Wallace’s last stand? Look Loy confirms that TTFA members will determine next step in Fifa fight

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The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s 47 member delegates will be allowed to vote for the immediate future of the organisation at tonight’s online Zoom meeting.

Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) president Keith Look Loy, who is also part of the United TTFA slate that brought William Wallace to power last November, said the elected officials will attempt to quantify support for their position tonight.

Photo: TTFA president William Wallace (far right), general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan (second from right) and technical director Dion La Foucade (second from left) talk to Women’s U-20 Team manager Maylee Attin-Johnson during practice at the Ato Boldon Stadium training field in Couva on 7 February 2020.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

Wallace and vice-presidents Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Sam Phillip are before the High Court at present, where they are resisting Fifa’s decision to replace the TTFA Board with a normalisation committee on 17 March—just four months after Wallace and his vice-presidents were voted into office.

Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura warned last week that it will recommend sanctions against the TTFA unless the High Court case is dropped; and set an extended deadline of 23 September, after the first cut-off point of 16 September passed without a flinch from Wallace and his colleagues.

Look Loy explained the purpose of the meeting to Wired868.

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“We have to quantify the support tonight for whatever position we should take going forward; and there might be multiple positions,” said Look Loy. “There are some who say fuck Fifa; regardless of the consequences, we should continue. There are others saying let us still try to negotiate with them—notwithstanding the fact that we have already reached out to them on seven occasions without success.

“And there are others who are saying we must avoid suspension at all costs.”

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino makes a toast.

Tonight’s meeting, Look Loy insisted, will end with a vote. Look Loy and Wallace confirmed too that Taylor, the first vice-president, was responsible for sending invitations out to member delegates. He attempted to do so last night but there appeared to have been a ‘glitch’.

“Apparently not everybody received the email, so it has been resent with 56 recipients on it,” said Look Loy, who described the furore over late invitations as ‘another storm in a thimble’. “The invitations began to go out last night and, using Whats App, I sent out [invitations] informally to quite a few people in the Super League and outside of the Super League.

“[…] If there was a glitch on Clynt’s part, by now everyone has received an invitation. Everyone who wants to attend can do so and anyone who does not want to can also not attend.”

Look Loy admitted that tonight’s meeting is not a formal since the United TTFA ‘didn’t have time to follow constitution which requires X-number of days before an EGM can be called’. However, he said it allows the elected officers to hear the opinions of members before proceeding.

It is the first time that Wallace is meeting the TTFA membership since he was elected to replace David John-Williams on 24 November 2019.

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino (right) and then TTFA president David John-Williams at a press conference at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 10 April 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Look Loy attempted to explain why one was not held earlier, particularly after the Bureau of the Fifa Council, headed by president Gianni Infantino, appointed a normalisation committee on the twin island republic—headed by businessman Robert Hadad.

“When this process started [against Fifa], there was no doubt that there was a broad cross section of support for our position, to the point where the board of the Super League donated US$2,000 US to support our case,” said Look Loy. “[…] People were convinced this was a fight that had to be fought. What has changed the issue, in my opinion, is that support has become more divided.

“[…] And what has made [the meeting] more mandatory is the fact that Concacaf, whether by coincidence or tactics, has put the draw for the [2021] Gold Cup a full 10 months before the tournament!

“They put [the Gold Cup draw] on the 28th [of September] before the case gets to the High Court on the ninth [of October].”

Fifa did not file a defence before the deadline given by High Court Judge Carol Gobin and will almost certainly be rebuffed in its attempt to legally impose a normalisation committee over the TTFA.

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)

However, the downside is the local football body will likely be banned from taking part in any international football.

Look Loy suggested that the implications of the impending suspension forced the hand of the United TTFA members.

“What they are doing here is employing public pressure on us,” said Look Loy. “All these matrices of influences has said to us, we must hear what the membership is saying about this. Because it is their football—it is not mine; it is not Wallace’s own.”

Tonight, six months after the Infantino-led Bureau declared that Wallace and his colleagues had been forcibly removed, the besieged TTFA president will take counsel from his members on the nature of their resistance.

On the last occasion that the United TTFA raised the idea of a general meeting, interim Pro League chairman Brent Sancho and Veteran Footballers Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago (VFFOTT) interim president Selby Browne urged delegates to boycott as they insisted that Wallace did not have the authority to convene such a meeting. Wallace eventually suppered that proposed meeting, due to legal advice by the TTFA’s attorneys.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players savour the moment after their penalty shootout win over Puerto Rico in the Concacaf U-20 Championship Round of 16 in the Dominican Republic on 1 March 2020.
They were the only team to take to the field during president William Wallace’s tenure so far.
(Copyright MexSport/Concacaf)

This time around, Sancho is anxious to get in to the conclave and moaned to the media about the tardiness of his invitation.

For all the attacks and unsettling revelations about his short-lived tenure as president, the eagerness of members to get a seat at tonight’s meeting arguably suggests that Wallace is still in charge of the local game—despite Infantino’s best efforts.

The former Carapichaima East Secondary vice-principal, whose organisation is functionally bankrupt, has stood up to the president of the richest single sport in the world. Fifa claimed to have cash reserves of US$2.7 billion at the end of the 2015-18 cycle and has more members than the United Nations.

But the TTFA’s 47 members will determine how long Wallace’s resistance should continue.

Photo: TTFA president William Wallace (middle) is the centre of attention during the media launch of the 2019 SSFL season at Fatima College, Mucurapo on 3 September 2019.
Wallace was elected TTFA president on 24 November 2019.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)
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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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One comment

  1. Wally,
    I hope they vote to drop the case. That’s not because I don’t support you or because I don’t support the principled stand you took—and still, I know, take.

    It’s because I think Trinidad and Tobago football DOES NOT DESERVE you.

    Drop the case if that is their wish and walk away. And then propose Jack Warner, David John-Williams, Brent Sancho or Selby Browne to run the show.

    THAT is what T&T football deserves.

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