Home / Volley / Global Football / ‘Fifa was unfair, but we just don’t want to be banned…’ Members ask Wallace to yield

‘Fifa was unfair, but we just don’t want to be banned…’ Members ask Wallace to yield

Fifa was unfair to Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president William Wallace and vice-presidents Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Sam Phillip—but we fraid to get ban. This, according to a few observers, was the prevailing mood at last night’s informal general meeting called by Wallace.

The meeting, which was held online, offered TTFA’s 47 member delegates the opportunity to share their views on the elected members’ legal defiance of Fifa and its appointed normalisation committee. And, of course, there was also a vote meant to quantify the support or disapproval.

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

In the informal setting, four persons contacted by Wired868 gave three different figures. But in each scenario the majority of delegates voted to withdraw the case with the difference being somewhere between 65 and 72 percent.

(Remarkably, with the immediate future of the TTFA at stake, there was not a full turn-out—with as many as 11 members missing.)

Three persons abstained from choosing a side at all while either seven or eight members voted to continue fighting in the High Court. However, between 21 and 26 members want the elected officials to submit to Fifa.

Wallace promised to consider the views of the members and give a decision this morning, after consulting with his United TTFA slate.

Since it was not a properly constituted extraordinary general meeting, Wallace and his vice-presidents are not obliged to follow last night’s vote. And, to further complicate things, the meeting was not restricted to the official delegates for the various members either.

Photo: Central FC managing director and ex-Sport Minister Brent Sancho (second from right) is flanked by then Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) and former World Cup 2006 star and Central coach Stern John during the opening of the Irwin Park Sporting Complex in Siparia in 2015.
Sancho is TTFA president William Wallace’s most outspoken critic.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Votes apart, Wallace also stressed that the meeting was interested in the ideas of members. And Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association (TTFRA) vice-president Osmond Downer, as always, had an interesting view to share.

Fifa is now on its second deadline to the TTFA, after secretary general Fatma Samoura extended the time for a withdrawal from 15 September to 23 September. Downer suggested that Fifa president Gianni Infantino was as worried about the TTFA’s court case as local officials are scared of the Bureau of the Fifa Council’s ‘big stick’.

“If I was sure they would ban us, I would say withdraw the case—but I am not so sure,” Downer told the meeting. “Who are they going to suspend? Are they going to suspend the TTFA when the TTFA as a body has not taken Fifa to court?

“They themselves say they don’t recognise the elected officials and that the normalisation committee that they appointed is in charge. So is Fifa going to suspend itself?”

The response to Downer’s point from his fellow members? Well, why take the chance Fifa might do just that anyway.

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino.

“People are mortally afraid of a Fifa ban,” said one member, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Most people say Fifa didn’t move right,” said another, “but they still said Wallace should withdraw the case—because they don’t want to risk a ban.”

Interim Pro League chairman Brent Sancho and Morvant Caledonia United technical director Jamaal Shabazz criticised Wallace for waiting this long before speaking to his fellow board members.

Downer, again, offered a counter.

“Fifa replaced the [TTFA] Board with the normalisation committee so there was no board to go to, to start with,” Downer retorted. “That is why they went to the court—so they can be recognised as the bonafide TTFA officers. How can the officers who were removed, go to the normalisation committee and ask them to hold a meeting to [potentially] remove the normalisation committee? That is incongruous.

“They couldn’t call a general meeting because who calls the general meeting? The board. And Fifa removed the board.”

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)

Downer’s explanation, after three or four attempts, apparently would not sink in for Sancho. But it might be a moot point anyway.

Earlier yesterday, United TTFA member and Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) president Keith Look Loy said last night’s meeting would allow for feedback from members and the chance to quantify the support for their stance.

There remains a principled reason to support the TTFA’s resistance of Fifa. But most members would rather remain within the fold of the Infantino-led global body, even at the possible cost of their constitutional rights.

On 24 November 2019, Wallace was elected president by a vote of 26-20. Ten months later, only eight members think he should continue.

Wallace has a few hours left to decide whether he should bow to the will of the majority.

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. Great Republic Day gift for Trinidad and Tobago football! Clearly and proudly We DON’T have to yield to massa and their anal linguists like Brent Sancho, David John-Williams and that nastiness Andre Baptiste who is largely responsible for propping up his man David John-Williams as he pulled down William Wallace daily on i95.5FM. A new era begins. Let’s see how much money for a new-type local league Kamla’s boy Sancho can wring from UNC financiers who embezzled billions from our treasury.

  2. FIFA, Infantino, DJW escaped Trinidad’s local judgment, but how will they stand before the Divine Judge? Hebrews 9:27-28
    King James Version
    27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

  3. Earl Best

    In an informal meeting, we are probably hearing expressed individual views rather than the collective views the members are supposed to represent
    So this “vote” is arguably no more or no less valid than Wired’s own informal poll where 75% currently do NOT vote in favour of withdrawal.
    So where does that leave us?
    At the risk of repeating myself, I hope it means Wallace will leave us.
    Trinidad and Tobago football does not deserve well-intentioned people, whatever else they may be..

  4. You can’t make a good deal with a bad guy!

    It is understandable that so many members are afraid to stand up on firm and principled ground against the well documented, conflicted FIFA especially with the threat of a ban being imposed on T&T. I also suspect that many of those who voted at this virtual meeting did so to improve their own personal (or club) interests as FIFA will release their funding (charity/bribe) to be distributed via the Normalization Committee.

    However, these members would do well to remember the old adage “you can’t make a good deal with a bad guy”. And if we are being honest, FIFA has not been kind to T&T. A cabal is now running CONCACAF and the CFU and it is painful to see the manipulation in favor of the more powerful countries. What is also now public, is that corruption and FIFA go hand in hand and that FIFA will go to any length to protect their cronies.

    And finally, I am not convinced that anyone voting to stop legal proceedings at the virtual meeting yesterday took into account the message that is being sent to cooperate sponsors and potential sponsors of the TTFA. They have essentially said that so long as FIFA continues to send us funding we will agree to accept the corruption that takes place. No cooperate sponsor is going to risk their brand in that environment. And by the way, that is exactly what FIFA and CONCACAF want – a weak, totally dependent TTFA (and CFU) to that they can continue to rule and divide (and steal) at will – uninterrupted and without fear of any legal fallout.

    Like in politics – we get the leaders we deserve!!