'Selfish' is how some coaches and managers have described the United T&T team, the elected administrators of the T&T Football Association, saying they do not care about the country and the sport of football, only themselves.
The comments by Travis Mulraine, Randy Hagley of Guaya United, Shawn Cooper the former national youth coach and Ron La Forrest, came following a decision by the TTFA, to resume its fight against the FIFA in the High Court, just a day after the FIFA suspended them on Republic Day, September 24.
William Wallace, president of the TTFA, whose second vice president Susan Joseph-Warrick resigned on Friday as part of the fallout from the FIFA suspension, said in a release on Friday that the action by the FIFA showed that they were always going to ban the TTFA. As such, he said he instructed his attorneys to file an emergency appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), challenging the sole issue of the suspension of TTFA in the face of illegal threats and coercive acts by FIFA. The attorneys Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle, Crystal Paul, and Jason Jones, were also asked to make an application for Injunctive Relief so that if successful this would allow Trinidad and Tobago to participate in the Gold Cup draw carded for Monday 28 September."
Speaking to Guardian Media Sports on Saturday, the coaches and managers believe this decision to further challenge FIFA could have detrimental consequences. Both La Forest and Mulraine said the action of the TTFA is an indication of their incompetence to run TT football in the first place. "They are on an ego trip while the entire country and the people who depend on it are suffering."
The quartet has also expressed a concern that the TTFA members are blatantly disregarding the rules of the FIFA, but yet are bold enough to challenge it. According to the coaches and managers, the United TTFA group was given a deadline which they failed to honour, and still with a revised deadline, they failed to live up to it. "That is disrespect," Hagley said.
The Guaya owner and manager noted: "The actions of the TTFA will put the country in further turmoil, rules are rules. This decision to return to court and challenge the FIFA in the CAS will make an already bad situation worse. Remember that in the T&T Super League teams cannot take the league to court also, so why do you have a member of the TTSL fighting against a similar rule in the FIFA Statutes."
Mulraine question why Wallace and company would want to return to the CAS which they initially described as bias. "They do not have the interest of the sport in this country at heart, and while all this is happening here, in the US young players are going on contracts in the Spanish League, and these are the people we will have to play against. "
Mulraine believes the decision by the FIFA to replace the TTFA with a normalisation committee was because there were people involved in the TTFA election who the FIFA did not approve of.
He calls on the delegates of the TTFA to convene an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) and vote out the TTFA members.
Meanwhile, Cooper is calling for answers why the TTFA is continuing its battle with the FIFA. "What would the end result be. Are they going to fight someone that they need financially and otherwise? This comes like we are fighting a war with the USA, we are taking on a fight we just cannot win, so it's time for the TTFA to study the young players."
Cooper who also coaches at Presentation College in the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) said the FIFA suspension was a slap on the wrist for the TTFA, one that they could have worked with easily.