Sun, Sep

United TTFA ready to resume control.

Well-placed sources close to the T&T Football Association (TTFA) have said the group, despite being criticised in some circles of the local football fraternity and embraced in others, have revealed that the William Wallace-led United TTFA which won the TTFA elections in November 2019, is set to resume their mandate of managing the affairs of local football.

This, amid concerns that the TTFA and by extension T&T face the risk of being sanctioned by the sport's world governing body FIFA, for its failure to drop a court action challenging FIFA over the group's legal challenge of its removal on March 17, and replaced by a FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee (NC) on March 27, to manage local football.

FIFA held its Bureau of Council Meeting on Thursday and is expected to levy sanctions against the TTFA, today at its Annual Congress in Switzerland for violation of the FIFA Statutes, which outlines that disputes are to be settled at the Court of Arbitration for Sports.

Embattled TTFA president Wallace said his three vice presidents — Clynt Taylor, Joseph Sam Phillips, and Susan Joseph-Warrick, associates Keith Look Loy, the T&T Super League president and Anthony Harford, the Northern Football Association president, will stand firm on their stance to battle the FIFA in the court against injustice, despite not having the majority support from the sport's general membership.

Wallace believes the country has been divided in the matter but feels they will prevail.

However, on Wednesday, a member of the TTFA who wished to remain anonymous, said the TTFA is ready to resume all its negotiations with sponsors, as well as all the contracts they have entered into.

"We intend to secure sufficient sponsorships whereby we will not need the assistance of FIFA. Once we can accumulate enough funding then the FIFA will withhold its funds. I believe once the court rules in our favour as the legitimate administrators of the sport in T&T, then we will get the opportunity to put structures in place for the sport to be run effectively, we will develop the game and put the sport in a position where, when the ban is over, it will lead to a smooth transition back to the fold of the FIFA," the TTFA member said.

In the football association's short time in office, it entered into a $25 million deal with UK Sportswear company Avec Sports which was expected to outfit all the country's national teams, from youth to senior levels, as well as generate much-needed income to the country. The TTFA also formed a partnership with Caribbean Chemicals and Agencies Ltd, as well as a multi-million Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UK architectural company Lavender for the construction of a multipurpose facility on the Arima Velodrome, a deal that was scheduled to land the TTFA a whopping $12 million upon signing alone.

On Thursday, the official said his United group is still keen on revisiting those sponsorship deals as they are still open to them and will serve well in laying a solid foundation for local football.

However, a decision will have to be made in the court with the parties set to face the Appeal Court on October 21.

Up to Thursday, FIFA did not file a defence in the High Court action, after missing Monday's September 4 deadline. It is understood Justice Carol Gobin, who initially ruled in favour of the TTFA to have the matter heard in the local High court on August 13, as oppose to the CAS in Switzerland, gave FIFA until Friday to file its paperwork, or the matter will go to trial on October 9.

Justice Gobin also granted the TTFA its request for an injunction to stop an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) which was requested by more than 51 per cent of the TTFA membership, which was set to take place on Tuesday with an aim of voting for Wallace and his team to honour FIFA's directive and withdraw the court matter and to recognise the NC and the administrators of the sport. The request on August 26 was sent by FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura to NC chairman Robert Hadad.

In a letter on Wednesday, Wallace gave the assurance he and his team would drop the case if the court rules against them. He noted also that if the court rules in their favour, his first order of business will be to call an Extraordinary General Meeting to discuss TTFA’s leadership, and the future and all contract matters that have arisen since March 2020.