Fifa admits Hadad’s NC has struggled with mandate; then extends their TTFA control for another year

The Bureau of the Fifa Council, headed by Fifa president Gianni Infantino, has extended the mandate for its normalisation committee in Trinidad and Tobago until 31 March 2023.

The move means that the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA)—and all organised football on the two-island republic—will remain under the thumb of Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad for at least three years.

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino proposes a toast.

The TTFA was due to return to an elected leadership by 18 March 2022, exactly two years after Fifa seized control of the association—supposedly owing to concerns over the local football body’s debts. However,on 17 December, the Bureau unilaterally ruled that it will retain control of the TTFA. The decision was formally communicated to Trinidad and Tobago today, on Christmas Eve, by Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura.

The Bureau comprises AFC president Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin, CAF president Patrice Motsepe, Concacaf Victor Montagliani, Conmebol president Alejandro Dominguez and OFC president Lambert Maltock.

Samoura attributed the ruling by the Infantino-led body to an amalgam of issues from the protracted departure of the previous board, headed by TTFA president William Wallace, to Covid-19. 

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Notably, though, Fifa did not initially deviate from its proposed March 2022 handover of the TTFA’s reins when Wallace finally stepped aside on 20 October 2020—at which time the world had already acknowledged the significant disruption posed by the novel coronavirus.

Photo: Fifa-appointed normalisation committee Robert Hadad.

It is more likely, then, that Fifa’s decision to remain is down to the inability of Hadad and fellow normalisation committee members Judy Daniel, Nigel Romano and Trevor Nicholas Gomez to successfully complete their tasks.

‘The Bureau also took note that there were certain issues that led to the backlog in the normal operations of the TTFA, including finance,’ stated the Fifa missive. ‘This contributed to the inability to appoint an independent auditor, which in turn meant that no audited financial statements could be prepared (and thus presented); the inability to make payments directly to the TTFA’s bank account due to a high risk of garnishment, thereby restricting the TTFA from making immediate payments when necessary and having more freedom with regard to the use of the funds; and the budget cuts imposed due to the multiple claims and payment demands from creditors.

‘Finally, the Bureau acknowledged that in November 2021, due to the current total debts of the TTFA, the normalisation committee notified the Office of the Supervisor of Insolvency of its intention to make a proposal under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act of Trinidad and Tobago (hereinafter: the Act).’

Photo: Nipdec and National Flour Mills chairman and normalisation committee member Nigel Romano.

The mandate of the Hadad-led normalisation is: ‘to run the TTFA’s daily affairs, to establish a debt repayment plan that is implementable by the TTFA administration, to review and amend the TTFA Statutes (and other regulations where necessary), and ensure their compliance with the Fifa Statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress, and to organise and conduct elections of a new TTFA executive committee for a four-year mandate’.

If Fifa is concerned about the slow pace of the financial reforms necessary within the TTFA, local stakeholders have complained for months about Hadad’s refusal to abide by the constitution—in particular, his disinclination to activate standing committees to assist in the running of the sport.

Other ‘normalised’ football nations, including Guyana, retained standing committees. However, Hadad, Daniel, Romano, Gomez and acting general secretary Amiel Mohammed have generally tried to run football themselves, when—in the case of the committee members—they are not looking after their regular jobs.

Photo: Fifa-appointed normalisation committee member Trevor Nicholas Gomez.

In the last two years, only the Trinidad and Tobago Men’s and Women’s National Senior Teams have been operational–and even then only sporadically. The TTFA recently began screening for the Men’s National Under-20 and Women’s National Under-20 and Under-17 Teams.

Samoura’s statement regarding ‘the inability to make payments directly to the TTFA’s bank account due to a high risk of garnishment’ is sure to interest dozen of attorneys too, who have been anxious for proof that the local football body is ‘hiding’ money from its creditors.

The TTFA banks roughly US$1.5 mil (TT$10.2 mil) from Fifa in subventions every year. Hadad is believed to earn US$6,500 (TT$44,000) per month from Fifa for his duties as chairman, while the other committee members collect US$4,000 (TT$27,000) each.

Fifa’s response to the sluggish reform under Hadad and company is now to give more time to the controversial administrators rather than to replace them or leave the mess in the hands of a new football president.

Photo: Fifa-appointed normalisation committee vice-chairman Judy Daniel during her spell at the EMA over a decade ago.
Daniel has pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars for work with the normalisation committee although she resides in the US.

‘Under the above-described circumstances and considering all the urgent and complex challenges the TTFA is still facing,’ stated Samoura, ‘the Bureau decided on 17 December 2021 to extend the mandate of the normalisation committee until 31 March 2023 at the latest.’

Fifa’s unilateral decision to remain in charge of the TTFA was predicted by former board member Keith Look Loy and Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis.

There is precedent too abroad. Fifa extended its mandate to the normalisation committee of Egypt on three occasions, while Pakistan’s committee got four extensions—on 15 June 2020, 31 December 2020, 30 June 2021 and 30 September 2021.

In the case of the latter body, Pakistani football stakeholders ‘reclaimed control’ of its association by refusing to recognise the foreign-led committee. As a result, Pakistan football remains suspended by Fifa.

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

Fifa’s ability to dissolve democratically elected football bodies across the globe, on the whims of a seven-member committee established in Zurich, hinges on Article 8.2 of the Fifa Statutes, which states: ‘executive bodies of member associations may under exceptional circumstances be removed from office by the Council, in consultation with the relevant confederation, and replaced by a normalisation committee for a specific period of time.’

And, as Trinidad and Tobago football stakeholders are now aware, that ‘specific period of time’ can also be changed unilaterally by Fifa.

With local football administrators cowering, Infantino will relinquish control of the two-island republic’s football only when he is good and ready.

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (left) shows off a gift from Fifa president Gianni Infantino, during a courtesy call by the Swiss-Italian.

(Fifa Statement)

Dear Mr Hadad,

We are writing to inform you that the situation of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (hereinafter: TTFA) has been brought to the attention of the Bureau of the Fifa Council (hereinafter: the Bureau).

The Bureau was reminded that in accordance with article 8 paragraph 2 of the FIFA Statutes, a normalisation committee was appointed for the TTFA, whose tasks are to run the TTFA’s daily affairs, to establish a debt repayment plan that is implementable by the TTFA administration, to review and amend the TTFA Statutes (and other regulations where necessary), and ensure their compliance with the Fifa Statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress, and to organise and conduct elections of a new TTFA Executive Committee for a four-year mandate.

In addition, the Bureau was reminded that, in September 2020, in accordance with article 16 paragraph 1 of the Fifa Statutes, the TTFA was suspended with immediate effect due the fact that members of the former Board of Directors of the TTFA had appealed the above-mentioned decision of the Bureau before the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago.

In November 2020, FIFA was informed that all claims against it before the ordinary courts of Trinidad and Tobago had been closed. Consequently, the suspension of the TTFA was lifted with immediate effect.

Photo: Former TTFA president William Wallace poses during at a photoshoot on 9 January 2020.
Fifa stepped in to remove Wallace, via normalisation, on 17 March 2020.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/TTFA Media/CA-images)

The Bureau took note that the actions taken by members of the former Board of Directors of the TTFA greatly hindered and significantly impacted the work and mandate of the normalisation committee, as it had to devote considerable effort to countering such actions.

In addition, that the tasks assigned to the normalisation committee were subsequently delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and sanitary restrictions imposed by the government of Trinidad and Tobago. The Bureau also took note that there were certain issues that led to the backlog in the normal operations of the TTFA, including finance.

This contributed to the inability to appoint an independent auditor, which in turn meant that no audited financial statements could be prepared (and thus presented); the inability to make payments directly to the TTFA’s bank account due to a high risk of garnishment, thereby restricting the TTFA from making immediate payments when necessary and having more freedom with regard to the use of the funds; and the budget cuts imposed due to the multiple claims and payment demands from creditors.

Finally, the Bureau acknowledged that in November 2021, due to the current total debts of the TTFA, the normalisation committee notified the Office of the Supervisory of Insolvency of its intention to make a proposal under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act of Trinidad and Tobago (hereinafter: the Act).

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino struts at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva during an exhibition match on 10 April 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

The normalisation committee together with a licensed trustee under the Act will therefore manage the debt proposal process.

Under the above-described circumstances and considering all the urgent and complex challenges the TTFA is still facing, the Bureau decided on 17 December 2021 to extend the mandate of the normalisation committee until 31 March 2023 at the latest.

We thank you for taking note of the above and remain at your disposal in case of queries.

Yours sincerely,

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief 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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4 comments

  1. WTF. FIFA does not want to admit they effed up in putting Hadad in charge of the normalization committee so they double down on incompetence. The colonization of TnT football continues.

  2. What A Joke!
    True ” imp… ..erialism ” at its best!

    • Well said, Look Loy. The T.t.f.a members deserve what they get. Now they must wait another year-plus to see what gratification they will get from the Colonial boss Fifa.

  3. Well, I could have seen this coming from around the block. The FIFA bosses need to retain control of TTFA and to secure its vote in FIFA Congress. That security was assured with the DJW administration in place, but not with the Wallace administration, which FIFA removed. And God alone knows who and what will inherit TTFA from Hadad.
    So Infantino MUST maintain the current status quo. But THIS is exactly what TTFA members wrote to Infantino on bended knee LITERALLY begging for. They got EXACTLY what they asked for and now are cowed into subservience because they are afraid to stand on their own legs, and are addicted to dependence on FIFA funding that they never receive the benefit of.
    People will use and abuse you as you allow them to. So Trinidad and Tobago football deserves the contempt with which it is being treated by its masters in Zurich.

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