Osmond Downer, a vice president of the T&T Football Referees Association (TTFRA) has written to the the membership of the T&T Football in relationship to a petition to seek to have the court matter involving the former executive offices of the sports and the FIFA, the world governing body for the sport moved from the T&T high court to the the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) which is Switzerland.
Guardian Media Sports has been reporting since Friday that the membership intention is to stop FIFA from taking action against the TTFA if former president William Wallace and his three vice presidents - Clynt Taylor, Joseph-Warrick and Joseph Sam Phillip, refuse to comply with FIFA's directive issued on Wednesday for them to withdraw their legal matter from the T&T High Court in Port-of-Spain against FIFA by September 16. The petition is also to remove the officers.
FIFA removed the TTFA executive on March 17 and appointed a Normalisation committee to manage the TTFA on March 27. The dismissed officers who were elected on November 24, 2019 at the TTFA annual general meeting (AGM) decided to challenged FIFA's decision to remove them from office. However, during a meeting on Thursday between stakeholders of the sport and Shamfa Cudjoe, the Minister of Sports and Community Development, the Minister called on the members to take action and let good sense prevail in the matter.
Here's Downer, one of the framers of the TTFA Constitution letter to the membership on Monday:
Dear Colleagues in Football,
Please allow me to comment on certain statements emanating from some stakeholders in football in the Country concerning the request for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the TTFA to consider the removal of the Officers of the TTFA who were duly elected at the November 2019 AGM of the TTFA, and who are also expressing concerns about a possible suspension or expelling of the TTFA by FIFA, especially in light of FIFA's recent letter calling on the elected Officers to withdraw their matter from the local High Courts by September 16th, with the pending meeting of the FIFA Annual Congress on September 18.
The stipulations for requesting an EGM are clearly stated in Article 29 of the TTFA's Constitution. "More than 50% of the accredited delegates to the General Meeting (not of the members) must make the request in writing”. Of course, with each Member Association or League submitting an official letter supporting the request with the names of its allotted delegates supporting the request. Of course, also, all Member Associations or Leagues must be provided with a copy of the entire motion and its proposers which is to be debated at the EGM.
<Voting by secret ballot in Covid-19>
The composition of the General Meeting of the TTFA is stated in Article 22 of the Constitution. Note that the total number of delegates allotted is 47; therefore, a number of at least 24 of the accredited Delegates is needed to request a valid EGM.
Now, let us deal with the requested dismissal of the elected officers. Again Article 38 of the TTFA's Constitution is clear on this. Note para. 2: “The motion for dismissal must be justified. It will be sent to the Members of the BOD and/or to the Members along with the agenda”. Note also para. 3:” The person or body in question has the right to defend him/herself”. Also para.4: “The motion for dismissal shall be decided by means of secret ballot. For the motion to be passed a majority of three-quarters of the valid notes is required”. How are we to achieve secret balloting in a virtual meeting in these COVID-19 times?
Finally, note that the FIFA letter installing the Normalization Committee has removed only the Executive (Board of Directors) of the TTFA and replaced it with the Normalization Committee. FIFA has not suspended the Constitution of the TTFA. Also, FIFA has not abolished the Standing Committees that were constitutionally created by the BOD before the advent of the Normalization Committee. Also to my knowledge, FIFA has not removed the General Secretary (GS) from his post. I have been reliably informed that FIFA wrote to the GS, after the establishment of the Normalization Committee, requesting that the GS cooperate with the NC.
I shall not deal here with the merits or demerits of FIFA's removal of the TTFA's Executive and its replacement with the Normalization Committee. This matter is now before the highest Courts of the Country and may very well be sub judice.
(TTFA suspension not on FIFA congress agenda)
Now, a look at the hysteria surrounding the possible suspension or expulsion of the TTFA at the upcoming FIFA Annual Ordinary Congress on September 18.
First, look at the Agenda for the Annual Congress. Yes, there is an item (f) on the Agenda- Suspension or expulsion of a member (if applicable). This item is standard for all Annual Congresses. Contact has been made with Caribbean Colleagues who will be attending the September 18 Congress and I have been informed that the mandatory agenda and accompanying documents sent to them have all made no mention whatsoever of any motion to suspend or expel the TTFA.
The motion to suspend or expel a member can be put before the Annual Congress only by the Council of FIFA, by no other body or person. I have made inquiries about the deliberations of the last FIFA Council Meeting of about three weeks ago, and I have been reliably informed that the only matter that came up concerning the TTFA was the ratification of the Bureau's decision to install the Normalization Committee. No decision was taken to recommend the expulsion or suspension of the TTFA to the Congress.
Article 29 Extraordinary General Meeting
1. The Board of Directors may convene an Extraordinary General Meeting at any time.
2. The Board of Directors shall convene an Extraordinary General Meeting if a majority (more than 50%) of the accredited delegates to the general Meeting make such a request in writing. The request shall specify the items for the agenda. An Extraordinary General Meeting shall be held within 30 days of receipt of the request unless the agenda includes the election of members of the Board of Directors or the members of the Electoral Committee, in which case the Extraordinary General Meeting shall be held within 60 days of receipt of the request. If an Extraordinary General Meeting is not convened within the indicated time, the delegates who requested it may convene the Extraordinary General Meeting themselves. As a last resort, the Members may request assistance from FIFA and CONCACAF.
3. The Members shall be notified of the place, date and agenda at least 10 days before the date of an Extraordinary General Meeting.
4. When an Extraordinary General Meeting is convened on the initiative of the Board of Directors, the Board of Directors shall draw up the agenda. When an Extraordinary General Meeting is convened upon the request of Members, the agenda shall contain the points raised by those Members.
5. If one of the items in the agenda of the Extraordinary General Meeting includes the election of members of the Board of Directors or members of the Electoral Committee, the Board of Directors shall notify the Members at least 55 days before the date of the Extraordinary General Meeting about the upcoming elections.
6. The agenda of an Extraordinary General Meeting may not be altered.
Article 22 Delegates and votes (TTFA constitution)
1 The General Meeting is composed of 47 Delegates. The number of Delegates is allocated as follows:
a) TT Pro League clubs —10 delegates
b) Trinidad and Tobago Super League Clubs—8 delegates
c) For the Regional Associations
*Central FA—3 delegates
*Eastern FA—3 delegates
*Eastern Counties Football Union—3 delegates
*Northern FA—3 delegates
*Southern FA—3 delegates
*Tobago FA —3 delegates
d) Women Association —2 delegates
e) Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association —2 delegates
f) Futsal Association of T&T (FATT) —2 delegates
g) Primary Schools League—1 delegate
h) Secondary School Football League —1 delegate
i) TTAYSO —1 delegate
j) T&T Beach Soccer Association—1 delegate
k) Veteran Footballers Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago—1 delegate
2 Each Delegate shall have one (1) vote in the General Meeting. Only the Delegates present are entitled to vote. Voting by proxy or by letter is not permitted.
Downer questions whether FIFA will act on Sept 18.
T&T Express Reports.
A local football constitution expert has raised questions over whether the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) will indeed be suspended by world governing body, FIFA, if it doesn’t end its High Court action against FIFA by September 16.
Last week, through general secretary Fatma Samoura, FIFA communicated in a letter to Robert Hadad, chairman of the Normalisation Committee it set up to run football in T&T on March 17, that: “We firmly request the TTFA to ask to the TTFA former leadership for an immediate withdrawal of the claim at the Trinidad and Tobago High Court by 16 September 2020, at the latest. We deem that a failure to comply with this directive would result in the commencement of suspension proceedings via the relevant FIFA bodies.”
In a letter yesterday, Osmond Downer, also a former Trinidad and Tobago and FIFA refereeing official, described talk of a suspension for the TTFA as “hysteria.”
He said of the agenda for the FIFA Annual Congress on September 18: “Yes, there is an item (f) on the agenda — Suspension or expulsion of a member (if applicable).” However, he said, “this item is standard for all Annual Congresses.”
He added: “Contact has been made with Caribbean colleagues who will be attending the September 18 Congress and I have been informed that the mandatory agenda and accompanying documents sent to them have all made no mention whatsoever of any motion to suspend or expel the TTFA.
“The motion to suspend or expel a Member can be put before the Annual Congress only by the Council of FIFA, by no other body or person. I have made enquiries about the deliberations of the last FIFA Council Meeting of about three weeks ago, and I have been reliably informed that the only matter that came up concerning the TTFA was the ratification of the Bureau’s decision to install the Normalisation Committee. No decision was taken to recommend the expulsion or suspension of the TTFA to the Congress.”
For a suspension against the TTFA to be implemented, 75 per cent of the 211 FIFA member associations — at least 160 — must agree to it.
Meanwhile, members of the TTFA have been attempting to put together a petition in a effort to get the “United TTFA” faction headed by president William Wallace to withdraw its case in the High Court or even force a removal of the executive.
In his letter, Downer pointed out exactly what it would take to remove elected officers.
Below are the stipulations:
1. The General Meeting may dismiss a person or a member of a body. The Board of Directors may place the dismissal of a person or a member of a body on the agenda for the General Meeting. The Board of Directors may also dismiss a person or a member of a body provisionally. Any Board of Directors member may submit a proposal to place such a motion for dismissal on the agenda of the Board of Directors or General Meeting.
2. The motion for dismissal must be justified. It will be sent to the Members of the Board of Directors and/or to the Members along with the agenda.
3. The person or body in question has the right to defend him--or herself.
4. The motion for dismissal shall be decided by means of secret ballot. For the motion to be passed, a majority of three quarters of the valid votes is required.
5. The person or body dismissed (provisionally) is relieved of his or its functions with immediate effect.
The constitution expert then asked the question: “How are we to achieve secret balloting in a virtual meeting in these Covid 19-times?”
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