The constitutional impasse between Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams and the general membership appeared to take another convoluted turn on Friday, as FIFA deputy secretary general Zvonimir Boban offered a learned opinion on the issue.
Boban, a former Croatia and AC Milan star, appeared to side with the embattled John-Williams with regard to his controversial adjournment of the local football body’s AGM on 17 March, 2018.
Boban said his opinion was based on information forwarded by the TTFA president and was of a general nature and “without prejudice to any decision that any FIFA competent body may be called to pass in this or similar matters in the future.”
“According to the information reported in your letter, we deem that the decisions to reconvene the General Meetings of 9 December 2017 and 17 March 2018 would appear to have been in line with the relevant provisions of the TTFA Statutes,” stated Boban, “as on both occasions the quorum was not achieved 30 minutes after the scheduled start of the meetings…”
But there was a caveat.
“[…] Since the election of a member of the TTFA Board of Directors is on the agenda,” Boban continued, “a quorum will be required at the next duly convened General Meeting.”
What John-Williams neglected to tell Boban in his own email, though, was that the matter of an election to the TTFA Board of Directors was not on the agenda on 17 March 2018.
Boban’s email referred to the election of Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) president Keith Look Loy to the TTFA Board. However, this was done on 23 December, 2017.
As such, Boban was, arguably, misdirected by the TTFA president or, at best, not fully apprised of the agenda at the last AGM. Since there was no election business to be conducted, there was no reason for the AGM to be reconvened—John-Williams admitted there was a quorum in two of the last four general meetings.
The likelihood that the TTFA president will attempt to use Boban’s email to justify his recent stance—despite the fact that Boban appeared to be leaning on an irrelevant clause—will probably only add to the existing confusion, when the football body attempts to hold its 2017 AGM, for the fifth time, on Glorious Saturday.
Further, Wired868 understands John-Williams has begun telling members that Look Loy’s election to the Board on 23 December, 2017 was invalid, which would then justify his controversial behaviour earlier this month. However, the TTFA President’s email to FIFA confirmed that there were 31 members at the AGM of 23 December, which was at least six more than necessary for a quorum.
Once Look Loy’s election to the TTFA Board is valid, there was no need to reconvene the AGM on 17 March and there will be no need to do so on 31 March either.
The TTFA has not yet released FIFA’s statement to the public and it was leaked to Wired868 by a source. The expectation is that the football president might try to quote selectively from the document—possibly with the help of a friendly reporter—in an effort to further confuse the public and the less perceptive stakeholders.
i95.5FM reporter Andre Baptiste would usually hold a sport show on Saturday afternoon but is abroad with the Soca Warriors at present.
John-Williams, who is a contractor, has been accused by members of repeatedly postponing the AGM to avoid fielding questions on his financial stewardship as well as on construction work at the football body’s technical centre and hotel—dubbed the “Home of Football.”
(Letter to FIFA on 19 March 2018)
To: Mr Véron Mosengo-Omba,
Director Member Associations and Development Africa – Caribbean.
I write to you in my capacity as President seeking advice/clarification on a matter related to the attached TTFA constitution, more specifically Clause 24.
This request is being made following the adjournment of a TTFA Annual General Meeting (AGM) last Saturday 17 March 2018, due to a lack of quorum, and to which there were divergent views expressed by the membership as to the legality of such a position based on the TTFA’s constitution.
Here are the chronology of meetings and events that led up to this issue:
25 November 2017: The 2017 AGM of TTFA was convened after a roll call was done by the General Secretary. A quorum was present (37 out of 49 delegates). It is to be noted that on the agenda was the election of a member to the Board of Directors of the TTFA.
Before the meeting could continue, a motion was moved and passed to adjourn the meeting for a period of 14 days (9 December 2017) to allow members the opportunity to go through the convocation documents in order for them to make a meaningful contribution to the AGM.
9 December 2017: The meeting was reconvened, and at the scheduled start time for the meeting there were five delegates present out of a possible 49. The Chairman (the TTFA President) ruled that there was not a quorum and would wait 30 minutes to see if a quorum could be achieved in order to restart the meeting. After 30 minutes, only nine additional delegates showed up.
The Chairman ruled that the meeting could not go on due to the lack of a quorum. One delegate objected stating that a quorum was not needed however the Chairman stuck to his ruling. The meeting was to be reconvened on 23 December 2017.
23 December 2017: The President was unable to attend the meeting due to illness. The meeting was chaired by a TTFA vice president. There were 31 delegates present and the meeting went ahead with some of the agenda items. The meeting was not completed after a motion was moved and passed to adjourn the meeting again and to be reconvened within 30 days in order to deal with the approval of the 2016 Financial Statements of the TTFA among other things, such as the presentation of the Activity Report of the General Secretary.
(Editor’s Note: John-Williams did not tell FIFA that Look Loy was elected to the Board of Directors at this properly convened AGM).
9 February 2018: The AGM was reconvened. The President was absent because he was out of the country on FIFA duties. There was a quorum for this meeting. The meeting was chaired by the Vice President of the TTFA and was again adjourned by a motion moved and passed, which in the main was demanding for the President to be present to answer questions to be posed by the membership. That reconvened meeting took place on 17 March 2018.
17 March 2018: The President was present and presided over the meeting. At the scheduled time for the start of the reconvened AGM (fourth time), there were four delegates present. The Chairman ruled that there was not a quorum and would wait for 30 minutes to allow other members to arrive in order to achieve a quorum. Thirty minutes later a roll call was conducted and [an] additional 11 delegates arrived.
At that point, the Chair ruled that there was not a quorum to start the reconvened meeting. There were a number of protests and disagreements from some of the delegates, however the Chair stood by his ruling.
Point of Clarification required: Based on the preceding chronology of meeting events, was the ruling by the president to adjourn the meetings of 9 December 2017 and 17 March 2019, for lack of a quorum, constitutionally correct vis a vis Clause 24 of the TTFA constitution.
My intention is to ensure that both the membership of the TTFA and myself are better informed on the subject clause in order to ensure the effective administration of our future meetings.
Please let me know if you require any further clarifications and look forward to your early reply.
(Letter to TTFA on 23 March, 2018)
To: David John-Williams,
We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 19 March 2018 related to the clarification of a constitutional clause regarding the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) Annual General Meeting, the contents of which received our full attention.
In this context, we note that article 24 paragraph 2 of the TTFA Statutes (as ratified by the TTFA on 12 July 2015) stipulates that: “If a quorum is not achieved 30 minutes after the scheduled start of the General meeting, the General Meeting shall be reconvened 14 days later at the same place or at a venue notified by the General Secretary at least seven days prior to the meeting date.”
In addition, we note that article 24 paragraph 3 of the TTFA Statutes reads: “A quorum is not required for the second meeting of the General Meeting unless any item on the agenda proposes the amendment of the Constitution, the election of a member of the Board of Directors, the dismissal of a member of a body of TTFA, the expulsion of a Member or the dissolution of TTFA.”
According to the information reported in your letter, we deem that the decisions to reconvene the General Meetings of 9 December 2017 and 17 March 2018 would appear to have been in line with the relevant provisions of the TTFA Statutes, as on both occasions the quorum was not achieved 30 minutes after the scheduled start of the meetings. Furthermore, we also underline that, since the election of a member of the TTFA Board of Directors is on the agenda, a quorum will be required at the next duly convened General Meeting.
Furthermore, we appeal to the TTFA and its members to adhere to their responsibilities and ensure that all agenda items of the Annual General Meeting are finally addressed.
Finally, we kindly draw your attention to the fact that this information is of a general nature only and, therefore, without prejudice to any decision that any FIFA competent body may be called to pass in this or similar matters in the future.
We thank you for taking note of the above.
FIFA Deputy Secretary General,