Tue, Feb


FORMER president of the T&T Football Association William Wallace says Sport Minister Shamfa Cudjoe’s stance on the association’s ongoing legal battle against FIFA is confusing.

The world governing body of football, in March, removed the TTFA executive and appointed a normalisation committee owing to financial woes. It is chaired by businessman Robert Hadad.

The executive has since continued to state it is still in charge of TTFA’s affairs and has since filed appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) and T&T’s High Court. They said based on the association’s constitution, FIFA cannot remove the executive.

In a release issued, on Saturday, Wallace said he has listened to each of Cudjoe’s “public pronouncements” on the matter. But, “each time, alas, I am left more confused.

He said in an interview on local radio station i95.5FM on Friday, she said, “William Wallace and his entourage should work with the normalisation committee”.

He said he found the statement “disrespectful,” and that the “duly, democratically elected vice-presidents of the TTFA” are not his “entourage.

“Ms Cudjoe is a member of the same parliament that has created and given life to the TTFA. Is she, then, suggesting that decisions made by the Parliament should be treated with scant courtesy? Is she, as Minister of Sport agreeing, that the constitution that governs the TTFA, or perhaps even the constitution that governs any national sporting organisation can be set aside by a foreign power?”

He said when the decision was announced, in March, Cudjoe said she had known about the impending decision “for some time.” But he said she “changed her tune” after being asked about that and openly supported FIFA’s decision.

“However, when questioned, she declared that she remained neutral, having taken no sides in the matter. Displaying this brand of continuing neutrality yesterday, the Minister called on the elected officers to work with the appointed normalisation committee.”

He said it is no secret he and his team have proposed mediation to FIFA.

He alleged she and Hadad confirmed the decision to appoint the committee was made in early January or possibly earlier.

“It is also unfortunate that even now, with the matter before the court, the minister is continuing to make pronouncements as to what should happen. The minister has also said that since we were elected to office we did not ask to meet with her.”

He said to his knowledge, it is “standard practice” for the Sport Minister to congratulate any newly-elected sporting executive and invite the members to meet.

“We have taken what we perceive to be a stand against injustice. We are prepared to endure whatever pain we have to endure so that all of us may be better for it.

“We reject both positions out-of-hand. We have stood—and continue to stand—against all injustice. And if it comes down to a choice between country and ourselves, we are more than aware that this is not a real choice. Shalom.”

The letter was signed by Wallace, who referred to himself as the elected TTFA president.

SOURCE: T&T Newsday