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Downer: Fate of TTFA NOT on Congress agenda; so Fifa can’t suspend T&T on 18 Sept

“[…] I have made inquiries about the deliberations of the last Fifa Council Meeting of about three weeks ago, and I have been reliably informed that the only matter that came up concerning the TTFA was the ratification of the Bureau’s decision to install the normalisation committee…”

The following is a release by TTFRA vice-president Osmond Downer, one of the framers of the TTFA Constitution, on the move to oust president William Wallace and vice-presidents Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Sam Phillip; and a possible suspension by Fifa:

Photo: TTFA president William Wallace poses during a staff photoshoot on 9 January 2020.
(via Allan V Crane/TTFA Media/CA-images)

Please allow me to comment on certain statements emanating from some stakeholders in football in the country concerning the request for an Extraordinary General Meeting of the TTFA to consider the removal of the officers of the TTFA.

[Those officers] were duly elected at the November 2019 AGM of the TTFA and are also expressing concerns about a possible suspension or expelling of the TTFA by Fifa, especially in light of Fifa’s recent letter calling on the elected officers to withdraw their matter from the local High Courts by 16 September, with the pending meeting of the FIFA Annual Congress on 18 September.

The stipulations for requesting an EGM are clearly stated in Article 29 of the TTFA’s Constitution: ‘More than 50% of the accredited delegates to the General Meeting (not of the members) must make the request in writing’.

Of course, with each Member Association or League submitting an official letter supporting the request with the names of its allotted delegates supporting the request. Of course also, all Member Associations or Leagues must be provided with a copy of the entire motion and its proposers, which is to be debated at the EGM.

Photo: Soca Warriors supporter Joey “Posh” Richardson (right) exchanges notes with some football fans during 2018 World Cup qualifying action against the United States on 17 November 2015.
The two nations played to a goalless draw.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

The composition of the General Meeting of the TTFA is stated in Article 22 of the Constitution. Note that the total number of delegates allotted is 47; therefore, a number of at least 24 of the accredited delegates is needed to request a valid EGM.

Now, let us deal with the requested dismissal of the elected officers. Again Article 38 of the TTFA’s Constitution is clear on this. Note paragraph two: ‘The motion for dismissal must be justified. It will be sent to the members of the [board of directors] and/or to the members along with the agenda’.

Note also paragraph three: ‘The person or body in question has the right to defend him/herself’. Also paragraph four: ‘The motion for dismissal shall be decided by means of secret ballot. For the motion to be passed, a majority of three quarters of the valid votes is required’.

How are we to achieve secret balloting in a virtual meeting in these Covid-19 times?

Finally here, note that the Fifa letter installing the normalisation committee has removed only the executive (board of directors) of the TTFA and replaced it with the normalisation committee.

Photo: Businessman Robert Hadad was appointed by Fifa as head of a normalisation committee in Trinidad and Tobago.

Fifa has not suspended the Constitution of the TTFA. Also Fifa has not abolished the standing committees that were constitutionally created by the BOD before the advent of the normalisation committee.

Also to my knowledge, Fifa has not removed the general secretary from his post. I have been reliably informed that Fifa wrote to the general secretary, after the establishment of the normalisation committee, requesting that the general secretary cooperate with the normalisation committee.

I shall not deal here with the merits or demerits of Fifa’s removal of the TTFA’s Executive and its replacement with the normalisation committee. This matter is now before the highest courts of the country and may very well be sub judice.

Now, a look at the hysteria surrounding the possible suspension or expulsion of the TTFA at the upcoming Fifa Annual Ordinary Congress on 18 September.

First, look at the agenda for the Annual Congress. Yes, there is an item (f) on the agenda: Suspension or expulsion of a member (if applicable). This item is standard for all Annual Congresses.

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino.

Contact has been made with Caribbean Colleagues who will be attending the September 18 Congress and I have been informed that the mandatory agenda and accompanying documents sent to them have all made no mention whatsoever of any motion to suspend or expel the TTFA.

The motion to suspend or expel a member can be put before the Annual Congress only by the Council of FIFA—by no other body or person. I have made inquiries about the deliberations of the last Fifa Council Meeting of about three weeks ago, and I have been reliably informed that the only matter that came up concerning the TTFA was the ratification of the Bureau’s decision to install the normalisation committee.

No decision was taken to recommend the expulsion or suspension of the TTFA to the Congress.

Editor’s Note: Fifa president Gianni Infantino cannot put the possible suspension of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) on the agenda in time for the 18 September Fifa Congress.

However, Infantino can call a meeting of the seven-member Bureau of the Fifa Council at any time. Article 38.1 states: ‘The Bureau of the Council shall deal with all matters within the competence of the Council requiring immediate decision between two meetings of the Council’. 

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino (left) and secretary general Fatma Samoura.

As such, Fifa can temporarily suspend the TTFA through its Bureau of the Council and the local body will remain suspended until the Council—and ultimately the Congress—meets to decide whether to accept or revoke the Bureau’s decision.

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  1. I am not too familiar with local football politics but it can’t be a coincident that after the TTFA president and chief campaigner for the FIFA boss get the ‘boot’ , the said boss intervenes in an attempt to ‘clean up’ local football in the mids of the newTTFA administration’s own attempts at correcting some of these said ills that were hamstringing local football. This stinks to the high heaven and from earlier comments this seems like just the tip of the iceberg. In the meantime local football is slowly being decimated. Quite interesting. Wasn”t it that same FIFA boss who recently was being investigated by a high ranking Swiss agency over a matter involving a government official? VERY INTERESTING!!!

  2. Wired, I am concerned about the local pressure being placed upon the Wallace team by some journalists and footballers officials who have proven to be in the DJW camp.
    What is important I think is the root of this matter, the Normalization Committee. I am suspicious of the formation of the committee by FIFA so soon after their candidate DJW was ousted.
    Therefore, I am strongly urging you and others to conduct an investigation into who is linked with Mr. Hadad here who would have put forward his name fo FIFA.
    This is because he is not known to have been active or prominent in local football and so his name had to be submitted by someone locally who has ties to FIFA.
    Let us connect the dots to see where this leads. Please, it is important to ensure that this is above board and we are not being played for fools by FIFA and possibly DJW

    • What is astonishing about this entire issue is how easily persons are blinded by the obvious, and this signals deep deep roots corruption.
      So all these people against Wallace, including the minister, doesn’t know that DJW owns a construction firm, and that DJW was not transparent in his dealings with the TTFA and the public when building the home for football, and that is why he lost the election??????