Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president William Wallace confirmed that he did not seek a meeting with Minister of Sport Shamfa Cudjoe before March but denied suggestions that he only reached out to her when they were in trouble with Fifa.
Wallace previously claimed that he tried unsuccessfully to meet Cudjoe and was only promised an audience last month, just two weeks before Fifa ordered a normalisation committee and declared that the local football body was under new management.
Cudjoe denied that she ignored the TTFA president.
“Wallace did not ask for a meeting with the Sport Minister,” said Cudjoe. “It is only about two weeks before [the normalisation committee] that they reached out. Before that they reached out to everyone but me.
“[…] Two years ago, there was an issue with the Women’s National Senior Team and their manager Jinelle James asked for the ministry’s intervention. When [then president David] John-Williams came here, he said ‘I don’t know what I’m doing here because I never requested this meeting. TTFA reports to FIFA’.
“And that has been the position and posture of TTFA ever since. So don’t play a different game with me now that you’re having trouble with FIFA.”
Wallace admitted that the sport minister was correct about the timeline of his request for a meeting. However he said it was unfair to blame his administration for the belligerence of his predecessor, John-Williams.
“The first time I would have written to Shamfa [Cudjoe] would have been when the bank accounts were frozen,” said Wallace. “However she did say that it is only when we got in trouble that we contacted her which was not true… She spoke about the attitude of the previous TTFA president but that [behaviour] didn’t come from us.
“I did meet with the Sport Company in January. But there was no urgent need to meet with the sport minister until March. And it didn’t have anything to do with Fifa.”
At present, Wallace is seeking to block Fifa’s move to replace him with normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad and has appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). He also wrote to First Citizens Bank and ordered them not to allow Hadad access to the TTFA’s bank account.
FCB is seeking legal advice before making a determination on the claims from Hadad and Wallace.
Although the TTFA is formed by an act of Parliament and its constitution does not permit a president to be moved by any outside party, including Fifa, the government has already begun talks with Hadad, as the de facto local football boss.
Minister of National Security Stuart Young negotiated with Hadad last week for use of the TTFA Home of Football facility and ignored a letter from Wallace, which voiced concern about the snub.