Home / Volley / Global Football / What crisis? Wired868 explains why almost everyone’s reading the TTFA-Fifa impasse wrong

What crisis? Wired868 explains why almost everyone’s reading the TTFA-Fifa impasse wrong

As the clock ticks on the impasse between Fifa and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), the future of the ‘beautiful game’ on these shores is at stake—but not for the reason that most think.

The TTFA, despite the shrill bleating of uninformed voices, is not hamstrung by a legal stalemate. Rather it is paralysed by a glaring lack of analysis.

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino.

The TTFA Constitution states that an extraordinary general meeting, which has the power to order or remove any elected officer of the local football body, must be convened within 10 to 30 days of a request by member delegates.

So why are the likes of interim Pro League chairman Brent Sancho and Men’s National Under-17 head coach Angus Eve talking about the negative impact that a suspension can bring in 2021? Why stand outside of a house screaming and hurtling abuse at the occupants when you have a key in your pocket to enter?

At present, TTFA president William Wallace is contending that the local football body’s constitution does not permit an external body—yes, even Fifa—to remove its elected officers.

But do you know what Wallace has not argued? Neither he nor anybody else has said the member delegates cannot move him.

There is no dictatorship here. Only grown men and women who seem either unwilling to read or incapable of understanding a fairly straightforward document, or who insist on sitting on their hands and waiting for an external party to fly in and solve their problems.

Photo: TTFA president William Wallace.
(Courtesy TTFA Media/Allan V Crane)

Article 29.2-4 of the TTFA Constitution states:

‘The Board of Directors shall convene an Extraordinary General Meeting if a majority (more than 50%) of the accredited delegates to the General Meeting make such a request in writing. The request shall specify the items for the agenda.

‘An Extraordinary General Meeting shall be held within 30 days of receipt of the request,  unless the agenda includes the election of members of the Board of Directors or the members of the Electoral Committee, in which case the Extraordinary General Meeting shall be held within 60 days of receipt of the request.

‘If an Extraordinary General Meeting is not convened within the indicated time, the delegates who requested it may convene the Extraordinary General Meeting themselves. As a last resort, the Members may request assistance from Fifa and Concacaf.

‘The Members shall be notified of the place, date and agenda at least 10 days before the date of an Extraordinary General Meeting.

Photo: VFFOTT interim president Selby Browne during the launch of the TTFA League of Champions in November 2019.
Browne is among the signatories for the 15 September EGM.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/TTFA Media)

‘When an Extraordinary General Meeting is convened on the initiative of the Board of Directors, the Board of Directors shall draw up the agenda. When an Extraordinary General Meeting is convened upon the request of Members, the agenda shall contain the points raised by those Members.’

The High Court is due to rule on 9 October whether Fifa can legally remove the TTFA’s elected officers, through the implementation of a normalisation committee.

If Wallace and his remaining vice-presidents Clynt Taylor and Sam Phillip lose the case, the TTFA immediately falls under the control of Fifa—with two months left before the new 18 December deadline to ‘lift’ the current suspension and be confirmed for the Concacaf 2021 Gold Cup qualifying phase.

Should Wallace prevail, he promised to immediately call a proper EGM for direction from members. He can do so within 10 days, which means if the likes of Sancho and interim Veterans Footballers Foundation president Selby Browne want to see the back of him, they can remove him between 20 October and 9 November.

Again, there would still be more than enough time for members to prostrate themselves before Fifa president Gianni Infantino if they so desire.

Photo: (From second to left to right) Concacaf president Victor Montagliani, then TTFA president David John-Williams, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Sport Minister Shamfa Cudjoe and deputy House Speaker Esmond Forde cut the ribbon to formally open the TTFA Home of Football in Couva on 18 November 2019.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTFA Media)

If it is so simple to remove Wallace and his colleagues, you might ask, why has it not been done already? Well, ask Infantino.

For the Fifa president, who is currently under criminal investigation in his homeland, Trinidad and Tobago always seemed to represent something more than a professional relationship.

Former TTFA president David John-Williams, also supposedly the target of a corruption probe, was the first Caribbean football leader to pledge support for Infantino—when he ran to replace Sepp Blatter at the helm of Fifa in 2016.

And John-Williams claimed to have Infantino’s support when, that same year, he unsuccessfully contested the position of Caribbean Football Union (CFU) presidency.

It’s a matter of public record too that Infantino refused to act on several emails from TTFA board members urging a probe into John-Williams’ handling of the Home of Football construction. And, six days before last November’s TTFA election, the Fifa president was in Couva urging stakeholders to share his faith in ‘DJW’.

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)

All of which to say that Infantino’s investment in Trinidad and Tobago is unusual and has never been about the benefit of the twin island republic—as a cursory glance at the TTFA’s record on and off the field under John-Williams will testify.

Infantino’s curious relationship with DJW and the TTFA might help explain why, instead of having the Member Associations read the riot act to the new TTFA administration, the Fifa jefe opted for the knife of the seven-member Bureau of the Fifa Council and ‘normalisation’ instead.

That intervention did not work as smoothly as Infantino might have expected and the Fifa president repeatedly bungled attempts to ‘bring the TTFA in-line’ ever since.

Meanwhile, the TTFA’s member delegates have been passive observers of the struggle, watching with popcorn in hand and no apparent interest beyond finding out the date for their next football match. (Apart, of course, from Sancho and his frantic but thoughtless efforts to prove himself useful to Fifa.)

All the while, they ignore Infantino’s clay feet as well as their own culpability in the farce.

Photo: Former Minister of Sport Brent Sancho.
(via Sportt)

Accustomed only to submission, Trinidad and Tobago administrators appear to lack the clarity of thought and/or self-belief to chart their own destiny—despite having the means to do so. They are in a cage of their own ignorance, yet, ironically, talk about passing on lessons to the nation’s youth.

Who has the power to straighten out Trinidad and Tobago’s football?

On this evidence, it is neither Infantino nor Wallace. But the people running about like headless chickens, screaming to be allowed into an open house.

To paraphrase Football Referees Association vice-president Osmond Downer, the people who are letting our young footballers down are the ones who want to lead, but not to read.

If Infantino wanted regime change, he might have done so long ago by leaking information of Wallace’s own violations and giving local delegates a nudge. But, apparently, that did not suffice. He seemed to want to ‘discipline’ Trinidad and Tobago for not electing the president of his choice on 24 November 2019; and, blinded by the infinite powers he thought he had, overreached.

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino.
(via Fifa)

Somehow, six months after the Bureau announced a normalisation committee in Trinidad and Tobago, Infantino remains unable to get the better of a former school teacher in charge of a functionally bankrupt organisation who showed himself to be anything but a shrewd negotiator in his handling of TTFA business this far.

Of course, this can only end one way. Local football will be under new leadership long before Christmas. But Wallace’s court actions will ensure that his eviction is done by his compatriots and not foreigners who almost certainly do not have Trinidad and Tobago’s interests at heart.

Does that matter? Well, everyone is entitled to their own opinion on that score. However, if the aim is to bring the era of the United TTFA slate to an end, member delegates should close their mouths and use their brains.

Open question to Brent Sancho: if TTFA delegates sent a request for an EGM to Hadad, and High Court Judge Carol Gobin said it was addressed to the wrong leader; who do you think is the right person to send that motion to?

Tick tock…

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Afiyah Cornwall has a giggle during National U-20 training at the Ato Boldon Stadium training field in Couva on 7 February 2020.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

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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6 comments

  1. Well said, Mr Liburd

    in the words of Marcus Garvey and popularised by Bob Marley:
    :” Emancipate yourself from mental slavery…none but ourselves can free our mind..”

  2. Mr Liburd,
    Certain points you are making here are off… During the construction of the home for football, there were alot of concerns raised by persons in Wallace team. So much so, that the election was lost by DJW because of his lack of response to those queries.
    The issue here is that you are not recognising that Wallace won, the members wanted a change. And whilst it was reported that he had some foolish moments leading up to the election and right after the election, some of those reports have to be taken with a pinch of salt. The arguments made were not convincing, and most of his prosecutors were in the DJW stable., so Wallace still had a lot of equity when fifa did their foolishness. I would repeat myself again, anyone that thinks what fifa did was right is either stupid or corrupt. And despite what just come on d scene people want to say, football people knows what DJW gives. And it is only when the ban talk started to float around did Wallace really start to loose currency. So to put it across as though football people wanted Wallace removed, is not right.
    That misfit un-intelligent clown, that keeps mouthing off because our lazy bachanalist media seem to only want to push his empty puerile views, is not seen in any way as a replacement for Wallace. In fact football people don’t really care about what comes out his mouth. And if you not clear. I’m talking about dumbo sancho..
    The closing point here is that it is not right in any form or fashion to suggest that members on their own volition wanted or wants to remove Wallace. Fifa and DJW removed Wallace, with the support of the minister of sport, in order to kill all the investigations into the home for football. Football people have been turning against Wallace because of the fear instilled by fifa, and the deliberate misconstrued objectives assigned to Wallace and his team, like selfishness, by the minster of sport, dumbo, and other corrupt idiots in the DJW stable. Don’t for once get it wrong, the real enemies of the people of this country in this matter are fifa, DJW, and their crew of corrupt stupid followers.

    • Lasana Liburd

      I’m not saying what the majority of members may or may not want to do or what is the right thing to do. What I’m saying is that for all the people running to the press saying that Wallace is killing football, there is a process to follow if they want to change or rein in the president that’s quite simple.
      If they called an EGM and found that there are not enough people in favour of change to force Wallace out… Well, that’s democracy too.

      • Earl Best

        Talldog, Don’t see it as a recommendation—Wired868 is serious about journalistic independence—but as a description of existing options.

        And on the evidence already available to us, even if they see it as a recommendation, you don’t think they have to competence to NOT bungle it, do you?

  3. “If you desire healing,
    let yourself fall ill
    let yourself fall ill.”
    ― Rumi

    “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
    ― Frederick Douglass

    It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. – James Baldwin

    I could go on, but the words will mean little to those who have started their journey in the unshakable belief that Wallace is to blame for their illness and only the great FIFA Doctor can cure them…and make them safe…again…

    Remember, another famous Trinidadian once said… “I am the only expert on FIFA in this country…” and look what happened to him.

    Education, that is what the nation needs and if Wired868 has that as part of its purpose, Football will owe you a debt of gratitude.

    Peace