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Hadad: It’s been problem after problem.
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Head of TT Football Association (TTFA) normalisation committee Robert Hadad says it has been problem after problem since his appointment after FIFA threatened to ban T&T if the ousted executive does not obey its statutes. The world governing body of football issued its final warning on Wednesday.

On March 17, FIFA removed TTFA president William Wallace and his executive, who were elected in November 2019 and, instead, appointed a normalisation committee led by Hadad – a businessman – to run TTFA’s affairs.

Wallace and his executive appealed their removal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland. The team later indicated it did not believe CAS would give it a “fair hearing.” So on May 18, they appealed to the local High Court.

Since then, the two bodies have been at loggerheads over which playing field their legal battle should kick off on. FIFA insists the matter can only and “must” be heard at CAS.

The most recent development was on August 12, when Justice Carol Gobin denied FIFA’s request to strike out the claim because its rules prevent member associations from starting proceedings against it in the local courts. FIFA has since appealed.

But in a letter to Hadad on Wednesday, FIFA reiterated the matter should be heard at CAS, adding that it is “very concerned regarding the decision of the claim and the argument used to dismiss FIFA’s application.

“In this context, we draw your attention to article 58 of the FIFA statutes which expressly contains the prohibition of recourse to ordinary courts of law unless specifically provided for.

“FIFA takes such a principle with utmost seriousness and therefore considers that it is the responsibility of its member associations to ensure that this principle is implemented...A failure to comply with this directive would result in the commencement of suspension proceedings via the relevant FIFA bodies.”.”

It said the ousted executive has until September 16 to withdraw its claim from the local High Court.

Speaking with Newsday on Wednesday afternoon, Hadad said, “I am trying to do a job of getting football back in good stead and (it has been) from one problem to the next...It is self-explanatory. FIFA is clear that all member associations must follow their statutes.”

He later issued a release, saying, “FIFA has been clear from the day of the appointment of the normalisation committee, and on several occasions since, that the committee alone has the mandate to run and manage the affairs of the TTFA. FIFA’s letter reaffirms this position.

“Members of the previous administration know very well that FIFA statutes require all FIFA member associations to manage disputes through CAS. And members of the previous administration also know very well the consequences for any member which disregards that key requirement for FIFA membership. Ultimately, our teams and their coaches and players, and of course our fans, are the most important thing for the future of football in our country.”

Calls to Wallace went unanswered, but Newsday understands he wrote to FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Wednesday.

The letter said, “Normalisation is a draconian and unfair act which seeks to undermine the independence of the TTFA and ride roughshod over the will of the electorate who voted for the United TTFA slate in November 2019. Added to this, the fact is, that in all the countries that were normalised, in all instances, it is clear that the incumbent executive was in breach of FIFA statutes or acted in a manner that justified FIFA’s intervention. In the case of TT, the two reasons |given by FIFA for their intervention clearly had nothing to do with the new executive.”

Wallace said his team remains “willing and ready to work with FIFA to resolve the outstanding issues” but normalisation should have never been an option.

“By refusing to work together with us, and by repeatedly refusing to engage in mediation as we have called not less than six times for FIFA to do, you run the risk of irreparably damaging football in T&T. “FIFA cannot continue to ignore our calls to mediate an agreement between the TTFA and FIFA and maintain any moral authority. FIFA must recognize and work with the duly elected executive of the TTFA. Likewise, TTFA must recognize, and does, the need for financial assistance and guidance from FIFA in resolving TTFA’s current financial malaise.If you will not talk and if no agreement is reached, the TTFA is left with no choice but to continue on the path FIFA has forced us down through the courts.”

TTFA technical committee chairman Keith Look Loy said he preferred to comment after he chats with the team’s lawyers – Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle, Jason Jones and Crystal Paul – on Thursday.

Gayle told Newsday he found the latest development to be “regrettable,” adding that the letter was an “overt threat.”

Look Loy later sent Newsday a response to Hadad’s release, which was sent to the ousted executive as instructed by FIFA. He said, “Oh, he (saying he) cares about players and coaches. The day after they were locked out of the Ato Boldon Stadium, and after leaving them high and dry for five months.

“FIFA demonstrates it is prepared to throw him under the bus by charging him with getting the ‘former officers’ to drop the case.”

This story was originally published with the title "United TTFA gets September 16 deadline before FIFA ban" and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.

The world governing body of football, FIFA, has issued a final warning to the ousted TT Football Association (TTFA) executive to obey its statutes. FIFA said failure to comply "would result in the commencement of suspension proceedings via the relevant FIFA bodies."

On March 17, FIFA removed TTFA president William Wallace and his executive, who were elected in November 2019, instead appointing a normalisation committee led by businessman Robert Hadad to run TTFA's affairs.

Wallace and his executive appealed their removal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland. The team later indicated it did not believe CAS would give it a “fair hearing." Instead – on May 18 – they appealed to the local High Court.

Since then, the two bodies have been at loggerheads over which playing field their legal battle should kick off on. FIFA insists the matter can only and "must" be heard at CAS.

The most recent development was on August 12, when Justice Carol Gobin denied FIFA’s request to strike out the claim because its rules prevent member associations from starting proceedings against it in the local courts. FIFA has since appealed.

But in a letter to Hadad on Wednesday, FIFA reiterated the matter should be heard at CAS, adding that it is "very concerned regarding the decision of the claim and the argument used to dismiss FIFA's application.

"In this context, we draw your attention to article 58 of the FIFA statutes which expressly contains the prohibition of recourse to ordinary courts of law unless specifically provided for.

"FIFA takes such a principle with utmost seriousness and therefore considers that it is the responsibility of its member associations to ensure that this principle is implemented."

It said the ousted executive has until September 16 to withdraw its claim from the local High Court.