CHAIRMAN of the FIFA-appointed normalisation committee Robert Hadad believes divine intervention may be the only solution to help save the TT Football Association (TTFA) from escaping possible sanctions from the sport’s global governing body.
Owing to the ongoing legal entanglement between FIFA and the ousted TTFA executive, Hadad, like many other local football enthusiasts, breathed a sigh of relief when there was no mention of the debacle by FIFA president Gianni Infantino during his address to Congress on Friday.
Since the removal of TTFA president William Wallace and his vice-presidents from the helm of the local fraternity, in March, after just three months in charge, the ejected administrators are contesting the legality of FIFA’s decision to dethrone the executive and install the Hadad-led committee to run its daily affairs.
According to FIFA, the decision to remove TTFA’s top-order was based on its “low financial management methods” and “massive debt.”
Wallace is the head of the United TTFA team that successfully challenged for leadership of the TTFA in November 2019. Its ousted members are Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Joseph Sam Phillip.
On September 14, 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, however, on August 26, gave the United TTFA a deadline of September 16 to withdraw their case from the TT High Court and have it heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), or face disciplinary action (either a ban or suspension) at Friday’s FIFA Congress.
When this matter was overlooked at Congress, a letter was sent out on the same day by FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura to Hadad which gave TT a final deadline of September 23 “to withdraw all types of claims against FIFA before the TT courts and comply with the obligations under the FIFA statutes.
“Failure to comply with this directive within this revised deadline will result in the matter being brought to the attention of the relevant FIFA bodies to decide on the suspension of the TTFA (TT Football Association).”
On this most recent statement to the ousted executive by FIFA, Hadad kept his words short but called on TT’s football loyalists to lift the future of the sport in prayer as the possibility of suspension or expulsion still looms.
“I’m just happy we lived to fight another day,” he said after the legal matter was not discussed at Congress.
“Join me in saying some prayers for this country’s football. That’s all I could ask for anyone to do,” he added.
When pressed further for a comment on FIFA’s exclusion of the matter at Congress and future of TT football, Hadad replied, “I don’t want to make any comment more because this is a court matter. I don’t really want to say anything at this point. Bear with me until we see what happens on Wednesday.”
United TTFA, however, has stood their ground against FIFA and remain undeterred by the new deadline date set by the governing body. According to United TTFA member, Keith Look Loy, the United TTFA has no intention of withdrawing its case from the local court even though they risk FIFA sanctions.
If the TT High Court rules in favour of Wallace’s regime and deems the installation of the normalisation committee illegal, thus confirming Wallace’s administration as legitimate leaders of TTFA, an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) will be held to deliberate the fraternity’s leadership moving forward.
This was revealed in a document issued by removed TTFA president Wallace, on Wednesday.
They remain confident of a legal victory but the statement also read, "Should United TTFA not withdraw its High Court case against FIFA, we expect the matter to be settled in October. If the High Court decides against TTFA, we here pledge that we shall drop the matter and not pursue any appeal.”