Normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad appears to have erred in his announcement of an extraordinary general meeting on 15 September, which was called to address possible Fifa sanctions against the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA)—due to an ongoing legal case by the TTFA’s elected officers.
Fifa gave TTFA president William Wallace and his United TTFA slate until 16 September to withdraw its court case and members responded by requesting an extraordinary general meeting, which aims to draw a line under the matter.
The problem, according to Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association (TTFRA) vice-president Osmond Downer—one of the framers of the TTFA’s Constitution—is that three from the 25 signatories on the list are not accredited delegates.
“Article 29.2 of the TTFA Constitution requires that the persons who have signed the list requesting the EGM must be accredited delegates to the General Meeting of the TTFA,” stated Downer, in a letter to Hadad that was copied to the media, “at the time the request letter was signed on or before 3 September 2020…”
The last TTFA general meeting was on 24 November 2019 and the only members to properly inform the local body of a change in delegates since then was the Eastern Football Association (EFA), which replaced Brian Joseph, Dharia Nelson-Seales and Clinton Lewis with Ansil Elcock, Charley David and Keyon Edwards.
However, in the letter requesting the EGM, the delegates for Pro League teams AC Port of Spain and San Juan Jabloteh as well as Super League outfit Club Sando FC were changed—with Ryan Nunes, Jerry Hospedales and Derek Lange replacing Michael Awai, Phillip Fraser and Steve Gopeesingh respectively.
It means Hadad’s petition had 22 proper signatures, when it needed at least 24.
The TTFA Constitution mandates that members need at least 10 days notice before an EGM can be called. So, even if the clubs fix the problem, they cannot hold the meeting until 18 September at the earliest—which is two days after the Fifa deadline.
Downer chided Hadad too on his failure to inform the TTFA’s member associations of the apparent suspension of general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan.
“Fifa did not suspend the constitution of the TTFA,” stated Downer. “Neither did Fifa remove the general secretary… The word is that the TTFA GS has been suspended by the chairman of the local NC.
“If this is true then the member associations of the TTFA—the real employers of the GS—most certainly, should have been informed of such a move and the reasons for such.”
Hadad, who is employed by Fifa and has never held a recognised role within the local game, supposedly told employees that he often leans on controversial former TTFA president David John-Williams and interim Pro League chairman Brent Sancho for counsel on football matters.
Last week, national football coaches were perplexed when normalisation committee members suggested that Fifa Forward money had to be used to meet some of the association’s long-standing debts, and there may not be enough left to cover their salaries.
Committee members also expressed surprise that the coaches’ contracts—Soca Warriors head coach Terry Fenwick approved—were all board approved with minutes to support it.
Coaches had to explain to Hadad and his colleagues, who included vice-chair Judy Daniel and Nigel Romano, that Fifa Forward money could only be used to cover operating costs, which included the salaries of coaches.
Downer suggested that Hadad’s ignorance of the constitution might have cost the normalisation committee its last chance to formally address the United TTFA’s court case before Fifa’s deadline.
Hadad, as usual, could not be reached for comment.
The following is the full statement from TTFRA vice-president Osmond Downer to normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad, which was forwarded to the media:
I, as an accredited delegate to the general meeting of the TTFA, take this opportunity to accept the offer stated in the last sentence of the convocation letter for the [15 September] EGM, signed by Mr Robert Hadad, chairman of the normalisation committee (NC) instituted for the TTFA by Fifa, which invited any questions or comments from Members constituting the TTFA.
Let me make it clear from the start that I am not trying here to obstruct the convening of this EGM; but really to make sure that, after a large amount of time and energy is spent on holding this meeting, all decisions made at the meeting may not be declared null and void because of it not being convened in keeping with the constitution of the TTFA.
My first question is: why was the convocation letter for this EGM not signed by the duly constitutionally appointed general secretary of the TTFA—as has always been the accepted practice for all general meetings held for all the past very many years?
As stated in my last letter to you of 30 August, Fifa—in its letters of 17 and 27 March 2020—replaced only the executive (board of directors) of the TTFA by the NC.
Fifa did not suspend the constitution of the TTFA. Neither did Fifa remove the general secretary. In fact, as stated in my 30 August letter, I understand that Fifa, on the contrary, wrote the GS—after the installation of the NC—requesting him to work with and cooperate with the NC.
I understand also that, in the recent installation of a NC in neighbouring Guyana, Fifa appointed Mr Richard Groden from Trinidad and Tobago to be the secretary to the Guyana NC.
Could this be the reason why FIFA requested our GS to work with the NC as secretary to the committee?
The word is that the TTFA GS has been suspended by the chairman of the local NC. If this is true then the member associations of the TTFA—the real employers of the GS—most certainly, should have been informed of such a move and the reasons for such.
Now, for the request for the convening of the EGM. Article 29 of the TTFA Constitution is clear as to the protocol for requesting such an EGM: ‘… if a majority (more than 50%) of the accredited delegates to the General Meeting make such a request’.
Who are ‘accredited delegates’? We see that there are a total of 47 delegates. So, at least 24 are required to request an EGM.
Section 3 states ‘delegates must belong to the member that they represent and be appointed or elected by the appropriate body of that member’. No delegate appoints him or herself. (Note also ‘on an annual basis’.) The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of the word delegate is ‘a person who represents others and acts according to their instructions’.
Usually the member associations of the TTFA select their delegates in time for the elective Annual General Meeting, where the members of the board of directors for the next four year term are selected.
These delegates usually remain appointed for the whole of the four year term, but delegates can be replaced for any general meeting convened during the four year term, with appropriate letters to the TTFA’s secretariat from their member associations.
Now, let us look at the situation concerning the EGM to be convened on September 15—[based on] the minutes of the 2019 AGM. The named delegates for this AGM were appointed for that elective AGM.
They remain the accredited delegates until they have been changed by their member associations in keeping with Article 22.3, and such changes must be communicated in writing in to the secretariat of the TTFA.
My reliable information is that only one of the members of the TTFA has written to the TTFA Secretariat informing earlier this year about the change of officers and accredited delegates to the general meetings. That member is the Eastern Football Association (EFATT).
Article 29.2 of the TTFA Constitution requires that the persons who have signed the list requesting the EGM must be accredited delegates to the General Meeting of the TTFA at the time the request letter was signed on or before 3 September 2020.
Twenty-five persons have signed the list requesting the EGM. My careful study of the list of persons who have requested the EGM in their letter of 3 September, and of the list of accredited delegates to the 2019 AGM, has revealed the following:
TTPL: For AC Port of Spain, Mr Ryan Nunes has replaced Mr Michael Awai; and for San Juan Jabloteh, Mr Jerry Hospedales has replaced Mr Phillip Fraser.
TTSL: For Club Sando FC, one Mr Lange has replaced Mr Steve Gopeesingh.
Finally, I would like to draw the attention of members to Article 14.4 of the constitution which states: ‘Members that do not participate in activities of TTFA (eg sporting activities) for two consecutive years shall automatically be suspended from voting at the General Meeting’.
Hoping that the above statements are treated with the seriousness that they deserve.