Fifa will need to deposit TT$60,000 as ‘security for costs’ if it wants its appeal against High Court Judge Carol Gobin’s ruling to be heard on 19 October.
Yesterday, Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president William Wallace and vice-presidents Clynt Taylor and Sam Phillip got more good news from the courts as their application for an appeal courts order against Fifa was granted.
The ruling means that the world governing body, which is based in Zurich, Switzerland, must pay TT$60,000 to the Registrar of the Courts ‘on or before the 15th October’.
The figure is meant to spare the TTFA the hassle of chasing Fifa to the Swiss courts if the latter party fails to honour a potential order of legal costs for the local football body. Wallace’s team is understood to view the decision as another triumph, albeit a minor one.
On 13 August, Justice Gobin ordered Fifa to pay the TTFA’s legal costs after dismissing its motion to move the legal tussle between the pair to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Fifa appealed the ruling.
However, in an odd twist, Justice Gobin will hear the TTFA’s substantive case on 9 October—which seeks to invalidate the replacement of its board by a Fifa-appointed normalisation committee—while Fifa’s appeal is scheduled for 19 October.
Fifa, represented locally by attorneys Christopher Hamel-Smith SC, Jonathan Walker and Cherie Gopie, did not lodge a defence for Friday’s hearing, after its request for a stay of proceedings was dismissed.
The TTFA is represented legally by Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle, Jason Jones and Crystal Paul.
Yesterday’s financial order is not considered unusual when the appellant resides outside of the court’s jurisdiction—while Fifa’s repeated assertions that it does not recognise the authority of the local courts are unlikely to have helped.
On Friday, Wallace and his United TTFA slate will know whether their defiance of Fifa was based on solid legal principles.
However, with president Gianni Infantino refusing to be directed by anyone but CAS and Trinidad and Tobago already provisionally suspended, Wallace vowed to let his members have the final word by contravening an extraordinary general meeting—if he emerges as victor on Friday.
Concacaf has kept a place open for the Soca Warriors to participate in the 2021 Gold Cup tournament if the TTFA makes peace with Fifa by 5pm (ET) on 18 December.
For the majority of the TTFA’s member delegates, the enjoyment of its rights as one of Fifa’s 211 member associations outweigh the perceived merits of the ongoing court case.