Home / Volley / Global Football / Dear editor: There was nothing ‘pyrrhic’ about Wallace and the UTTFA’s fight, history will smile on them

Dear editor: There was nothing ‘pyrrhic’ about Wallace and the UTTFA’s fight, history will smile on them

“[…] The UTTFA and supporters of its stand against the mighty Fifa might also be encouraged by the words of a martyr for the cause of Poland’s Solidarity Workers in the 1980s.

“Before he was brutally murdered on 19 October 1984, Father ‘Pop’ (Jerzy Popiełuszko) reportedly urged embattled workers with words that still ring true today:

“Truth never changes. It cannot be destroyed by decisions or legal acts. Telling the truth with courage is a way leading directly to freedom. A man who tells the truth is a free man despite external slavery, imprisonment or custody…”

Photo: TTFA president William Wallace poses during a staff photoshoot on 9 January 2020.
(via Allan V Crane/TTFA Media/CA-images)

The following Letter to the Editor on the stance of former Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president William Wallace and the United TTFA slate against their removal by Fifa, was submitted to Wired868 by Anthony Rock of the St Joseph Training Club:

I read and re-read Wired868’s reporting on last Monday’s appeal court proceedings that preceded the judgement released on Friday 23 October 2020.

Although I was disappointed in the appeal court’s determinations on Friday 23 October, I was not completely surprised—having noted the line of the CJ’s probings and the questions and responses traded between attorneys representing the respective adversarial parties.

So yes, I got a very uneasy feeling before release of the court of appeal judgement that things may not turn out well this time for the party I champion in this still unfolding impasse.

But really those who would resist injustice, even at great sacrifice, should continue to take courage from Madame Justice Carol Gobin’s judgements on 13 August and, particularly, on 13 October. To my mind, she properly dealt with the United TTFA’s concerns of injustice, regarding who committed the wrongs and who was the victim. 

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino.

The remit of the appeal court was only about whether the matters should have been adjudicated within the jurisdiction of the Trinidad and Tobago courts or somewhere else. Therefore the appeal court hearing was not about declaring on who was right and who was wrong in the substantial matters.

That was the business of the trial judge, Madame Justice Gobin; and she did attend to that business—except of course, as we now learn, her 13 October determinations are no longer of any legal avail, since the appeal court found (regardless of the merits of that high court judgement) that the matters should not have been heard here in the first case.

Thus the appeal court’s ruling of Friday 23rd October 2020 will abide henceforth (unless a privy council ruling later overturns its findings).

But for me, I remain on course with Justice Gobin’s findings. The lady judge confirmed my own layman’s findings prior that Fifa acted improperly, unfairly and in a high-handed manner with one of its vulnerable members. Fifa also behaved less than respectfully towards T&T’s sovereignty.

I think it is important for neutrals—indeed all—to revisit the 13 October 2020 judgement of Madame Justice Carol Gobin (both the determinations and its justifications) as well as the comments of UTTFA’s Wallace, published before the appeal court determinations were released.

Photo: Madame Justice Carol Gobin.

No doubt battle-worn, Mr Wallace might take comfort that there are still a few persons, like-minded as himself, who in empathy shared his team’s efforts in boldly standing up for principle against the odds—in the face of impending deprivation and castigation.

The UTTFA and supporters of its stand against the mighty Fifa might also be encouraged by the words of a martyr for the cause of Poland’s Solidarity Workers in the 1980s. Before he was brutally murdered on 19 October 1984, ‘Father Pop’ (Jerzy Popiełuszko) reportedly urged embattled workers with words that still ring true today:

“Truth never changes. It cannot be destroyed by decisions or legal acts. Telling the truth with courage is a way leading directly to freedom. A man who tells the truth is a free man despite external slavery, imprisonment or custody…”

I thought that in Justice Gobin’s court, much of the truth in this unwholesome Fifa drama came out.

Incidentally, Trinidad and Tobago’s appeal court met to hear the matter between the TTFA and Fifa on the anniversary of Father Pop’s death on 19 October.

Photo: Murdered priest Jerzy ‘Father Pop’ Popiełuszko was declared a martyr by the Roman Catholic Church.

I regretfully note that, from the loud voices in opposition to the UTTFA’s stand, it seems in Trinidad and Tobago that admirable civic virtues such as: conviction in cause, faithfulness to statutory duty, patriotism, willingness to make sacrifice for a greater good, testicular fortitude, etc, are no longer relevant.

These are the virtues demonstrated in the actions of Messrs Wallace, Clynt Taylor, Sam Phillip, Keith Look Loy and the rest of the UTTFA team—and perhaps were never even countenanced by those who balk at the prospect of a Fifa ban.

But if our citizenry were imbued with the aforementioned civic qualities, particularly our leaders, we would throw off the shackles of self-contempt (picked up again by Bajan Prime Minister Mia Motley in her ‘Time to Pivot’) and defend the state from its enemies: internal and external.

Whatever losses are sustained to preserve the honour and dignity of our people can be regarded as ‘acceptable losses’. And therefore any victory—be it moral or temporarily legal—in pursuit of those priorities, cannot be ‘pyrrhic’ at all.

But as they say, it is what it is. And that continued in today’s TTFA EGM. So accordingly Mr Wallace, as you have seemed to have hinted this last week, take a bow and ride out, erect and tall. Whoa!

Photo: Naparima College attacker Mark Ramdeen (centre) poses with his 2018 SSFL MVP trophy between SSFL president William Wallace (right) and ambassador Shaka Hislop.
(Copyright Annalicia Caruth/Wired868)

Perhaps eons later after reflecting, some whom you fought for—and maybe some who opposed you—might endorse the following inscription on your epitaph:

“True, true, true… The odds were against you; your own people too. Yes, eventually pummelled. Yet posterity TnT is grateful. You bravely reminded Fifa: ‘Football? Yes, but not at all costs’. It is important to stand up to a bully, get in a few well directed blows and expose him for what he is.”

So look out Fifa; and others peeking in. If iz heat yuh feeling, know iz Fire coming in! 🇹🇹✊🏿

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6 comments

  1. Earl Best

    A little adaptation of David Rudder’s “Haiti” in the dying hours of Calypso History Month:

    Wally, I’m sorry we misunderstood you.
    One day we’ll turn our heads and look inside you…

  2. Bravo! Compliments to the author. I fully endorse these views.

  3. “Thus, a good man, though a slave, is free; but a wicked man, though a king, is a slave. For he serves, not one man alone, but what is worse, as many masters as he has vices.”

    ― Augustine of Hippo

  4. I too share similar thoughts on that matter and agree with the author

  5. Earl Best

    Apres ca, the French say, on tire l’échelle.

    Nuff said!