Hadad claims proof to support controversial EGM; club owner says otherwise, Downer scoffs

Gems at Lajoya

Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad intends to push on with a Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) Extraordinary General Meeting on 15 September, despite several constitutional issues about the conclave—including whether a requisite number of delegates supported the meeting.

Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association (TTFRA) vice-president Osmond Downer pointed out that three of the 25 signatures on the petition requesting an EGM might have been invalid, since the respective member bodies appeared to have not officially appointed them to act on their behalf.

Photo: San Juan Jabloteh chairman Jerry Hospedales looks on from the sidelines as his team hosts Prisons FC during Ascension Invitational action at Bourg Mulatresse on 18 August 2019.
Normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad claimed Hospedales informed him in writing before replacing Phillip Fraser as his team’s delegate.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images-Wired868)

The EGM is meant to recognise the authority of the normalisation committee and distance the local football body from legal action taken against Fifa by TTFA president William Wallace and vice-presidents Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Sam Phillip.

The constitution stipulates that 51 percent of the delegates must request an EGM, which means it requires at least 24 valid signatures.

Hadad responded today with an email which stated: ‘It should be noted that at least three TTFA members communicated to the TTFA, in writing, of changes to member delegates—prior to the TTFA normalisation committee receiving the request by the member delegates to convene the EGM’.

Hadad’s claim appeared to be wrong for two reasons. First, one club owner suggested that it was untrue.

The owner told Wired868 that he gave a verbal commitment to change his delegate before the request for the EGM was approved. He was not asked for anything in writing at the time or after, and had not submitted anything.

Photo: Businessman Robert Hadad was appointed by Fifa on 27 March 2020 as head of Trinidad and Tobago’s normalisation committee.

Hadad did not respond to a request for comment on the contrasting tales. Downer said there is precedent for the committee chairman’s claim to be tested at the meeting.

“At the general meeting last year, a lady came from Tobago to represent Bethel and she was challenged by [then TTFA president David] John-Williams,” said Downer. “But she was able to show a copy of an email sent to [Super League president Keith] Look Loy and Look Loy was able to show that the request was sent to the general secretary. Only then was she allowed to take part—that is proof.

“[…] Look at article 22.3. What will tell you delegates when you are asked to produce proof?”

The other point that Downer feels escaped Hadad—and interim Pro League CEO Brent Sancho—was that clubs cannot change their own representatives anyway.

Even if the normalisation committee chairman, who is co-CEO of HadCo Limited, was telling the truth about receiving requests to change delegates in writing, it is only the member body that can so inform the TTFA secretariat—and not the clubs.

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)

San Juan Jabloteh, AC Port of Spain and Club Sando FC are not delegates, rather it is the TT Pro League that selects 10 delegates while the TTSL choose eight. So, as was the case with Bethel last year, the club must ask its member body to change its delegates for a general meeting.

The Pro League and TTSL then has the choice of either agreeing to another delegate from the same club or appointing a delegate from a different team altogether.

“No club on its own can change its delegates,” said Downer. “What the club should do if it wants to change delegates, should be [to] contact the Super League and then the Super League decides who should replace that delegate—either with someone from the same club or a different club. The Pro League, same thing.

“[…] These people don’t understand the constitution at all.”

Hadad, in his release, also informed members—two months after the fact—that general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan had been suspended.

Photo: TTFA general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan (centre) accompanies president William Wallace (far right), office staff Sharon O’Brien (far left) and technical director Dion La Foucade (second from left) during a Women’s National U-20 Team practice session at the Ato Boldon Stadium training field in Couva on 7 February 2020.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

“The TTFA general secretary, Mr Ramesh Ramdhan, has been suspended pending an inquiry into the entry of several contracts by the TTFA,” stated Hadad. “We wish to make it clear that we are not imputing any dishonest motive against the general secretary.

“The general secretary has made a request that the matter be referred to mediation for a resolution to which […] we have agreed.”

Downer offered a curt response.

“That [delay in informing members about Ramdhan’s suspension] is a disrespect to the members,” said Downer.

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About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief 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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  1. Hadad is inept and incompetent to manage our football. Plain and simple. And if what is being revealed is true, then he cut from the same cloth as DJW… No wonder he was appointed chairman… Granny always said… If you stand for nothing, you fall for everything… Football people in Trinidad and Tobago stop allowing thieves, liars and dumb disrespectful people to control the game in this blessed land

  2. Lawd, English is a foreign language to this man!

    He better unsuspend the Secretary fas, oui!

    • What is Hadad’s connection to football? Has he ever been involved in Trinidad football before? Why is he suddenly FIFA’s golden boy? I have never even heard of him in connection with football in Trinidad and Tobago, until this imbroglio arose.

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