UNITED TT Football Association (TTFA) members, including former TTFA president William Wallace and spokesperson Keith Look Loy, will not attend an "illegal" September 15 extraordinary meeting called by TTFA membership, according to Keith Look Loy. The virtual meeting, convened by TTFA members and facilitated by the Robert Hadad-led normalisation committee, will address the United TTFA's court battle against FIFA and whether it should continue in the High Court.TTFA members will get the opportunity to vote on the matter via Zoom at 6 pm.
On March 17, FIFA removed former TTFA president Wallace and his executive from office (deputies Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Joseph Sam Phillip) who were elected in November 2019. FIFA appointed a normalisation committee to run local football for two years, saying the decision was made because of the association’s financial woes and massive debt.
In April, the ousted executive made an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland, saying the decision was a breach of the TTFA’s constitution. However, Wallace and his team felt they would not get a “fair hearing” from CAS and appealed to the local High Court on May 18.
On August 13, Justice Carol Gobin said that the matter must be resolved in TT but days later, FIFA insisted that CAS was the sole authority to handle FIFA disputes with its member associations.
Look Loy, who is president of the TT Super League, told Newsday on Sunday that the United TTFA members will not be present at the meeting.
Look Loy said, "Under the constitution of the TTFA, which has not been suspended by anyone, the only body that could change or suspend the constitution of the TTFA is the general membership. The constitution is in effect and under the constitution, Hadad and his normalisation committee are not recognised...so he cannot call any meeting, that is an illegal meeting and I and other members of TTFA will not be attending that meeting."
Look Loy said attendance would legitimise the gathering.
"We are not going to, by way of our participation in that meeting, legitimise something that is illegal."
However, some members of the TTFA are grateful for the meeting to discuss the matter which has grave consequences for the TTFA. FIFA recently issued an ultimatum, giving the TTFA until September 16 to withdraw the matter from the local court or face expulsion from FIFA.
President of the Eastern Football Association Kieron Edwards said a meeting of TTFA members will clarify a way forward.
He said, "If they voted and said they don't want the court matter the only legal thing for the lawyers to do is pull the matter out of court, so we are hoping that decision is made on the 15th. Either we keeping it or we removing it (from court) and justice will prevail and good sense will prevail."
TTFA members who are hoping for the court matter to be stopped will need the majority of votes.
"That is the democracy that we are in based on our constitution and we need to follow the rule of law...and the democracy of the organisation that we serve," Edwards said.
TTFA board member Brent Sancho said it a foregone conclusion which way TTFA members will vote.
He said, "I think the decision by the membership has already been made. The request for the meeting clearly stated that the membership supported a resolution to stop the court proceedings by United TTFA. All of the members have maintained firstly, the United TTFA have never sought consultation of any of the membership and they have not even sought consultation by the most important stakeholders – the players and the coaches."
Sancho said fighting FIFA in court will destroy TT football. "I strongly believe that if we are suspended or banned, that will be it. I think we will go into extinction simply because there is no one within the United TTFA could pay $50 million in debt, especially with FIFA not helping anymore and the Government saying that they not helping anymore. Where is the money going to come from?"