“[…] Some opposed to our resistance to Fifa talk about our supposed endangerment of ‘the youth’. But, in effect, their moaning merely teaches youth, by example, the abandonment of democracy, principle, justice, and fair play, for the prevalent values of our national intellectual and spiritual life: hypocrisy, cowardice, self interest, and convenience. It sickens me to my stomach.
“[…] It is a rich irony that the powers that be in Zurich—those who pretend to preach to us of ‘good governance’—are today embroiled in another tragicomedy of their own making, regarding illegal meetings with the Swiss attorney general and the perversion of the course of Swiss justice in cases involving Fifa. The world is not as blind as some of us here are…”
The following letter to the editor on United TTFA’s defiance of a Fifa order to implement a normalisation committee in Trinidad and Tobago, was submitted by TTFA Technical Committee chairman and Board member, Keith Look Loy:
“This is a matter of principle—not a matter of getting banned or not getting banned. Everybody in the world has a right to seek justice. If that is not the case, then something is wrong somewhere.”
These words from Mr Osmond Downer crystallise the central idea that has propelled United TTFA’s rejection of FIFA’s illegal attempt to remove the democratically elected leadership of the Association.
There are sacrosanct principles involved here—not the least of which are national sovereignty and democracy.
Some opposed to our resistance to Fifa talk about our supposed endangerment of ‘the youth’. But, in effect, their moaning merely teaches youth, by example, the abandonment of democracy, principle, justice, and fair play, for the prevalent values of our national intellectual and spiritual life: hypocrisy, cowardice, self interest, and convenience. It sickens me to my stomach.
The president of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, Brian Lewis, has given immaculate focus to the other critical point in all of this—Fifa’s brutal abandonment of all norms of civilised judicial process and justice. And I quote him:
“Fifa has the power, by virtue of their statues, to appoint a normalisation committee. The exercise of that right can’t be unfettered. It’s not a right to act in an arbitrary, illogical manner devoid of equitable treatment, rule of law and principles, without due process and natural justice; or to act unreasonably.”
Lewis is a highly experienced international sport administrator, and he has no dog in the fight. For him to publicly issue such a ringing condemnation of Fifa’s behaviour is remarkable, and is an indictment of Zurich’s barbaric handling of the TTFA.
There is no rational explanation of this behaviour to be found in Fifa’s regulations. There is no explanation other than that advanced by United TTFA—that is, Fifa is seeking the overthrow of a legitimate TTFA administration in order to protect its guilt by complicity for consistently turning a blind eye and ear to the malpractice of former president David John-Williams and his cohorts.
I refer explicitly to the continued issuance of ‘bounced’ cheques, to the failure to pay millions in statutory deductions from employee salaries to state authorities, and to the financial imbroglio that is the Home of Football, which is two million in debt (as exposed by Mark Bassant of the Guardian Media), and on which almost TT$16 million was spent without contracts, purportedly in cash. Fifa has to cover this up.
It is a rich irony that the powers that be in Zurich—those who pretend to preach to us of ‘good governance’—are today embroiled in another tragicomedy of their own making, regarding illegal meetings with the Swiss attorney general and the perversion of the course of Swiss justice in cases involving Fifa.
The world is not as blind as some of us here are.
Mr Downer makes the valid point that Fifa’s so-called normalisation committee order seeks to remove only the democratically elected officers and not the TTFA Board and committee officials. I have known this all along but elected to await the judicial disposition of the case before making a decision on how I, personally, will proceed.
That is to say, if the democratically elected officers, the William Wallace-led administration, are triumphant, I will surely re-engage.
If they are not and Fifa prevails, I do not see myself working with the so-called normalisation committee as a committee chairman, quite frankly. I will not collaborate with usurpers of legitimate authority. I would also have to make a decision on my board membership, in which I would involve the Super League clubs I represent.
In the interim, team staff with whom I worked closely as technical committee chairman are reporting to me the fact that Dion La Foucade is approaching them with demands that way exceed his contracted portfolio as technical director.
Both nature and arbitrary arrangements like Fifa’s so-called normalisation committee abhor a vacuum, I suppose. So the good gentleman is filling the gap. My big regret though, is that Fifa’s mad cap scheme has arrested the significant and successful initiatives we had undertaken, in less than four months, to structure TTFA’s technical work in both development and competitions.
Now we hear of job cuts and salary reductions among staff appointed by the Wallace-led board, as the so called normalisation committee looks to apply its ‘business model’—despite the fact that the 2020 Fifa funding due by right to the TTFA will easily cover the cost of staff.
“Football should never be the accomplice of dictators.”
These words of Eric Cantona, from his television series ‘Football Rebels’, ring true, always, and should guide all of us.
What Fifa, and its local accomplices and supporters high and low, are attempting to do, is to kill democracy and to replace it with a cynical caricature of itself, which it will proclaim to be democratic and progressive. We would inhabit a poorer football world and a poorer nation if that goes unchallenged and succeeds.
We are a free and sovereign nation, and we are, each of us, born under a Godly injunction to resist injustice. And this little Trinidad and Tobago will stand against the Fifa Goliath in front of the entire world.