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Tue, Sep

TTFA general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan - now suspended.
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TTFA general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan - now suspended.

T&T Football Association (TTFA) General Secretary Ramesh Ramdhan became the first casualty of questionable and unapproved contracts of the United T&TFA, which is now challenging the sport's governing body for its survival.

Ramdhan, whose two-year contract itself, instead of a one-year deal was cited by the Board of Directors a few months ago, raised eyebrows of concern, and probably pointed to one of many reasons for the FIFA enforcing Article 8.2 of the FIFA Statutes which states: ‘Executive bodies of member associations may under exceptional circumstances be removed from office by the Council in consultation with the relevant confederation and replaced by a normalisation committee for a specific period on March 17.

Robert Hadad, chairman of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee which also comprised attorney Judy Daniel and former banker Nigel Romano on Wednesday issued a letter to the TTFA membership which sought to clear the air on questions raised by the sports constitutional expert Osmond Downer which included the reasons for not allowing Ramdhan to be a signatory to a request by the TTFA membership, for an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) requested last month.

The letter was signed and distributed by Hadad, and a date of September 15 is set for the EGM that will begin a process to stop former TTFA president William Wallace and his three vice presidents Joseph Sam Phillip, Clynt Taylor and Susan Joseph-Warrick and associates Keith Look Loy, the president of the T&T Super League and Anthony Harford, the president of the Northern Football Association, from taking legal action against FIFA to remove the normalisation committee that was appointed on March 27.

On Monday, Downer said, while his intent was not to obstruct the staging of the emergency general meeting by the membership, but rather to ensure it was done according to the TTFA constitution, he asked: "Why was the Convocation letter for this EGM not signed by the constitutionally appointed General Secretary of the TTFA, as has always been the accepted practice for all General Meetings held for all the past very many years? As stated in my last letter to you of August 30, FIFA, in its letters of March 17th and 27th 2020, 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 GS, 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?"

Hadad, a director of the HADCO Group of Companies, stated that, "The TTFA General Secretary has been suspended pending an inquiry into the entry of several contracts by the TTFA. We wish to make it clear that we are not imputing any dishonest motive against the general secretary. The general secretary has made a request that the matter be referred to mediation for a resolution to which we have agreed."

According to Hadad's letter: "We do not wish comment further on this matter at this time to preserve the integrity of the process and the reputations of all concerned. We note that in accordance with the TTFA Constitution, the chairman of the TTFA Normalisation Committee, which now acts as the Executive Body of the TTFA, is vested with the authority to issue correspondence."

Downer also questioned why was the Member Associations of the TTFA, the real employers of the GS, not informed of the suspension of the general secretary, if that is true, and given the reasons why.

Contacted on Wednesday, Ramdhan said he is unsure why charges were laid on him. He told Guardian Media Sports, Hadad told him he was dissatisfied with his (Ramdhan's) role in signing the contracts for the Avec Sports deal which showed $25 million for four years in January, as well as the Peter Miller contract for $20 million to be the TTFA marketing representative at the same time.

Ramdhan, a member of the ousted United TTFA who was kept on as general secretary of the normalisation committee, said he was spared charges for his and the Terry Fenwick contracts, as well as the Lavender deal, which was set to land T&T US$12 million upon signing. With the Lavender contract, the United TTFA was set to transform the Arima Velodrome into a state-of-the-art multi-purpose facility with commercial, residential and sporting opportunities at one venue.

Ramdhan said the contracts do not implicate the TTFA in any way, hence why he was confused by the decision of the chairman. "I even offered to have Hadad speak with sponsors - Avec Sports, Peter Miller.

Hadeed, the market personal in the Avec Sports deal, but he was told by the FIFA that he should not talk to any of the sponsors. The offer was for him to see for himself by talking to the people involved in the contracts, and see if there was anything wrong with the contracts, but he refused," Ramdhan explained.

He said, "I signed the contracts with the knowledge that it would have brought benefit to T&T, but they did not materialise." Ramdhan said he has since taken legal action about the matter.

Hadad's letter also dealt with concerns regarding delegates and votes, the convening of an EGM and the infringement of articles 14(4) in the constitution, all of which were raised by Downer.

According to Hadad in Article 22: Delegates and votes: "The voting officer at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) is the Member Delegate. The eight-member delegates of the TT Super League are elected on an annual basis and remain unchanged unless changes are officially communicated by the member. Member clubs of any particular Member, who are not Delegates, may observe the EGM, at the discretion of the General Meeting, but have no rights to debate or vote."

Hadad also pointed to Article 29(2) of the constitution to answer concerns on the convening of an EGM, saying: "A request to convene an EGM was received from more than 50 per cent of the accredited TTFA Member Delegates. In reply, the TTFA Normalisation Committee issued convocation for an EGM to be held on Tuesday 15 September 2020. It should be noted that at least three TTFA members communicated to the TTFA, in writing of changes to Member Delegates prior to the Normalisation Committee receiving the request by the Member Delegates to convene the EGM."

Concerning the infringement of Article 14 (4) Hadad explained that sporting activities were affected around the world by the COVID19 pandemic, saying they remain guided by the Minutes of the 2019 AGM held on November 24, 2019 where no matters were raised that cited Article 14 regarding the suspension of Member's rights to vote.