Why wasn't T&T Football Association's General Secretary Ramesh Ramdhan not asked to sign the letter of convocation for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), Osmond Downer, T&T's Football Association (TTFA) constitutional expert has asked in a letter addressed to the TTFA membership on Monday, as he sought to steer members on the right path, according to the TTFA constitution.
Downer said that he is not attempting to obstruct the convening of the EGM, but is rather trying to make sure that after a large amount of time and energy is spent to hold the meeting, that all decisions made are not declared null and void if it does not follow the constitution of the TTFA.
The petitions dated August 28 and addressed to Robert Hadad, the chairman of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee (NC) are requesting that making - in the first instance, the delegates are asking the NC to convene a meeting under Article 29 of the TTFA constitution with two items with several subsections on the agenda.
The delegates want to recognise the NC as the executive body of the TTFA from March 17 and according to FIFA Statutes Article 8 and the second item, is to have former president William Wallace and his three vice presidents Clynt Taylor, Joseph Sam Phillip and Susan Joseph-Warrick, and associates Keith Look Loy and Anthony Harford drop their legal challenge against FIFA forthwith. One petition also listed how the TTFA will be at a setback if the legal matter is not withdrawn.
The meeting has been set for September 15 and could be followed by a 10-day period in which the TTFA quartet can be removed, said Keiron Edwards, the chief campaigner of the petition.
Downer said: "My first question is: why was the Convocation letter for this EGM not signed by the duly constitutionally appointed General Secretary of the TTFA, as has always been the accepted practice for all General Meetings held for all the past many years?
As stated in my last letter to you of August 30, FIFA, in its letters of March 17th and 27th 2020, replaced only the Executive (Board of Directors) of the TTFA by the NC. FIFA did not suspend the Constitution of the TTFA. Neither did FIFA remove the General Secretary. In fact, as stated in my August 30th letter, I understand that FIFA, on the contrary, wrote the General Secretary, after the installation of the NC, requesting him to work with and cooperate with the NC. I understand, also, that in the recent installation of an NC in neighbouring Guyana, FIFA appointed Mr Richard Groden from T&T to be the Secretary to the Guyana NC. Could this be the reason why FIFA requested our GS to work with the NC as Secretary to the Committee?"
Groden was also general secretary under the TTFA's leadership of Oliver Camps and Special Adviser Jack Warner in the 1990s.
Contacted, Ramdhan said the only way an EGM can be called, according to the constitution, is for a request to be written to him to be convened.
According to Ramdhan, he has been serving a suspension by Hadad, a decision he (Ramdhan) described as illegal. "Due process was not followed before my suspension. According to the constitution, I have not been allowed to put forward my case. A committee was also to be set up to adjudicate on my matter, but none of this ever happened. Hadad simply sends me five questions to answer and then he decided that I am suspended," explained Ramdhan.
Downer said the membership should have been informed of Ramdhan's suspension.
Downer, who is also a former FIFA referee and school principal, sought to clarify who can vote and who cannot vote as delegates under the constitution, since concerns arose over the eligibility of the Eastern Counties Football Union (ECFU) the Southern Football Association (SFA) and the Northern Football Association (NFA), all of which are still to have elections, as well as a member of the Women's Football League who signed the petition although she was not one of the two delegates.
"My reliable information is that only one of the Members of the TTFA has written to the TTFA Secretariat informing earlier this year about the change of Officers and Accredited Delegates to the General Meetings. That Member is the Eastern Football Association.
Article 29.2 of the TTFA Constitution requires that the persons who have signed the list requesting the EGM must be Accredited delegates to the General Meeting of the TTFA at the time the request letter was signed on or before September 3rd, 2020, 25 persons have signed the list requesting the EGM."
However, information reaching Guardian Media Limited from the NC on Monday is that "The EGM has been convened constitutionally and will take place on 15th September 2020. In our convocation, we invited Member delegates to reach out to us if they had any queries and a few have formally done so. We will be formally responding to them and clarifying any concerns they may have."
Meanwhile, delegates from the following members have signed the petitions - La Horquetta Rangers, Central FC, Police, San Juan Jabloteh, AC Port-of-Spain, W Connection, Morvant Caledonia FC, Club Sando, Defence Force, Queen's Park Cricket Club, the Southern, Eastern and Central Football Associations; ECFU; WolF; the Futsal Association of T&T; T&T Beach Soccer Association and the VFFOTT.
On August 26, general secretary of FIFA Fatma Samoura wrote Hadad, warning that TTFA would face sanctions if it did not withdraw the matter out of the T&T High Court by September 16, which is two days before FIFA holds its Congress.
Members opposed: Sancho fires back at Downer’s ‘delegates’ claims.
By Joel Bailey (Newsday).
ACTING chairman of the TT Pro League and member of the TT Football Association (TTFA) Brent Sancho has fired back at TT Football Referees Association (TTFRA) vice-president Osmond Downer, who claims that decisions made at the September 15 EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) “may be declared null and void because of it not being convened in keeping with the constitution of the TTFA.”
Downer, in a media release issued on Monday, said, “Article 29.2 of the TTFA constitution requires that the persons who have signed the list requesting the EGM must be accredited delegates to the General Meeting of the TTFA at the time the request letter was signed on or before September 3.”
The TTFA last held a general meeting on November 24, 2019, during which William Wallace, leader of the United TTFA, defeated David John-Williams to become president of the TTFA. However, Wallace and his executive were removed by FIFA on March 17 due to the TTFA’s financial strife.
According to Downer, “based on the minutes of the 2019 AGM (Annual General Meeting), the named delegates remain the accredited delegates until they have been changed by their member associations in keeping with Article 22.3, and such changes must be communicated in writing to the secretariat of the TTFA.”
Downer said, “My information is that only one of the members of the TTFA has written to the TTFA secretariat informing earlier this year about the change of officers and accredited delegates to the general meetings. That member is the Eastern Football Association (EFA).”
In the letter requesting the EGM, there were changes for the delegates for Pro League clubs AC Port of Spain (Ryan Nunes replacing Michael Awai) and San Juan Jabloteh (Jerry Hospedales replacing Phillip Fraser) as well as Super League squad Club Sando (Derek Lange replacing Steve Gopeesingh).
Downer said, “Article 29 of the TTFA constitution is clear as to the protocol for requesting such an EGM: ‘if a majority (more than 50 per cent) of the accredited delegates to the General Meeting make such a request’. Who are ‘accredited delegates’? We see that there (is) a total of 47 delegates. So, at least 24 are required to request an EGM.”
Sancho remarked, “Why everything that Downer says is correct? He was very incorrect with the last statement he made as it relates to how the process works with regards to suspension (by FIFA to member associations), as was evident by (Caribbean Football Union president) Randy Harris.
“A suspension can still be meted out by the (FIFA) Bureau Council.”
Sancho, a former TT footballer and Minister of Sport, said, “Each member has to sign the compliance and over the course of the year, they can change their signatories.
“I find it strange that all these things are coming here to try to obstruct this meeting, which is sad.
“It clearly shows that the membership is not in support of the United TTFA. For (Downer) to continuously try to come up with these claims, it’s sad for a man who supposedly stands on solid ground.”
There may be cases where a delegate might die, or migrate, and Sancho responded, “exactly.”
Sancho said, “Any time of the year, you can write to the normalisation committee or the TTFA or whoever is in charge for that matter, and state the person who has the right to be the signatory. That’s normal practice.”
With regards to the issue between United TTFA and FIFA, Sancho said, “This is about the membership and the stakeholders of the sport. The players and the majority of the membership clearly don’t agree with the position that the United TTFA is taking. They said they were coming on transparency, accountability and working to suit T&T football.”