WILLIAM WALLACE’S broken promise to withdraw from the legal battle against FIFA before 3 pm on September 23 – resulting in the indefinite suspension of the TT Football Association (TTFA) on the following day – should serve as a clear indication that the reinstated administration should not be trusted at the forthcoming Emergency General Meeting (EGM).
This was the sentiment shared by TTFA board member Brent Sancho, who expressed grave distrust in the reappointed executive of president Wallace and vice-presidents Clynt Taylor and Joseph Sam Phillip, after Tuesday’s court ruling by Justice Carol Gobin saw their powers restored at the helm of local football.
On September 22, Wallace’s team held an informal online meeting with the TTFA membership to decide if they should continue pursuit of their lawsuit against FIFA’s March 17 removal of the executive and installation of a normalisation committee, headed by Robert Hadad, to run its daily affairs.
The majority of members voted to end TTFA’s court action and Wallace assured he would follow through with their decision.
The then-ousted executive, however, missed the deadline to withdraw its claim by two minutes and, as a result, was indefinitely suspended by FIFA. Originally, the TTFA had been given until September 16 to withdraw the action, but FIFA had given an extension until September 23.
This action, Sancho believes, went against the membership’s request and has now seen TT indefinitely banned from all FIFA-sanctioned tournaments and international matches.
He questioned, “Who is going to trust Wallace? He had an informal meeting with the membership. The members clearly stated they wanted nothing to do with the court case and he went and did the opposite. Why would I trust somebody like that?
“Why would I trust someone who makes unilateral decisions with coaches and higher people and put in further debt? Wallace believes the players are collateral damage. I don’t trust that person.”
Prior to Justice Gobin’s ruling, on Tuesday, which returned to removed executive to control of the TTFA, Wallace stated, once victorious in the legal fight, he would convene an immediate EGM to chart a way forward.
After attaining a favourable result in the local court, the renewed TTFA president vowed to stick to his word and host the EGM.
Before a date is set, the TTFA board members must meet and agree unanimously, or by a majority, on a date for the EGM. It’s expected to be held by October 24 or 25 and will once again, comprise the TTFA membership.
According to TT Super League president and Wallace’s United TTFA slate member, Keith Look Loy, on Wednesday, “The membership will have its say and make the decision on how we proceed into the immediate future.”
Reflecting on Wallace’s inability to stand by his word to the membership to withdraw the case on September 23, Sancho is unconvinced the reinstated executive would choose differently this time around.
“That EGM carries no merit. It’s shambolic. It’s too late. Why are you coming to meet with the members now? Why not three months ago before you went to court? He lied to the membership. I wouldn’t trust a word coming out of his mouth.
“I would like to see the members call their own meeting. Let them discuss and ventilate. Let them, not Wallace –he could partake – but let the members be the ones (to have the final say), and maybe even a nationwide discussion. Football impacts everyone,” he added.
The former TT football team defender and Sports Minister also highlighted an array of shady deals conducted by Wallace’s team during their four-month tenure (December 2019 – March 2020).
National men’s coach Terry Fenwick was originally approved, by the board, to be paid US$17,500 over a two-year period with perks. However, it was revealed that the Englishman had officially signed for US$20,000 with the option to increase the duration of contract dependant on his successes at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Wallace was also one of two signatories to a $25 million sports apparel contract, without board approval, which required the embattled football association to purchase £125,000 in uniforms and other replicas if the country's national teams were to be outfitted after the first year.
Additionally, TTFA general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan was given a two-year contract, although it was agreed by the board, that he only could have gotten a one-year term.
Sancho continued, “They’ve made countless poor decisions. They’ve told the membership that FIFA can’t suspend us. We’ve had instances where they’ve lied to us about contracts and situations where they lied to the membership about who was going to court. They told members it was United TTFA but lo and behold, it was the TTFA.
“Now we face a situation where we may not be able to play international football for quite some time. The sad thing about it is that the persons this will impact the most are the players and not the people who have made these decisions. TT football is being put in a position where we could be further sanctioned and possibly expelled
“We certainly have dug a big hole for ourselves. I think many of the members’ plight was the ability to have a say, and that was never afforded to them. It is ironic that a group of men are talking about rights and justice and never allowed the membership to have a say on whether or not they should have go to court,” he concluded.