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Wallace: I was not mentally ready to sign.
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FORMER president of the TT Football Association (TTFA) and leader of the United TTFA William Wallace said he was not “mentally ready” to include his name on a media release saying that United TTFA decided to withdraw its legal matter against FIFA.

In an interview with Newsday, Wallace said, “I took a decision that I was not ready to sign any document, but if the team wanted to send one out that it (must) go out but I was not ready mentally to sign the document.”

A media release was sent by the United TTFA, at 1 pm, on Wednesday.

Wednesday was the United TTFA's deadline to withdraw their matter from the High Court.

The United TTFA release did not include the names of Wallace and Clynt Taylor. The release was issued by second vice-president Susan Joseph-Warrick, third vice-president Joseph Sam Phillip, Anthony Harford and Keith Look Loy.

The United TTFA is not considering taking the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Pressed more about why he was not ready to include his name, Wallace said, “When you say you are not ready mentally that is sometimes what you can’t explain because it is a mental thing. It is a sense of readiness you know.”

United TTFA was fighting FIFA’s decision to remove the executive of the United TTFA in March and appoint a normalisation committee to run local football. The normalisation committee is led by local businessman Robert Hadad.

FIFA was threatening to suspend T&T if the United TTFA continued their fight against them.

RELATED NEWS

Wallace bows to ‘bullying’ FIFA
By Jelani Beckles (Newsday).


FORMER president of the TT Football Association (TTFA) William Wallace admitted he was hesitant in agreeing to withdraw the legal matter against FIFA because the world football body will continue to have its way with T&T football.

A TTFA membership meeting was held on Tuesday night which allowed the TTFA membership to unofficially vote if they wanted the United TTFA to continue its court matter against FIFA.

A media release was sent by the United TTFA at 1 pm on Wednesday, confirming the decision to withdraw the matter.

The release sent by the United TTFA, said, “Of the participating member representatives 21 called on the United TTFA to end its legal challenge to FIFA, while eight were in favour of it being continued and three abstained. We, the signatories, accept this call.” United TTFA was fighting FIFA’s decision to remove the executive of the United TTFA in March and appoint a normalisation committee to run local football. The normalisation committee is led by local businessman Robert Hadad.

Wednesday was the United TTFA’s final deadline to withdraw its matter from the High Court. The United TTFA is also not considering taking the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The United TTFA release did not include the names of Wallace and Clynt Taylor. The release was issued by second vice-president Susan Joseph-Warrick, third vice-president Joseph Sam Phillip, Anthony Harford and Keith Look Loy.

In Wallace’s affidavit in support of the application for permission to withdraw the case, he said he acknowledged that the majority wanted the matter to be withdrawn.

However, Wallace said he wanted to continue with the case. “I do not believe the claim should be withdrawn…I believe the defendant is more afraid than ever before, particularly in the wake of the public revelations into alleged acts of financial mismanagement...”

Wallace continued, “To ask this court for permission to withdraw this claim on the day before Republic Day, and in so doing tacitly accepting that football in T&T continues to be at the whim and fancy of the defendant, who is bullying and coercing the TTFA into bending its knee, makes me feel physically sick. It is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.”

Wallace told Newsday he was not “mentally ready” to include his name on the United TTFA media release.

“I took a decision that I was not ready to sign any document, but if the team wanted to send one out that it (must) go out but I was not ready mentally to sign the document.”

Pressed more about why he was not ready to include his name, Wallace said, “When you say you are not ready mentally that is sometimes what you can’t explain because it is a mental thing. It is a sense of readiness you know.”

Asked if he has confidence in the normalisation committee to run T&T football, he said, “I would not say confidence. I can’t describe it as confidence, but I wish them the best of luck.”

The United TTFA release said the “majority of representatives were motivated by fear of FIFA’s threat to suspend TTFA.”

FIFA was threatening to suspend T&T if the United TTFA continued their fight against them.

The Concacaf Gold Cup draw will be held on Monday and T&T would have been excluded from the competition.

“The second FIFA deadline and the desire to participate in the draw for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup have changed the balance of power. People see Concacaf’s move but fear FIFA’s big stick and missing the tournament.”

The United TTFA release also reminded the T&T football stakeholders that FIFA now has complete control.

“We caution T&T that the owners of football have voluntarily agreed to cede the right to govern ourselves to FIFA. We caution that FIFA is now and hereafter the final arbiter of who will be the government of local football. This makes a sham of our sovereignty. It may not matter to some, but our football has been colonized. We call on our supporters to be vigilant and we wish TTFA the best of success.”

Wallace's team shows remarkable fighting spirit
By Colin Murray (Guardian).


Happy Republic Day to all!

It is a great time for our sportsmen and sportswomen to reflect on all of their achievements both from a national team level and an individual level over the last year.

By the time you read this column, our football fate could have already been sealed. I am referring to the matter between FIFA and the T&T Football Association ( TTFA). I have gone off the boil on this issue although it continues to make headlines as the Caribbean Premier League had most, if not all of my attention.

To be banned or not to be banned? This has been the question plaguing the entire footballing fraternity and I am not just speaking about the regional associations - Pro and Super League clubs, match officials, etc but also included are all football-loving fans. FIFA has been flexing its muscles recently and making veiled threats to the United TTFA - or should I say to the relevant parties - to withdraw all types of claims against it before the T&T courts.


FIFA has explicitly stated that under its statutes that all members agreed to abide by, in particular, Article 57 (1) states, “FIFA recognises the independent Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) with headquarters in Lausanne (Switzerland) to resolve disputes between FIFA, member associations, confederations, leagues, clubs, players, officials, intermediaries and licensed match agents.”

In other words, there is no other avenue available to challenge any dispute but CAS. FIFA further went on to warn the relevant parties that should they fail to comply with this ‘do as I say’ directive within its revised deadline, the matter will be brought to the attention of the relevant FIFA bodies to decide on the suspension of the TTFA.

Fighting words indeed and if you fear FIFA as many do, several stakeholders of T&T football would be running around hoping and praying that FIFA is pulling a bluff or perhaps wishing that the United TTFA would withdraw their principled stance in the matter and simply walk away.

Admittedly, although I admire the stance taken by United TTFA, I would hate to see our country banned from international football. But something was brought to my attention by Osmond “Mr Constitution” Downer which I never gave thought to.

Exactly who will FIFA ban? TTFA or United TTFA members? FIFA themselves have said ad infinitum that they do not recognise Wallace and company and as far as they are concerned, the members of the imposed normalisation committee are the only ones they recognise. So, if they are being taken to court by these six “outcasts” who, according to them, have no standing in T&T football, how could you suspend TTFA? Yes, this is all conjecture because we all know FIFA can do what they want, how they want and to whom they please.

United TTFA continuously speaks about the injustice meted out to them and yes, they are fully justified to feel this way. The feeling of whether they walk away from this if they will be complicit in turning a blind eye to wrongdoing is also very real. I presume this notion is even more ignited with Mark Bassant’s fantastic piece of investigative journalism on the ‘Home of Football’. The chickens came home to roost for the United TTFA with the findings of Bassant and his team as the project was shrouded in secrecy throughout its life cycle.

The executive of the United TTFA is worthy of credit. When they were elected to office, they immediately shut down the ‘Home of Football’ and indicated that all was not above board. But Gianni Infantino, who smiled, drank cocktails and hobnobbed with our Prime Minister at the opening, and his right hand Fatma Samoura refused to investigate the serious concerns by the then TTFA executive with the project. They did nothing and in just three months set up a normalisation committee.

As they say, something ain’t cooking with gas there. The only logical conclusion that objective people are led to is that FIFA, William Wallace’s predecessor and the ‘Home of Football’ were inextricably linked in an eccentric way.

Undoubtedly, we are all concerned about being banned. But why didn’t we make a big stink when our Under-23 Olympic footballers were denied the opportunity to represent the country at the Olympic qualifiers due to “financial difficulties”? What about our women footballers who were not properly funded for a CONCACAF tournament and were in tears on social media? What about our ranking going from 50 to 104? Curacao is ranked higher than T&T. Let that sink in.

Further, when this injustice took place against the TTFA executive, I remember many members within football supported this colonial style of imposition that was being inflicted by FIFA to a democratically elected executive voted in by the authorised personnel with the said FIFA delegates in attendance. It was full support for TTFA to go to CAS for justice as what FIFA was doing was (and still is) unacceptable.

Unfortunately, the tune changed when the parties decided that CAS was not the way to go for various reasons including the odds were stacked too much in FIFA’s favour and the fight would be taken to the local courts. This was when all hell broke loose and the former executive, as far as some clubs were concerned, should have come back to them for clearance to go to the local courts.

But to be frank, Wallace and company may have thought that if they had the backing to go to CAS and FIFA was fighting them, then the same would have applied to the local courts. The problem was FIFA lost round one in the local court and the only way for them to actually win is to threaten our democratically elected officers with the threat of being sanctioned. Sad indeed.

What to me is also sad, but not mind-boggling, is why haven’t all other Caribbean countries formed some sort of solidarity with T&T and say if you ban one you ban all? So much for Caribbean unity! It should be noted that FIFA’s US two million dollars that the countries get hold sway in issues like this. Where is Jack Warner when you need him?

By now, we would have known if Wallace and his team had bowed to the pressure and dropped the case or if we have been sanctioned by FIFA. Whatever the outcome, my admiration for the determination and grit of Wallace and company in the face of blatant wrongdoing against them remains steadfast.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this column are solely those of the writer and do not reflect the views of any organisation of which he is a stakeholder.