If Fifa wants to defend its implementation of a normalisation committee in Trinidad and Tobago, the world governing body will have to do so in the Port of Spain High Court.
Today, Justice Carol Gobin dismissed Fifa’s application to move its case with Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president William Wallace and his vice-presidents to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and also refused to stay proceedings between the two parties.
Justice Gobin also ordered Fifa to pay the TTFA’s legal costs.
The result is arguably a vindication of Wallace’s decision and that of his vice-presidents Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Sam Phillip to leave the CAS. However, it might come at a cost. Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura warned previously that Fifa will not continue with the case, should the TTFA win at this stage, and will instead implement sanctions.
Fifa statutes give the world governing body the authority to suspend the TTFA from all international competition and/or impose sanctions on the officials who launched legal proceedings.
The TTFA is represented legally by Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle, Jason Jones and Crystal Paul of the New City Chambers.
Fifa was represented in the unsuccessful High Court action by attorneys Christopher Hamel-Smith SC, Jonathan Walker and Cherie Gopie from M Hamel-Smith and Co.
The decision by the Port of Spain High Court further dents the credibility of Fifa’s normalisation committee in the twin island republic, which is headed by Robert Hadad and also includes deputy chairperson Judy Daniel and ordinary member Nigel Romano.
The Fifa Bureau of the Council announced a normalisation committee in Trinidad and Tobago on 17 March—a decision that immediately annulled the election of Wallace and his vice-presidents just four months earlier.
Fifa said its decision was based on concerns regarding the financial management of the local football body, although Wallace countered that the move was politically motivated.
Editor’s Note: Click HERE for more details on Madame Justice Carol Gobin’s ruling against Fifa.