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WHAT we predicted in this space six days ago, on September 20, has now sadly come to pass, with FIFA suspending the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).


As we said then, this was a clear and present threat ­facing the embattled local body after the TTFA went to court here in Trinidad and Tobago to challenge a decision by the ­international body in appointing the Normalisation Committee. This was its decision in moving to sort out the sordid mess in which our administration of the “beautiful game” has been mired.

The world governing body had given the essentially ousted “­United TTFA” until Wednesday this week to withdraw the action or face ­suspension.

William Wallace’s embattled leadership team, through its ­attorney on Thursday, said a withdrawal notice had been filed in the High Court. Clearly, however, that action failed to meet the extended deadline of ­September 23, after an original deadline of September 16 had not been met.

As reported yesterday, the local High Court action was a violation of the FIFA rules, which prohibits this route to recourse, “unless specifically provided for in the FIFA regulations”.

It went contrary to the specific provision for such matters to be ­addressed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), established as the exclusive forum for resolving disputes of this nature.

Moving swiftly to rescue itself from this self-inflicted injury, the TTFA leadership team decided yesterday to drop the High Court matter and place its appeal before the CAS after all.

TTFA has asked for consideration of the matter to be concluded by 8 a.m. on Monday (Swiss time). This, it turns out, is the date of the draw for the Concacaf Gold Cup tournament. This is set to take place at 8 p.m. on the same day. The TTFA must now officially file its substantive appeal, with the FIFA body saying it is committed to deliver a decision in the matter by 2 p.m. that day.

The appointment of the local “Normalisation Committee” had come about as a result of the embarrassing wrangles which had been taking place for too long among those fighting for leadership of the TTFA.

Suspension of the TTFA would have represented the end of the road, after years of autocracy, infighting, and lack of accountability and ­transparency with the management of local football.

We make no apology for stating, once again, that this is the result of questionable leadership, which led to the establishment of a perverse culture of personality that has robbed the sport in this country of its lustre from earlier decades.

It remains a shame that the national game has been handed this screaming red-card, in a country in which one of its leading public figures had risen to the heights of a FIFA vice-presidency, although his leadership and ultimate management of the national game over decades have left him with questions to answer.

In the interest of good governance, however, the Normalisation Committee appears to have a role, nevertheless, in helping to sort through the mess bequeathed to it.


SOURCE: T&T Express