TT Football Association (TTFA) lawyer Matthew Gayle said they made a request to FIFA that all matters between the parties would be resolved through mediation, so it came as a shock when FIFA said the mediation it agreed to previously had nothing to do with the legality of the appointment of the normalisation committee.
On Monday, it was revealed that FIFA would consider mediation to resolve the matter regarding their decision to appoint a normalisation committee on March 17 to run T&T football, replacing the TTFA executive.
However, a statement by FIFA on Tuesday sent to the media, said, “For the sake of completeness, it should be noted that the mediation FIFA previously agreed to with United TTFA would never have dealt with the legality of the appointment of the normalisation committee and would only have covered some costs related issues. This mediation will not go ahead now in any event, owing to the failure of the lawyers of United TTFA to keep the matter confidential, in line with their professional and ethical obligations.”
Gayle is representing the former TTFA executive along with Dr Emir Crowne, Jason Jones and Crystal Paul.
On the issue where mediation would only be used for cost-related issues, Gayle told Newsday, “We have been asking FIFA to mediate on the entirety of the dispute. In fact, before any court proceedings were filed that was the request and that was our position that mediation is the best way to resolve all of the outstanding issues between the parties.
“As for that issue of cost, I am not really sure what FIFA is talking about.”
Gayle was not happy that FIFA chose to send a letter to the media. “Obviously when parties agree to take a particular position including to take part in mediation one would expect that a decision to pull out for whatever reason would be communicated by their counsel and not by way of an international press release.”
He also said the way the release was written could destroy the character of the TTFA lawyers. “One would also expect that it would be done in a way that was respectful and courteous and doesn’t seek to unnecessarily attack the professional character of the lawyers involved, who at the end of the day are just doing their job. To see this statement in the way we did (it is) disappointing.”
FIFA removed TTFA president William Wallace and executive members Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Joseph Sam Phillip, along with United TTFA members Keith Look Loy and Anthony Harford.
On May 18, the former TTFA executive decided to take the matter to the T&T High Court, instead of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), since they felt they would not get a fair hearing at the Switzerland-based CAS.
FIFA challenged the ousted TTFA executive’s move to have the case heard at the High Court, and the court set a date of July 29 to decide on the matter.
Gayle said the court date at the end of July is still on. “As far as I am concerned the deadline that was set by the court for the filing of submissions must be kept and the hearing must go forward.”
FIFA’s statement on Tuesday said, “FIFA does not, and will never, accept the jurisdiction of a local court in T&T to decide on the legality of the appointment of the normalisation committee currently appointed to run football in the territory.
“For the avoidance of doubt, FIFA only recognises the authority and jurisdiction of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in these matters. Any dispute regarding the appointment of a normalisation committee falls squarely within the jurisdiction of the CAS, and CAS alone.”