during the opening of the TTFA Home of Football on 18 November 2019.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTFA Media)

Fifa president Gianni Infantino and Concacaf president Victor Montagliani were both supported by John-Williams en route to office and were regular visitors to Trinidad over the past four years.

At a press conference two weeks ago, Wallace revealed that Montagliani admitted to attempting to help John-Williams win the last TTFA election. He wrote to sportswear giants, Nike, in a move that poked holes in a pre-election promise made by Wallace but the infamous Nike letter failed to sway voters who elected Wallace as president on 24 November 2019.

Now Fifa and Concacaf have removed Wallace anyway.

Editor’s Note: Fifa has placed TTFA finance manager, Tyril Patrick, in charge of the TTFA until a normalisation committee can be appointed. Patrick was the target of a board investigation for alleged ‘failure to abide by his fiduciary duties’ during the financial mismanagement of the David John-Williams era.

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About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and 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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4 comments

  1. FIFA corruption will never end. Why they did not implement this during the last corrupt administration? Do they want to bring back their friend John-Williams who is responsible for the financial situation of the TTFA?

  2. I think it is extremely unfortunate that this team is penalised for what what went wrong in the past. I am wondering why fifa didn’t act with this kind of urgency before when the unfprtunate actions were being perpetrated.

  3. We needed this.