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‘We’re free to play […] against ourselves… Brilliant!’ Dr Rowley appears to mock TTFA court win

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley appeared to mock a landmark High Court ruling won yesterday by Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president William Wallace and vice-presidents Clynt Taylor and Sam Phillip, as he suggested it was no more than a Pyrrhic victory.

The TTFA officials successfully defied Fifa president Gianni Infantino’s attempt to replace them with a normalisation committee, just four months into their term. In her verdict, Madame Justice Carol Gobin suggested Wallace had defended the integrity of body formed by an Act of Parliament.

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

“The wisdom of the challenge by the [TTFA officials] of the actions of Fifa is not for the Court [to decide],” stated Gobin, in her 23-page ruling. “But it has to be said that the law expects the TTFA to do what its statutory duty requires even in the face of unlawful pressure.

“[…] In the circumstances, the TTFA’s actions of seeking redress before the Court was perhaps the only appropriate response which avoided capitulating to the demands of Fifa; and thereby elevating the status of Fifa Statutes above the laws passed by our Parliament.”

However, Dr Rowley, on his personal Facebook page, began his response to the High Court decision with a quote from Pyrrhus, King of Epirus: ‘Another such victory and we shall be utterly ruined’.

“Thank God I was taught some Greek History and Latin at Bishop High School, otherwise I would have never been able to understand that adventure,” stated Dr Rowley. “I think we all now need to study the 2000-year events of the Pyrrhic wars to figure out how it all might end. Pyrrhos was indeed king of the Molossians and also of Epirus. However, Rome still stands so what does the future hold?

“Success that comes at such a high price and at other people’s expense sometimes results in the price of the ‘victory’ proving too costly to have been worth it. In that case what happens when the powerful king wins the battle but the thousands of subjects lose?”

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino (left) presents Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley with a personalised football jersey during the opening of the TTFA Home of Football in Couva on 18 November 2019.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTFA Media)

Although the High Court ruled that Wallace remains the legitimate president of the TTFA, Dr Rowley copied Infantino in referring to the successful claims as the ‘United TTFA’—which is the slate that was elected by local football delegates on 24 November 2019.

“So now United TTFA has ‘won’ and Fifa has lost; the matter is settled in local court,” stated Dr Rowley. “We are now free of the ‘colonial’ Fifa. We, boys and girls, men and women, are free to play by ourselves and against ourselves, because nobody will be allowed to play with or against us.

“Oh. That’s it! I finally understand it. That means we can never lose and will always win because we will only be playing by ourselves. Brilliant!”

Ironically, Madame Justice Gobin criticised Fifa’s repeated disrespect to the local courts in her decision yesterday and said it was illegal to hand over control of a statutory body

“Throughout these proceedings, Fifa has persistently paraded its disdain for the authority of our local courts,” said the High Court judge. “[…] Normalisation effectively permits the removal of a body elected in accordance with the provisions of the Act, and the transfer of powers vested under statute to a committee through a process which is outside of the election process established by the statute.

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino (left) and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (centre) shake hands during the opening of the TTFA Home of Football in Couva on 18 November 2019.
Looking on is Sport Minister Shamfa Cudjoe.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTFA Media)

“It is illegal. In its operation, normalisation necessarily requires TTFA to contract out of its duties and responsibilities under the TTFA Act and under its rules.

“There is a well established principle that a public right is not overridden by the agreements of private persons.”

(Full statement by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley)

“Another such victory and we shall be utterly ruined,” Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, 2000 years ago.

Thank God I was taught some Greek History and Latin at Bishop High School. Otherwise I would have never been able to understand that adventure. I think we all now need to study the 2000-year events of the Pyrrhic wars to figure out how it all might end.

Pyrrhos was indeed king of the Molossians and also of Epirus. However, Rome still stands so what does the future hold?

Success that comes at such a high price and at other people’s expense sometimes results in the price of the ‘victory’ proving too costly to have been worth it. In that case what happens when the powerful King wins the battle but the thousands of subjects lose.

Image: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s Facebook post, after the TTFA’s legal triumph over Fifa.

So now United TTFA has ‘won’ and FIFA has lost. The matter is settled in local court. We are now free of the ‘colonial’ FIFA.

We, boys and girls, men and women, are free to play by ourselves and against ourselves because nobody will be allowed to play with or against us.

Oh. That’s it! I finally understand it. That means we can never lose and will always win because we will only be playing by ourselves.

Brilliant!

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15 comments

  1. If the PM and the Sports Minister continue with this muddled weak position, it wont be long before their political opponents start suggesting that the reason is a link to money in Panama and all kinds of foolishness…and then some of us going to find it difficult to defend them.

    They should have made the responsibilities of the Government to its citizens and their own positions clear with a proper statement from the start, instead of this Greek parable on Facebook.

    This ineptness will cost the Government some support and rightly so.

    • Earl Best

      …perhaps among thinking people.

      Do you, reading the comments on this site, get the impression that that is a high percentage of the electorate?

      • …that is the point though, thinking people will dismiss as foolishness any suggestion that the Honorable Ministers would be involved in kickbacks in Panama but a high percentage of the electorate might not…

  2. The learned PM, the Sport Minister and all their ilk once dined with Infantino and DJW. It seems to me that all of them “Good so”, which is why they advocating the Normalization Committee, led by a person who has absolutely no vision or experience when it comes to sport. Truly speaking, the PM’s statement betrays his bias. I had written a letter to the editor dressing him down on his nonsense and his lack of information. He reminds me of the average Trini: speaking out of tune without having anything to back up their ridiculous arguments.

  3. Dr Rowley, I now understand why the minister of sports animosity towards TTFA is so marked…”the enemy of my friend is my enemy”. Remember when you quoted that?

  4. Trinidad football was not adhering to rules. I understand that FIFA alocate funds to all levels , yet still it does not reach some of us. At least the SFA level . Maybe we should give FIFA a chance to teach us how to run a foitball organization.

    • Lasana Liburd

      Read up on the US Department of Justice’ investigation into Fifa and ask yourself again if you want them to teach our local administrators.

    • YES. FIFA has corupt elements, But our officials appears to corupt as well as incompetent

      • Lasana Liburd

        ‘Corrupt elements’ is more generous than I think an organisation with decades long corruption issues deserves. And TTFA corruption got the seal of approval by Fifa in any case because they had to approve our accounts every year.
        As for the charge of incompetence, absolutely T&T officials are guilty as charged. But is Fifa that much better?
        For instance, if you had the CEO of a company with US$2.7 billion in cash reserves and there was a problem with a little corner shop that doesn’t have two cents to rub together. And if your CEO not only couldn’t fix that problem after seven months but made it so much worse that it now threatens the very governance structure of the billion dollar company…
        Would you still think Infantino–I mean the CEO–was competent? Would you keep him in the job?

      • Earl Best

        “FIFA have some corrupt elements…”? You know what you saying? Take the advice, nah. Go and read the stuff and then come back and talk.

    • Absolute crap…
      Fifa made it impossible for the TTFA to follow their misguided rules. They themselves did not follow their own rules. And that is why the matter ended up in a local court. But you, the minister of sport, and the PM are just too slow to understand the illegal and downright nastiness of Fifa,.
      So instead of being a lazy thinker, and just bussing up your mouth with puerile nonsensical irrelevant statements and analogies, get up to speed. Stand up for your sovereign country, and stop falling for every dotish piece of cacafoolery that comes out of people that should know better!

  5. Foolishness Mr PM! Utter foolishness!!!!

    1) Fifa showed absolutely no respect for the local citizens, institutions, and laws. And they acted in bad faith by trampling on the democratic process of the member association that up to that moment was proverbially towing the line.
    2) it is clear to the judge, the United TTFA team, and to the right – thinking citizens that Fifa’s actions were nothing short of disgusting and reprehensible. Fifa acted as a law unto itself, and vulgarly punished the United TTFA, and then the entire country, including you Mr PM… But why???
    3) Fifa did all in its power to subdue any protest from T&T citizens which were vulgarly wronged by them, and your minister of sport did nothing! She sat by idly, issuing nonsensical Tobago sayings at Wallace, when she should have been mediating, and acting on behalf of Trinidad and Tobago! You see, when fifa was refusing to pay a fair share of the cost of the matter at CAS, and the United TTFA were publicly, and I repeat publicly stating that they could not afford to pay the fees,: why didn’t the minister of sport intervene? Eh, why????? When DJW make the fees to send women footballers to a tournament jump up, your minister of sport found the money to help the footballers. Wyh didn’t she assist united TTFA to fund the protest at CAS??? Eh, why???? Such a move would have ensured that despite the vulgar wickedness of Fifa, Trinidad would have done things the way they (fifa) wanted it done… But nooooooo, she sat by, bussing up her mouth and not helping Trinidad and Tobago, not batting for Trinidad and Tobago, not supporting Trinidad and Tobago!
    4) every body that is following this matter closely knows very well why fifa did what they did. Again, Mr PM, everybody know why fifa did what they did. It is because DJW lost the election for the presidency of the TTFA.
    And the extended meaning of that does not sit nicely with me, and with thousands of citizens of this country. That is if DJW is not the president of the TTFA, nobody else can hold the position and function as they rightfully should under the laws of natural justice!
    5) I would stop the long talk with you and your minister that has failed the people, yes its your minister that is the big failure here!. Here is the solution.:
    Send the DJW proxies with TTFA membership to the EGM that Wallace is calling. Let them remove Wallace!
    Put back DJW in charge. And you and your high performing minister of sport, along with your friends in fifa would monitor the correction of the TTFA fortunes, as well as the project which DJW would deliver with sterling performance, to bring Trinidad and Tobago back into compliance with fifa. And this would solve the minor (yes minor). problem that Wallace and the United TTFA created for Trinidad and Tobago in 4 months. As well as, the massive debt, the weak institutional performance, and the deteriorating on field performance of national football teams at all levels, that characterised the 4 years of leadership under David John Williams! Problem solved!

  6. Earl Best

    I wish I had my vote back! I certainly would not be willing to knowingly give it to a mere cheerleader for whom abstracts have little or no value.

  7. Rowley talking sovereingty conveniently……..fifa disregarding our courts and our parliament and he see nothing wrong with that……but with the oil ting and venezuela and america he know bout……how convenient…..what a disapointment

  8. This is really our leadership? Absolutely embarrassing.