FORMER TT Football Association (TTFA) board member Brent Sancho believes the only way local football operations can return to some sort of administrative normalcy is to ensure the ousted William Wallace regime stands down its legal fight against the sport’s global governing body FIFA.
The ex-national defender was angered by the many accusations, including “mismanagement,” against the administration of Wallace, who served at the helm of local football from November 2019 to March 2020.
In mid-March, FIFA removed the TTFA executive “under exceptional circumstances,” citing low financial management methods and massive debt. FIFA then appointed a normalisation committee, headed by businessman Robert Hadad, to temporarily run the affairs of local football and place primary emphasis on dissolving its $50 million debt.
The former TT executive decided to take this matter against FIFA to the TT High Court instead of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), claiming it would not get a fair hearing at CAS. It is currently fighting FIFA on its decision to disband the group, claiming the world football association has no right to interfere with a democratically elected local body.
Sancho says this recent rivalry between the ousted regime and FIFA risks the dismantlement of local football on an extensive scale.
In addition to the legal débâcle, Wallace also signed off on three contracts to Avec Sports (uniforms), national coach Terry Fenwick and Ramesh Ramdhan, none of which got the required agreement from board members.
Since these findings were made public by regional sports broadcaster Sportsmax, members of Wallace’s United TTFA, who campaigned in his favour at the December 2019 TTFA elections, have now turned on their leader.
The former Soca Warrior said, “The best way forward is for the membership to ensure that this United TTFA does not have permission to continue with the court case. I think the membership (TTFA) should call a meeting and stop them from carrying on this court case. These people (are) still going ahead with a court case that could sanction the country despite all of their shortfalls.”
Sancho thinks the normalisation committee should continue its work and also ensure anyone who has been found guilty of wrongdoing should not ever be allowed to run for office. This includes all former presidents and administrators who have shown a high level of dishonesty.
On Tuesday, a fractured United TTFA – Keith Look Loy, Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick, Joseph Sam Phillip and Anthony Harford – issued a press release asking all TTFA members to take part in a virtual conference meeting on Saturday “to allow the members the opportunity to speak on all of the above, as well as the overall tenure of the Wallace administration.”
This request was immediately bashed by Sancho and Selby Browne, president of the Veteran Footballers Foundation of TT (VFFOTT), who claimed this was a petty excuse to regain favour within the ranks.
The pair agree United TTFA is not a TTFA member and has no authority to call a general meeting of the TTFA. The TTFA constitution provides for a minimum of 50 per cent of the membership to call in writing for a general meeting.
Sancho posted in an emotional response on Facebook on Wednesday: “Be gone with you all. You have no moral authority to call any meeting and you certainly have no moral authority to pursue a course of action that could result in TTFA being banned by FIFA. No right-thinking member will subscribe to a meeting or support court proceedings.”
The Central FC owner also claims he was also prevented from expressing his view as a board member. He said United TTFA is either incapable of managing the business of football or willing conspirators in the further pillaging of TT football.
“I am angry because when I asked questions…several TTFA board members decided to ignore my concerns. Your ignorance went as far as muting my responses in a WhatsApp group formed for board members. I am angry that this web of deceit has once again brought shame on TT, has reached the light of day. Those members of United TTFA have the audacity to condemn their leader so that they can attempt to escape this outrage unscathed,” Sancho wrote.
He reaffirmed it was time to clear the floor and support Hadad and the normalisation committee while the country continues its search for a new breed of football administrators to take the reins soon. Sancho also asked for the FIFA-appointed committee to ensure there are appropriate checks and balances in place to prevent the abuse of power by opportunists in the future.
Sharing similar sentiments was president of the Eastern Football Association (EFA) Kieron Edwards. He believes the ejected executive is being misled to think they have a case against FIFA in the local High Court.
“They (Wallace administration) didn’t even consult with the member associations to find out or to let us know what was the case, the pros and cons. They need to pull this case out of the court. They should do the right thing and not jeopardise TT football. Now is the opportunity for them to make the right decision. This court matter is against FIFA’s statutes,” he said.
Additionally, Edwards called on Ramdhan and Fenwick to approach the normalisation committee to clear the air on these revamped contracts signed off by Wallace, without board approval. According to him, failure to do so would create the assumption they were also part of this hidden agenda.
He closed, “Ramdhan and Fenwick have the opportunity right now to do the right thing as men and say which contract was approved by the board. If the board approved one thing, they should stick to it or else we would have to say all of them were in collusion with this. If they have the best interest of this country at heart, they should come forward and explain. If not, they are no better than anyone that says they did the contract in error.”