AS THE threat looms of either a ban or a suspension from FIFA, the United TTFA team, led by ousted TTFA president William Wallace, is not backing down from FIFA’s suggestion that they withdraw their case, against the global governing body for football by today, September 16.
The United TTFA team of Wallace, his vice-presidents Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Joseph Sam Phillip, Northern Football Association (NFA) president Anthony Harford and Super League president Keith Look Loy are challenging FIFA’s decision, on March 17, to remove Wallace and his executive from office and install a normalisation committee, led by businessman Robert Hadad, due to the TTFA’s mounting debt of $50 million.
On Monday, Justice Carol Gobin, in the Port of Spain High Court, granted an injunction to the United TTFA to stop Tuesday’s proposed Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), which was called by the normalisation committee to deal with United TTFA’s legal battle against FIFA.
FIFA, on August 26, gave the United TTFA a deadline of September 16 to withdraw their case from the High Court and have it heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), or face disciplinary action (either a ban or suspension) at the FIFA Congress, which will take place virtually on Friday.
Wallace said on Tuesday, “Our position at this time, at 4.42 (pm) on the 15th remains the same. We are going forward with our matter.”
He continued, “After that expose (on the local media about the Home of Football project) which actually was the evidence that we lacked, our primary action was based on knowing that this whole thing (installing of the normalisation committee) was a cover-up. This has reinforced our position.”
There is a view that this impending decision could be detrimental to the TT football hopefuls.
Wallace stated, “There is nothing to play for until 2021 March. That is the proposed (international) date that (Concacaf nations) may start back to play football because of covid19.
“They are talking about the youths being disenfranchised and all of that,” he continued. “One of the things that we’re overlooking is that domestic football can continue to play. Schools football can continue to play. The only thing what we’ll be banned from is FIFA-organised competitions.
“Where we are at the moment, over the last four years, if anyone can bring the evidence to me to show players going overseas or scholarships from clubs as against schools, if anyone can show me the real fall-out, let them show me. (Even) with this ban, players can still ply their trade. It doesn’t interfere with the individual players per se.”
Michael Awai, business development officer of Pro League club AC Port of Spain, and ex-national striker Ron La Forest, owner/coach of recently-formed Real West Fort United, are calling for United TTFA to withdraw from their legal battle against FIFA, for the good of TT football.
“If they don’t withdraw, and the 18th comes upon us, either the Council or the Congress bans the TTFA,” said Awai. “If we are banned, I think we’re looking at between two to five years.
“On the good side, it gives an opportunity to clear the table and get a proper structure (for us) going forward,” Awai added. “The bad side is that we would not be playing international games.”
Awai pointed out that creditors will still be seeking monies owed from the TTFA.
“The possibility exists that one creditor, or creditors, can file for liquidation of the company, of the TTFA,” he said. “If that happens, nobody will get any money. I’m hoping that good sense will prevail. What we’re trying to do is save the football for the young players coming up.”
According to La Forest, “FIFA (is like) your daddy, and the way we were brought up, you obey your mother and father as you go along. If these people continue to fight FIFA, the young footballers of this country are going to suffer badly. (The Wallace) administration has no regards for the younger ones, (they) are looking at themselves.”
With regards to opting out of the legal challenge against FIFA, the former national Under-17 coach said, “Everybody’s saying that. There is something called common sense. I always tell my players they sell common sense in the drug stores.”