World governing football body, Fifa, has dismissed William Wallace’s claim that he is still Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president and reiterated its stance that businessman Robert Hadad, the head of a Fifa-appointed normalisation committee, is its man of business in the twin island republic.
Fifa’s missive, which was emailed by secretary general Fatma Samoura to Hadad and copied to Concacaf and the Ministry of National Security, was in response to Wallace’s letter yesterday.
Wallace, who was elected football president on 24 November 2019, expressed ‘concern’ that the government negotiated with Hadad rather than him for use of the TTFA’s Home of Football facility in Couva, to house Covid-19 patients.
Although Fifa declared that Wallace’s reign was over on 17 March—just four months into his four year term—due to the local body’s unwieldy debt, the TTFA constitution does not permit anyone but its own members to remove a sitting president.
The TTFA was formed by an act of Parliament in 1982 while its constitution was ratified by Fifa in July 2015.
At present, the TTFA and Fifa are due to take their dispute to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Fifa is based in Zurich, Switzerland.
However, Fifa made it clear that it does not recognise Wallace’s claim to the country’s top football post.
“It has come to our attention that a letter dated 16 April 2020 from Mr William Wallace was addressed to the Trinidad and Tobago Minister of National Security Mr Stewart (sic) Young,” stated Samoura. “The letter seems to allege that Mr William Wallace, Mr Clynt Taylor, Mrs Susan Joseph Warrick (sic) and Mr Joseph Sam Phillip continue to be members of the executive committee of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) and that the normalisation committee led by Mr Robert Hadad has no legal or other standing in Trinidad and Tobago.
“In this context, we draw your attention to the fact that, on 17 March 2020, the Bureau of the Fifa Council decided, in accordance with article 8 paragraph 2 of the Fifa statutes to appoint a normalisation committee at the TTFA.”
Article 8.2 for the Fifa statutes states: ‘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’.
And, despite the will of the local football electorate, Fifa has opted to entrust the responsibility of the TTFA to Hadad, a 53-year-old businessman and co-CEO of family-owned company, Hadco. Hadad is also a member of the Queen’s Park Cricket Club (QPCC) and a board member of the International School in Port of Spain.
The remaining normalisation committee members named so far are Judy Daniel and Nigel L Romano.
The mandate of the 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.
“We want to highlight that the only legitimate leadership of the TTFA, recognised by Fifa and Concacaf, is the one led by Mr Robert Hadad,” stated the Fifa secretary general. “Having said this, any type of discussion regarding the use of Home of Football or any other football-related topic should be handled with Mr Robert Hadad.”
Wired868 could not reach Wallace for comment. However, TTFA board member and technical committee chairman Keith Look Loy said he was not surprised by Fifa’s stance.
“That is expected [because] this is the position of the two parties to this case,” said Look Loy. “Wallace is saying according to the law and constitution of the TTFA, Fifa cannot remove it—nobody but the membership can remove that administration. The letter that [Wallace and his vice-presidents] sent [to the National Security Ministry] reflects that.
“The letter sent by Fifa reflects their fiction that they could remove whomever they want and put in who they want in place, never mind the laws of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association; and CAS will settle it.”
Look Loy stressed that Wallace’s stance is a legal one, based on the constitution of the TTFA, which was approved by Fifa.
“Might I add again that the TTFA constitution was approved by Fifa,” said Look Loy, “and the only way you can become an officer of the TTFA is by vote of the general council; and that is the only way you can be removed.”
Hadad declined the opportunity to weigh in on the impasse.
“The [Fifa] letter speaks for itself,” he said.