“[…] It is fair to say that the overwhelming majority of representatives were motivated by fear of Fifa’s threat to suspend TTFA.
“[…] We end our just action in order to avoid further victimisation of Trinidad and Tobago football. We have stood for Democracy, National Sovereignty and the rule of Law against Fifa’s bullying tactics, blatant intimidation and extortion…”
The following press statement, which confirms that the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s elected officers have ended their High Court case against Fifa—on the instructions of president William Wallace and first vice-president Clynt Taylor—was issued by second vice-president Susan Joseph-Warrick, third vice-president Joseph Sam Phillip and United TTFA members Anthony Harford and Keith Look Loy:
On Tuesday 22 September, United TTFA met TTFA members to discuss Fifa’s second deadline for ending our challenge to its normalisation committee on Wednesday 23.
Of the participating member representatives, twenty one called on United TTFA to end its legal challenge to Fifa, while eight were in favour of it being continued and three abstained. We, the signatories, accept this call.
It is fair to say that the overwhelming majority of representatives were motivated by fear of Fifa’s threat to suspend TTFA. Indeed, several who voted to have the legal case withdrawn did so while openly stating their support for the principles on which United TTFA stood against Fifa.
This fear was exacerbated by the imminent draw for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, to be held on 28 September, from which Trinidad and Tobago would be excluded if we were to be suspended by Fifa. A ‘convenient’ development for Fifa.
The signatories to this statement have decided to follow the clear wish of the membership. President William Wallace and 1st vice-president Clynt Taylor have advised us that they have instructed our legal representatives to withdraw the High Court claim against Fifa.
On taking office the Wallace administration’s immediate priorities were: 1) debt service; 2) internal restructuring and reform; 3) activation of all national teams; 4) introduction of youth, coach and administrator development programmes; 5) holding the former administration to account.
Our four months in office saw significant strides in most of these areas.
The imposition of Fifa’s Normalisation Committee aborted the progress so quickly achieved. We reiterate our view that this was a move intended to suppress the revelation of financial mismanagement and malfeasance by the former TTFA president, to which FIFA turned a blind eye.
The unexpected Mark Bassant documentary, ‘TTFA’s Secret Panama Trail’ has stymied Fifa’s self-interested plan and placed the matter squarely before the public and the police.
United TTFA surprised Fifa and everyone else by resisting Fifa in the local court. Twice now, the High Court has ruled in favour of United TTFA and the rule of Law in Trinidad and Tobago, which has immensely frustrated bullying Fifa.
Importantly, Justice Carol Gobin ruled that the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago has proper jurisdiction over the dispute between the parties. Fifa’s frustration with our court, which it said it would never accept, peaked in its failure—by the deadline of Friday 18 September—to file a defence in the High Court against United TTFA’s claim that Fifa has no authority to remove the Wallace administration.
Fifa has no defence so it took its ball and went home.
The High Court would hear that case on 9 October and would award a default judgment that would confirm the Wallace administration in office. Now Fifa, in a remarkable display of double standards, demands United TTFA drop our already won case in the High Court while it has filed a case against us in the Appeal Court.
In its struggle for justice, United TTFA made seven unsuccessful attempts to hold talks with Fifa between March and September. When we began this journey we had majority support from a broad cross section of football—regional associations, the women’s and schools leagues. We thank all who donated finance to support our legal fees.
The second Fifa deadline and the desire to participate in the draw for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup have changed the balance of power. People see Concacaf’s move but fear Fifa’s big stick and missing the tournament.
We end our just action in order to avoid further victimisation of Trinidad and Tobago football. We have stood for Democracy, National Sovereignty and the rule of Law against Fifa’s bullying tactics, blatant intimidation and extortion. We leave without fear of Fifa knowing that:
- Trinidad and Tobago Law rules supreme in our sovereign state and the jurisdiction of our courts is established;
- The legitimacy of the Wallace administration was upheld as Fifa was forced to flee the local court;
- The last administration is now being held to account;
- Change will inevitably come to the monopoly of power granted to Fifa by its member associations;
That said, we caution Trinidad and Tobago that the owners of football have voluntarily agreed to cede the right to govern ourselves to Fifa. We caution that Fifa is now and hereafter the final arbiter of who will be the government of local football.
This makes a sham of our sovereignty. It may not matter to some, but our football has been colonised.
We call on our supporters to be vigilant and we wish TTFA the best of success.