William Wallace, president of the ousted United T&T Football Association believes it's only football's world governing body- the FIFA or the courts can determine whether his organisation will regain governance of T&T football, and or prevent the country from being banned.
Wallace was responding to a commend by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Saturday, that government was willing to talk to both the United TTFA and the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee which replaced it in March.
"Nothing can be done now," Wallace said on Monday. He further stated, "Who does the Prime Minister want to talk to, the normalisation committee or the FIFA."
Rowley, at the opening of the Point Fortin Hospital and later on Andre Baptiste's I95fm programme on Sunday, said while he did not want to give anyone any false hope by the government's desire to step in, he was not willing to chance the country becoming an outcast in football and called on both parties to work in the interest of the sport.
Wallace, who only a few hours earlier met with the executive of the Secondary Schools Football League to chart the way forward for this year's SSFL season, said "I don't know who are the parties he wants to talk to, that's the point. We have a matter before the courts and there is not much that can come out from it. If FIFA wants to talk to us, we are willing to talk. It's FIFA we reached out to for mediation and to talk, so if they want to talk, we will talk, there is no comment beyond that."
The local football boss said Rowley and government desire to talk cannot even be a consideration right now: "Any mediation that has to take place has to be between the legal representative of the FIFA and ourselves. We have reached out four times already to the FIFA in that regards." He also told Guardian Media Sports that the court will also have to decide on whether a request by the FIFA to have the matter settled in the CAS on July 29."
Wallace said his organisation has made four attempts at mediation with the FIFA and has received no response to date. Wallace's team of Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick, Joseph Sam Phillip and himself, was removed on March 17 after being elected to office on November 24, 2019, after, a FIFA/Concacaf fact-finding mission to Trinidad and Tobago in February found extremely low overall financial management methods, combined with a massive debt, have resulted in the TTFA facing a very real risk of insolvency and illiquidity.
Wallace and his team have since challenged the decision of the FIFA through the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne, Switzerland in April but then withdrew their appeal for what Wallace described as institutional bias by CAS against the TTFA. In June the United TTFA agreed to take the matter to the Trinidad and Tobago High Court.
Wallace also took offence to the perception that the country will be banned and asked where did he get that from. "That is something people have been talking about all the time, I don't know why they are arriving at that position. Who wants T&T football to be banned? nobody wants that."
Asked whether there is a possibility the country can be banned for their challenge of the FIFA, Wallace said, "I don't know. I don't know the outcome, we will just have to wait and see how that develops.
However, FIFA said, “The removal of the Normalization Committee before appropriate controls, policies, and procedures are in place at the TTFA will not only jeopardise the achievements to date and reintroduce the threats to the solvency of the TTFA, but it will be a disincentive to FIFA to provide any further funding to the TTFA given the absence of appropriate controls.”
Contacted yesterday, Nigel Romano, a member of the normalisation committee, along with chairman Robert Hadad and Judy Daniel, said any help the Prime Minister can provide at this time will be appreciated. "We are working," Romano said.