Wed, Mar


ACTING Pro League chairman Brent Sancho was among those not surprised by FIFA’s announcement yesterday of a ban on the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association.

“I told you so,” Sancho said, having indeed conversed with the Express earlier.

Hours before the ban, both Sancho and local football club official Michael Awai had predicted a ban on T&T and accused United TTFA of dragging on the withdrawal of a High Court action despite an impending threat to ban the association.

Representatives for the United TTFA faction of the Football Association had confirmed that an application for withdrawal of court action against FIFA had been filed earlier yesterday afternoon with the registry of the Trinidad and Tobago High Court.

“The application for permission to withdraw was filed,” stated attorney Matthew Gayle who, along with Dr Emir Crowne and Jason Jones, were representing exiled TTFA president William Wallace and three vice-presidents who had launched a legal challenge to their dismissal by FIFA in March.

Yesterday being the Republic Day holiday, the courts were closed. However, Gayle insisted that “permission for withdrawal” was filed.

“We will have to wait and see how the judge deals with the matter,” attorney Gayle had stated while also acknowledging that he had no specific time frame in which the application would be processed.

Businessman Robert Hadad, who chairs FIFA’s normalisation committee that replaced the Wallace regime, replied “not sure” via WhatsApp to Express enquiries yesterday as to whether FIFA was informed of the withdrawal of the court action.

Despite Gayle’s assertions Michael Awai, an official of the AC Port of Spain professional club, had also been convinced there were ulterior motives.

“We are going to get banned,” Awai speculated.

Sancho, a TTFA board member, had expressed suspicions about United TTFA dragging out the issues with possibly devastating consequences. “Every single event that has transpired in the past two days has been meticulously and unethically calculated by ‘TTFA United’ to obtain the following: intentionally get TTFA suspended,” Sancho had stated before news of the ban yesterday.

Sancho’s theory was that United TTFA intentionally lodged a withdrawal document minutes after the FIFA deadline and he also alleged the attachment of affidavits indicating coercion, with a hope that the judge would ignore the wish of the TTFA membership and continue with the case.

He was also suspicious of Wallace not endorsing a United TTFA media release indicating that his faction had ended its fight with FIFA. Wallace was reported as saying he was not “mentally ready” to sign the document, although not opposed to its contents.

From the ousted executive’s meeting with TTFA delegates mere hours before the FIFA deadline, to Wallace and vice-president Clynt Taylor not endorsing the United TTFA media release, Sancho believed there was cause for concern.

He said that having won sympathy, United TTFA could then “claim that even though they attempted to withdraw the case—which has not occurred—big bad FIFA will still suspend the TTFA. After suspension, continue with court cases and battle FIFA,” he suggested.

Hours later, Trinidad and Tobago was indeed banned by the Zurich-based world governing body.

SOURCE: T&T Express