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TTFA members call EGM to ‘withdraw’ Fifa case; Look Loy vows to boycott ‘illegal event’

Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad has scheduled an extraordinary general meeting on 15 September for the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s (TTFA) 47 member delegates, in the first significant response by local stakeholders to the impasse between the TTFA’s elected officers and Fifa.

Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura vowed, last month, to initiate the process for sanctions against the TTFA, if besieged president William Wallace—who Fifa insists was replaced by its normalisation committee in March—does not withdraw a High Court case against his removal by 16 September.

Photo: (From left) TTFA vice-president Susan Joseph-Warrick, president William Wallace, general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan and press manager Shaun Fuentes.
(via TTFA Media)

On 13 August, High Court Judge Carol Gobin ruled that Wallace remains the recognised head of the TTFA and dismissed Fifa’s request for his case to be dismissed or moved to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Fifa is challenging Justice Gobin’s decision, with the appeal date set for 19 October. However, the global football body, headed by president Gianni Infantino, wants Wallace to fall on his own sword, despite the High Court ruling, and threatened action against the TTFA in the interim—even as the two bodies remain locked in court.

The EGM appears to be a last ditch effort by some local football delegates to convince Wallace to respect Infantino’s wishes.

The TTFA Constitution allows for members to suspend its president via an accord by two-thirds of its members at an EGM, convened by its board of directors. Fifa replaced the TTFA board with a normalisation committee in March, although it is a decision without legal effect outside of Zurich, Switzerland.

Either way, an EGM for the purpose of suspending or expelling the TTFA’s elected officers requires at least 30 days’ notice. So, members opposed to the court action decided to use the only option was available to them within the time frame.

Photo: Then SSFL president William Wallace (centre) prepares to hand over the 2019 Premier Division trophy to Naparima College at CIC grounds on 4 November 2019.
Wallace was elected TTFA president on 24 November 2019.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

“There is a specific time frame to remove a president using an EGM,” said Eastern Football Association (EFA) president Kieron Edwards, “but with this course of action, a meeting can be held within 10 days.”

The delay in the request for an EGM, according to one football delegate, was supposedly due to a misunderstanding over what was at stake in the court case.

“The membership only had an issue when, after the court ruling they realised the matter could lead to the TTFA being banned,” said one delegate, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “[…] All the time William Wallace was saying the matter was between him and Fifa and he would stand the consequences; and now we are understanding it is the TTFA versus Fifa and it is the country that will stand the consequences.

“And that is when we [decided to] act.”

Nine of the 10 Pro League Clubs, the largest voting bloc within the TTFA, supported the EGM, with Point Fortin Civic as the only absentee. There was support from all three representatives from the EFA and Eastern Counties bodies too, along with the T&T Beach Soccer Association and Veterans Football Foundation.

TTFA David John-Williams W Connection Renee John-Williams
Photo: Then TTFA president and W Connection owner David John-Williams (left) presents the winning cheque to his daughter and Connection director Renee John-Williams after their FA Trophy final win over Police FC at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 8 December 2017.
Renee is one of the signatories for the EGM.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

However, there were no signatures from the Tobago Football Association (TFA), Northern Football Association (NFA), T&T Football Referees Association (TTFRA), Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL), Primary Schools Association or TTAYSO.

From nine Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) delegates, there were three signatures: RSSR FC, Club Sando FC and QPCC.

TTSL president Keith Look Loy, who is a member of the United TTFA slate that successfully contested the last election and is behind the Fifa court case, said neither he nor his club, FC Santa Rosa, will attend an ‘illegal event’.

“Under the constitution of the TTFA, which has not been suspended, Hadad and the normalisation committee do not exist and Hadad has no authority to call any meeting in TTFA,” Look Loy told Wired868. “Moreover, they called on the normalisation committee to call a meeting to recognise the normalisation committee. Does that make sense?

“Additionally, at least one signatory to that petition was unauthorised. I speak for FC Santa Rosa when I say that the club will not legalise this illegal event by participating.”

Photo: FC Santa Rosa president and technical director Keith Look Loy (far right) looks on during Ascension Invitational action against Guaya Utd at the Arima Velodrome on 23 August 2019.
Look Loy is also the TTSL president and the TTFA technical committee chairman.
(Copyright Nicholas Bhajan/CA-Images/Wired868)

Look Loy said he was informed that Christine Rose was not authorised to vote on behalf of WoLF, while QPCC’s signatory, Matthew Leach, did not understand what he signed. That was partially correct, at best.

WoLF president Susan Joseph-Warrick, who is a TTFA vice-president and party to the legal matter against Fifa, said Rose was authorised to sign on behalf of the body. However, she criticised Rose, the WoLF treasurer, for failing to ‘consult’ with her colleagues.

“We need to consult with our membership for serious matters like this,” said Joseph-Warrick. “And this is something I am hearing through the back door. As far as I know, this was not discussed at membership or executive level.”

Leach’s view is that QPCC does not consider itself to be against Wallace. However, the ‘Parkites’ are certainly against the risk of Fifa suspension.

“Queen’s Park’s only position is that we would like to discontinue any litigation against Fifa,” said Leach. “And if the only way is to have an EGM to facilitate a conversation with the United TTFA, then that is our course of action.”

Photo: QPCC midfielder Logan Maingot (right) runs at the San Juan Jabloteh defence during the RBNYL Under-11 final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 1 July 2017.
QPCC won 5-4 via kicks from the penalty spot.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)

Wired868 asked Look Loy if he would still boycott the EGM, if the signatures were deemed valid. He said he would.

“FC Santa Rosa and others who will speak for themselves will not attend this illegal event,” said Look Loy.

Wallace is keeping his own options open.

“I have no issue with membership exercising their right as per the constitution,” said Wallace. “Whether I attend or not would be decided in due course.”

On 27 August, Wallace failed to show at a stakeholders meeting chaired by Minister of Sport Shamfa Cudjoe and, a day after the meeting, informed the Ministry of Sport that: ‘based on legal advice, unfortunately, it would be inappropriate for us to meet with the minister at this point in time to have any discussions pertaining to a matter presently before our honourable courts’.

Photo: TTFA president William Wallace (right) and Sport Minister Shamfa Cudjoe (centre) present prizes during a schools football event put on by former football legend Steve David (second from left) in December 2019.
(via Ministry of Sport)

It is uncertain whether Wallace would use the same reasoning to skip the EGM, although the court case carries obvious ramifications for the football body that he still heads; or how members will respond to his next move.

The TTFA Constitution lists the president as its ‘legal officer’, which allows Wallace—like his predecessors—to unilaterally represent the football body. However, it is a controversial clause that provoked ire when used by Wallace’s predecessors without the knowledge of the board.

Of course, Wallace and his team point out that, unlike previous administrations, they are not using TTFA funds for their battle which is simply about making a principled stance against their unjust removals.

Since the 15 September EGM cannot legally remove Wallace, the only hope from concerned stakeholders is that he can be swayed through moral persuasion, magnified by their numbers.

Edwards, who said a normalisation committee is long overdue in local football to ‘fix the wrongs’ of the past, said the onus ought to be on Wallace now to show what the TTFA has to gain from the legal fight with Fifa.

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino.

“They need to state what happens next if we are banned and they are in charge,” said Edwards. “How are coaches going to be paid? How is football going to be run? How are programmes going to happen?

“The normal entry back into football after you are banned is through a normalisation committee: will we accept one then?”

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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4 comments

  1. “Since the 15 September EGM cannot legally remove Wallace, the only hope from concerned stakeholders is that he can be swayed through moral persuasion, magnified by their numbers.” ….and pray tell, what morality is that?

    Here’s the thing though…if the FIFA President, the FIFA Emergency Committee or even the FIFA Council could ban the TTFA in this case, they would have done it already :-), they don’t have the legal or moral authority to carry out injustice.

    So their game is to posture and create the illusion that the members (National Associations) of FIFA are willing to commit this injustice while their hands (President & Council) are clean…..nice racket eh?

    They need votes in the FIFA congress before hand to carry out this bluff against Wallace and force him to give up his rights because FIFA can’t unilaterally suspend the Constitution of Trinidad & Tobago. It’s just amazing to any onlooker that The Trinidadian Government does not provide clarity in this situation. But Crabs and Barrels are not unique to any particular Nation, Creed, Race, Political Movement or Class. “Politics has its own morality” 🙂

    Hadad is being coached by FIFA, and his game to get the the Members of the TTFA into a meeting to justify his vote before the FIFA Congress (as part of the illusion), to suspend his fellow Trinidadians from the Football at the behest of some unseen hand. The FIFA President, Council and Emergency Committee will have clean hands because a Trinidadian Businessman with no experience in FIFA politics is eager to hold the bloody knife. Nice work if you can get it?

    The other Caribbean Presidents are being used in the same way and maybe CARICOM should have a say…maybe that’s wishful thinking…like I said, Crabs and Barrels…

    This thing need a Calypso…but it look like Wallace have to die first, or surrender their dignity, before his people can support him.

    Mr. Hadad, on the other hand, could spare both Nation and Region the trouble with his resignation, because he is a citizen of Trinidad & Tobago first…..I think?

    Bless you all

  2. The fact is that Beach, Futsal, ECFU, SFA, and VFOTT don’t have ten members among them. These are PAPER organizations that speak for the people that hold office in them, but they collectively have TEN delegates. Jokes. This is gratuitous insult added to my constitutional objection. I ain’t attending ANY meeting they call via a mocking pretender.

  3. Earl Best

    “…they called on the normalisation committee to call a meeting to recognise the normalisation committee. Does that make sense?”

    It does not have to make sense, Keith; we’re talking big dollars here, not mere cents. Intangibles and abstracts count for nothing in a wiifm world.

    But don’t take my word for it. Consider this piece of evidence yourself:

    “…the onus ought to be on Wallace now to show what the TTFA has to gain from the legal fight with Fifa.

    “(…) if we are banned and they are in charge (…) How are coaches going to be paid? How is football going to be run? How are programmes going to happen?”

    How do you argue principles against that kind of myopic, materialistic pragmatism?

    • They are corrupt greedy fools Mr best…
      I not being as nice as you… This is so much dotishness it ain’t funny….
      And the minister of sport, who is responsible for govt policy, is simply incompetent to address this serious matter… How could you supervise a sport where an international body is dictating to you that you should disobey your own courts… How ms cudjoe… Eh how????!
      And what about Mr hadad… He knows nothing about the rules for disbursing fifa funds, but fifa put him to manage a situation where fifa funds was mismanaged… I have never felt more ashamed of our country… Ms cudjoe, Mr Hadad, and DJW are just amazingly failing this country… And to all you so called lovers of football in this country that jumping out yourself because fifa want to impose an illegal ban on your country… Check the life lesson you giving to the young footballers that you claim to care about… You NOT making sense… Smh