ACTING chairman of the TT Pro League and TT Football Association (TTFA) board member Brent Sancho has slammed as “disrespectful” and “a slap to the face” the decision by ousted TTFA president William Wallace to call a virtual membership meeting on the eve of FIFA's deadline. The meeting will be held at 7pm tonight.
The unsigned invitation letter was issued by Wallace to the TTFA member delegates on Monday and "TTFA vs FIFA case" was listed as the agenda.
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 the TTFA executive from office and instal a normalisation committee, led by businessman Robert Hadad.
FIFA said the decision was owing to TTFA’s mounting debt and "very real risk of insolvency and illiquidity."
Wallace's executive has called FIFA's rationale as unfair, claiming they were not given a chance to implement their plan after just four months in charge. Their fight against their removal has become a legal one.
But 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 instead at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), or face suspension proceedings. FIFA insists CAS is the sole authority to hear disputes between FIFA and its Member Associations.
At last Friday's FIFA Congress, TTFA's battle with FIFA was not discussed but FIFA later extended the deadline to the United TTFA team to Wednesday. FIFA reiterated that TTFA faces suspension if the case is not dropped from the local court.
Wallace’s letter to TTFA delegates on Tuesday read, “The meeting would be hosted by the president and elected officers of the TTFA. Members are asked to join the meeting with their video and volume on.
“Only members on the list of delegates would be allowed into the meeting and we ask all to be respectful to the chair and the meeting as we discuss the business of the association.”
Wallace's convening of a meeting to discuss the TTFA-FIFA legal battle has raised eyebrows as the United TTFA vehemently opposed a similar meeting scheduled for September 15.
On September 14, Justice Carol Gobin, in the Port of Spain High Court, granted an injunction to the United TTFA to stop last Tuesday’s proposed Emergency General Meeting (EGM), which was called by the normalisation committee to discuss United TTFA’s legal battle against FIFA.
Look Loy sought to clarify why tonight's meeting is different from last Tuesday's.
“That was a court injunction on the normalisation committee, on Hadad,” Look Loy said. “The court also ordered Hadad not to use the (TTFA) letterhead. The court is saying they don’t have the authority to call a meeting.”
He continued, “Wallace is the president, he could call a meeting. This is not an official meeting under the constitution because the minimum (time frame to call it) is ten days. It is an informal meeting to discuss matters with the membership.”
Sancho, who has been a vocal critic against the United TTFA’s challenge to FIFA, countered, “We’ve received no correspondence of a meeting. Most of the members read it through an online publication but (nothing) was sent which, again, was a slap in the face to the membership.”
The former TT defender and owner of Pro League club Central FC added, “I think it’s a complete disrespect to the footballing community in Trinidad. The continued disrespect to the membership and the executive board is being shown. Here we are, approximately six months into this situation and (the United TTFA) continue to show high levels of disrespect.”