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Fifa ‘ceases’ normalisation committee, threatens 2022 W/Cup spot in latest update

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) will be excluded from the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign—on top of the Concacaf 2021 Gold Cup tournament—if it does not meet the criteria set by Fifa for the lifting of its international suspension by 6pm on 18 December 2020.

The apparent raised stakes in the impasse between the TTFA and the world governing body was relayed today, via an email to Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad.

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino (left) and secretary general Fatma Samoura.

“By way of this communication, we inform you that Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers for the Concacaf region are scheduled to begin in March 2021,” stated Samoura. “The organisation of such competition entails complex logistical and operational matters intensified by the Covid-19 crisis.

“In view of this, please note that Fifa has decided that, in order to ensure the proper preparation and planning of the participant teams, if the suspension imposed on the TTFA is not lifted by 18.00 CET on 18 December 2020, we have no choice but to exclude the TTFA from participating in the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers.”

Curiously, the email was on the Facebook page of former San Fernando Giants board member Anthony Clarke, who is a vocal supporter of ex-TTFA president David John-Williams, before any announcement by Fifa or TTFA.

The ‘update’ came a day after the local courts informed Fifa of a TT$60,000 fee for ‘security for costs’, as a prerequisite for the Swiss-based company’s appeal against a High Court judgment on 13 August. Fifa must pay the Registrar by 15 October at the latest, with the appeal scheduled for 19 October.

Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura said that the governing body is halting the operations of its normalisation committee.

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

“As a result of the suspension of the TTFA’s membership of Fifa,” stated Samoura, “the normalisation committee which was appointed by Fifa has necessarily ceased all operational and management functions over the TTFA.

“However, we want to highlight that the only legitimate leadership of the TTFA, recognised by Fifa and Concacaf, is the one led by Mr Robert Hadad. Having said this, any communication from Fifa with TTFA will continue to be exclusively being (sic) with Mr Robert Hadad.”

Samoura’s email does not change the timeframe already in play between the aggrieved parties. The TTFA’s substantive motion against the normalisation committee is to be heard on Friday 9 October, with besieged president William Wallace expected to call an extraordinary general meeting thereafter to face his membership.

And what to make of Fifa’s latest missive?

In a nutshell, Trinidad and Tobago is still suspended by Fifa. However, the suspension does not interfere with the Soca Warriors’ ability to play in the Qatar World Cup qualifying series—so long as Fifa president Gianni Infantino gets his way on the twin island republic by 18 December.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Joevin Jones (centre) terrorises United States players DeAndre Yedlin (right) and Michael Orozco during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

So is the TTFA really suspended? Or is it just a third Fifa deadline by another name?

Fifa’s normalisation committee has also been shut down. Yet, Hadad represents the ‘only legitimate leadership’ for football in the country and anyone wishing to correspond with Fifa should go through the businessman.

Does that make Hadad a SRP (something resembling a football president)?

Perhaps there is a clue to Fifa’s behaviour today in going-ons at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, where Fifa filed its defence against the TTFA’s objection to its suspension on 23 September.

Maybe, Infantino felt Fifa might have a tricky time explaining to CAS why it suspended a member association that it claims to control, as a means of punishing officials it says have already been removed while simultaneously continuing to operate the TTFA as normal and schedule the Warriors for international tournaments.

It is worth noting too that Concacaf gave its deadline to the TTFA as 6pm Eastern time on 18 December. Fifa offered a cut off point of 6pm Central European time. They are not the same thing—a point that might need to be made to the body which missed the last deadline by two minutes.

The farce seems far from over.

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. Where is the minister of sport????
    Ms Cudjoe, your friends in fifa just disbanded their colonial office, but they so don’t give a flying obscenities about this country, they decided that they would only speak to the governor that they put in place. You see the citizens that took part in the democratic process that put you where you are, cannot use a similar democratic process to determine who should run local football. DJW and fifa must decide for Trinidadians and Tobagonians who should run football!!!!
    According to YOUR friends Ms Cudjoe, democracy has no place in local football.
    Where do we go from here Ms Cudjoe? Every time fifa speaks, every time they communicate on this matter it becomes clearer and clearer that they will only deal with whoever they decide should participate in the administration of football. The people of this country, with the exception of DJW have no say. Even YOU, have no say!
    I would tell you this, if you allow this proverbial waste matter to continue, the govt would have to bankroll football because the TTFA would attract zero corporate sponsorship, zilch, nadas, not even the governor would put his company’s money in football.
    And only you, dumbo, and DJW would be in the savannah to watch Trinidad play, not even the cobeaux coming out to watch football… You have been fully warned!

    • Earl Best

      “…the govt would have to bankroll football…”

      Talldog, Here are two reasons why you are wrong: (1) Football earns no foreign exchange. (2) Football earns no votes.

      And if you ever see a minister at a football match in Trinidad and Tobago, either it is a World Cup match or his/her child is playing. So forget any talk about any childless minister going to watch any football match. Dat jest eh going and happen!

      • I know dat yuh know Mr Best.
        Dat is to show how far football would fall: the biggest football game would be in d savannah, attended by the minister and her bredren DJW, with dumbo as the national mascot.. Not even cobeaux would waste dey time..
        BTW an informal poll among some young sweaters revealed dat they don’t care whether we get banned… The side was crap, and we don’t play good football.. So let the minister and her donkey crew continue to donkey around and feel dat dey impressing people… Go ahead..

  2. I do not see any alternative. Unless the judge do some research that could make her change her mind, it is clear that Friday’s ruling should be in United TTFA’s favor especially since the FIFA has not provided any defense. Without the FIFA’s action we could have 2 bodies claiming administrative rights to T&T football and the winner, more than likely, would be the body with the backing of the courts. The real question ,to me, is if the TTFA members would continue to support the United TTFA or not? Really hope that this does not turn out to be a William vs Wallace thing because there is too much at stake. Ultimately we might as well reserve ourselves to be suspended for maybe a ‘long’ period of time and just make the best of it. Maybe the United TTFA were in fact treated unfairly but we may never know if that is true or not. Ultimately, if we want to be part of world bodies we might have to follow the rules and guidelines even when we feel that they maybe ‘unfair’. Else just stay and do our thing by ourselves.

    • Maybe united TTFA was treated unfairly??? Maybe???
      The truth in this matter is naked obvious… Especially to anyone that has been following this matter from the beginning. What is happening now is very simple, DJW and fifa are trying to turn the country against the United TTFA officers, and the person’s that support this fight against fifa abuse.
      Please check out what the same said fifa just did in Jamaica. And when you find out, you WOULD ask yourself what the hell going on here??
      And you would see only one answer. DJW and his high ranking friends have decided that if he is not in charge of the TTFA, nobody else could be in charge. Please note carefully that hadad is a proxy for DJW.

      • It is a good old hatchet job. You trying to ‘disc’ my pardner who campaign with me and supported my efforts to win the FIFA elections to get into office, ‘I will do fuh yuh’. From the inception that is what this so call intervention ‘smelled’ like.