There will be no Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) appeal against Fifa at the privy council. This morning, the general membership finally had its say; and it meant the last rites for the William Wallace-led administration.
Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association (TTFRA) vice-president Osmond Downer moved the decisive motion, which echoed Fifa’s demand for the TTFA’s reinstatement under its umbrella:
‘Be it resolved that in view of the precarious position that the TTFA now finds itself that this extraordinary general meeting of the TTFA decides that the way forward for the TTFA is for the TTFA to fully comply with its obligations as a member of Fifa, recognising the legitimacy of the Fifa-appointed normalisation committee in bringing its own statutes in line with the Fifa statutes and to fully comply with the normalisation committee, and to fully comply with the normalisation committee in fulfilling its mandate as stated in Fifa’s letter of 17th March 2020.
‘Be it further resolved that all court matters existing between the TTFA and Fifa shall be immediately brought to a stop.’
Thirty-three members voted for the motion while just two, a representatives from the Tobago Football Association (TFA) and FC Santa Rosa, abstained. The tally meant 94 per cent of the member delegates at the EGM had had enough.
Yesterday, after weeks of speculation about his future, besieged TTFA president Wallace announced that he and his vice-presidents, Clynt Taylor and Sam Phillip, would skip today’s EGM—which the president called himself.
Still, Wallace, whose second vice-president Susan Joseph-Warrick and United TTFA colleague Keith Look Loy have already resigned, insisted that he had not quit his post yet.
He does not need to trouble himself with such formalities anymore. Today, the membership took the decision for him.
In Wallace’s absence, Terminix La Horquetta Rangers managing director Richard Ferguson chaired the meeting—after being nominated for duty by Morvant Caledonia United director Jamaal Shabazz and seconded by Southern FA (SFA) representative Howard Spencer.
“The motion was excellent and the members all agreed,” Ferguson told Wired868. “Nobody voted against it and it was done in a short space of time… The motion that was passed basically replaces Wallace with the normalisation committee. So while he was not terminated directly; he and the entire board were removed indirectly.
“There was no dissenting voice. Everybody was on the same page; and it was quick, painless and overwhelming.”
Wallace said he accepts the view of the TTFA membership.
“The EGM decision was expected so there were no surprises there,” said Wallace. “This is the position that was basically in the public domain for a while now. I wish the members all the best.”
By Tuesday, Ferguson said that either he or Boni Bishop will complete the minutes for the EGM and send a letter to Robert Hadad, which should be forwarded to Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura. And, this time, the TTFA is the party requesting normalisation.
On 17 March, the Bureau of the Fifa Council, led by president Gianni Infantino, tried to replace Wallace and the TTFA Board. Seven months later, the job finally appears to be done—although, ironically, Infantino needed the help of the TTFA members to see it through.
Wallace’s position from the start was he could only be removed by the TTFA’s membership. The only consolation is that is how the end eventually came, although the football delegates were under significant duress at the time of the vote with a Fifa suspension hanging over their heads.
Having resigned as Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) president in July—after being invited to do so by the SSFL executive—Wallace does not have an official role within the game anymore, less than 12 months after he was elected to replace David John-Williams, on 24 November 2019, by a margin of 26 to 20.
It might not be the last time that Wallace and his vice-presidents hear from the TTFA’s members, though.
Shabazz raised the issue of the bill for Fifa’s legal costs, slapped on the TTFA by the court of appeal. Who will pay it?
Downer and Ferguson agreed that today’s EGM was not the appropriate forum for that discussion, since it was not on the agenda. It is left to be seen if Shabazz and/or likeminded football officials persist at the AGM.
If members insist on holding Wallace responsible for the financial ramifications of his legal adventure, will they also try to stick the outgoing president with the tab for other deals done without board approval: including contracts awarded to marketing director Peter Miller, Men’s National Senior Team head coach Terry Fenwick and general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan?
Last November, the United TTFA slate—which also included Anthony Harford who quit as Northern FA (NFA) president earlier this month—successfully campaigned for the helm of the local football body on a platform of transparency and accountability.
Infantino and Fifa Member Associations chief Veron Mosengo-Omba did not appear to approve from the start. Their fall thereafter was swift and spectacular.