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Fri, Feb

Gayle questions FIFA as it moves to help Zimbabwean FA clear debt.
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ATTORNEY Matthew Gayle wants to know FIFA’s “real motive” behind appointing a normalisation committee to the TT Football Association (TTFA). This was his response to news that the world governing body for football agreed to help the Zimbabwean Football Association (ZIFA) clear its debt.

The Herald newspaper in Zimbabwe, on Saturday, reported that FIFA would “bail out” ZIFA of its US$10 million debt. It said auditors are currently verifying figures with organisations and individuals owed. “FIFA have approved two of the eight project applications, which ZIFA tendered, under the FIFA Forward Programme.

“The other project which, was approved and will receive funding from Zurich, is the association’s restructuring.”

But in March, FIFA removed the former TTFA executive and appointed a normalisation committee owing to “low financial management methods” and “a massive debt.”

The TTFA currently has a debt of approximately TT$50 million – a significantly lower total than ZIFA.

Gayle, along with attorney Dr Emir Crowne are representing the embattled TTFA executive in an appeal against the committee’s appointment to TT’s High Court.

Speaking with Newsday on Sunday afternoon, Gayle said the decision shows the “inconsistency and unfairness” of FIFA’s actions against the TTFA.

“And it does suggest to me – in my humble opinion – that the real motive for the removal was not quite what FIFA has stated it was.”

He added, “As to how it would help the legal case, we would need some time to think through the implications of it and study the actual happenings on the ground as it were in Zimbabwe.”

He said despite FIFA’s claim the normalisation committee – headed by businessman Robert Hadad – is the “only legitimate leader,” of the TTFA, the constitution says otherwise. “It’s not a matter of my belief, it’s clear the TTFA is governed by its constitution.

“There are means for removal of the elected executive, and a normalisation committee is being appointed FIFA is not one of those ways.”

He said unless their tenure comes to an end or they retire, they remain the “duly elected executive.”

On Saturday, TTFA technical committee chairman Keith Look Loy told Newsday he finds the decision shows how “cynical and hypocritical” FIFA is.