Normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad has fired back at Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) William Wallace over his use of the local football body’s letterhead today, as confusion continues to engulf the sport here.
This morning, Wallace sent a letter to the TTFA’s 37-odd technical staff members and dozen office employees, which attempted to update them on salary payments that were between two to four months overdue.
“[…] For your peace of mind in these difficult times, I am writing to confirm that as soon as I am notified by the general secretary [Ramesh Ramdhan] and/or First Citizens Bank,” stated Wallace, “of the receipt of the monies from Fifa, I will take the necessary steps to ensure you are paid as owed.”
The release was penned on the TTFA’s letterhead and was signed by Wallace as ‘President TTFA’.
On 17 March, Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura announced that the world governing body had removed Wallace and his body, with immediate effect, according to article 8.2 of its statutes. And, on 27 March, Fifa appointed Robert Hadad, a 53-year-old business, to replace him as head of the normalisation committee.
This evening, Hadad attempted to show Wallace who was boss, via a press statement published on the TTFA’s website:
“It has come to our attention that letters are circulating in the public domain on the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (‘TTFA’) letterhead, which were issued by the president of the executive of the TTFA that was removed by Fifa in accordance with Fifa statutes.
“This is to reaffirm that the normalisation committee was appointed by Fifa on 17 March 2020 to, among other things, run the daily affairs of TTFA. We are committed to carrying out our mandate and to bring back a sense of normalcy to the operations of the TTFA. We remain committed to this task and remain undaunted in the face of these unnecessary distractions.
“However, we wish to make it abundantly clear that at the present time no other persons are authorised to act on behalf of the TTFA. We trust that good sense will prevail to prevent an escalation of this matter but we are nevertheless in discussions with our attorneys to determine the best way to prevent the continuance of such unauthorised action.”
At present, Wallace is appealing Fifa’s decision to oust him in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland. However, CAS has not yet selected arbitrators or set a date for the hearing.
Notably, Wallace is approaching CAS as ‘TTFA president’ and not in his private capacity while Hadad has still not been able to wrest control of the local football body’s account at First Citizens Bank.
But Minister of Sport Shamfa Cudjoe and Minister of National Security Stuart Young have already recognised Hadad as the head of the local game while TTFA general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan and press manager Shaun Fuentes are also following his instructions.
On Wednesday night, Hadad will also meet the TTFA’s coaches for the first time via Zoom.
At present, the TTFA is due US$500,000 (TT$3.4 million) from Fifa ‘in the coming days’ and a further US$2 million (TT$13.5 million) shortly thereafter, which represents their total annual entitlement.
But Fifa has stalled on paying while Wallace controls the local body’s bank accounts and Hadad has so far been unable to satisfy First Citizens that his appointment letter gives him the authority that Fifa claims.
The TTFA is formed by an act of Parliament and its constitution, which was ratified by Fifa, states that its elected members can only be removed by its own membership.