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SPORTS MINISTER Shamfa Cudjoe has declared that the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs (MSYA) will remain neutral in the battle between ousted executives of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) and FIFA, the governing body for world football.

While the parties will make their case before the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Minister Cudjoe firmly declared that MSYA’s position is one of neutrality and that Government will not pick sides. “I am not here to be neither judge nor juror,” Cudjoe stated.

The executive of the William Wallace-led TTFA administration filed an appeal with CAS on April 6, after FIFA intervened in the running of Trinidad and Tobago football on March 17. FIFA then set up a normalisation committee headed by businessman Robert Hadad to restructure local football.

After initially filing the complaint of the TTFA executives, attorneys Matthew Gayle and Dr Emir Crowne followed up by filing an appellate brief on Friday, April 17, giving details of the complaint, including witnesses, and experts to be called.

Today, FIFA is expected to send its response to CAS. The Court will then look at the merits of each argument, deciding if there is a case that has been made, and give further instruction on how the matter would proceed.

Today, FIFA is expected to send its response to CAS. The Court will then look at the merits of each argument, deciding if there is a case that has been made, and give further instruction on how the matter would proceed.

Minister Cudjoe stressed MSYA’s neutrality in the matter and at the same time, she recognised that as the governing body for football, FIFA would take particular actions according to its statutes. “We have to deal with what is before us. What has happened has already happened,” Cudjoe added. “We can’t make FIFA not step in anymore. FIFA has already stepped in.”

She also wanted to clarify a miscommunication. The minister said she had no prior knowledge of FIFA’S decision to appoint a normalisation committee and added that FIFA informed her of their action, only after an official release was sent out by the world governing body on March 17.

“After the public announcement was made…it was only after I was told by FIFA,” Cudjoe stated. “As a matter of fact, when the press release was circulated on the media and the media contacted me, I couldn’t even give media (a) comment because they (FIFA) had not been in contact with me on the matter.”


SOURCE: T&T Express