PRESIDENT of the Barbados Football Association and president of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Randy Harris described the situation facing T&T football as “sad,” but said that FIFA “does not want to see the back of T&T.”
FIFA suspended the TT Football Association (TTFA) with immediate effect, on September 24, after the United TTFA failed to meet its deadline in withdrawing their High Court case. They needed to withdraw the case at 3 pm on September 23, but did so minutes after the deadline.
United TTFA has not given up the fight against FIFA to remove them as the executive of the TTFA and install a normalisation committee to run local football.
In another twist on Friday, the United TTFA sought to withdraw its withdrawal of its lawsuit against FIFA.
The William Wallace-led United TTFA remains adamant that its challenge should be played out in the local courts since it is a statutory body.
United TTFA was removed by FIFA in March after only being in office for four months.
In an interview with Newsday, Harris said, “I wasn’t surprised of the decision (by FIFA) because the TTFA made a decision that was against everything that we in the football fraternity agree that we would keep things out of the ordinary courts and that we would deal with football matters at CAS (Court of Arbitration) or among ourselves.”
The CFU president says this situation may not affect the region’s football image as a whole.
“I don’t think it really hurts the region as a whole because it is a decision made by a member association. However, it is sad because T&T is one of our leading lights in terms of quality of football in the region. It is sad to know they may be affected by this kind of decision.”
Harris believes FIFA wants T&T back on the field of play, but must follow the world football body’s wishes.
“I am sure that FIFA does not want to see the back of T&T. They are merely trying to get them to withdraw the case. I think the sooner they do that FIFA will lift the ban as normal in these cases. I don’t think that they are trying to hurt T&T.”
FIFA suspended TTFA due "to grave violations of the FIFA Statutes."
TTFA was in "direct breach of article 59 of the FIFA Statutes, which expressly prohibits recourse to ordinary courts unless specifically provided for in the FIFA regulations."
Harris said it is difficult for CFU to make an intervention in a case involving FIFA.
“Basically in the football world there is no intervention to make…FIFA was being portrayed as the bad guy (and) I don’t think that we have a case to really do any sort of representation in this matter.”
Harris reiterated that when a member association takes FIFA to the ordinary court the former will suffer. “That is where the real problem is. We will just hope that good sense prevails and that T&T can be brought back into the fold of football.”
Adrian Donovan, president of Barbados football club Paradise FC, said, “We in Barbados and by extension the entire region are really saddened by this (development) here in T&T. T&T and Jamaica for years have been the leaders in the forefront of regional football.”
Donovan said administrators “run the association like it is their personal club.”
Donovan added, “They don’t want to listen to the membership and some big egos get the better of the association.”
Jamaica (Reggae Boys) were the first English-speaking Caribbean nation to qualify for the World Cup when they made an appearance at the 1998 edition in France. Eight years later it was T&T’s turn when the Soca Warriors made their debut at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Donovan said the region was filled with joy seeing Caribbean countries at the World Cup.
“Whoever represented…you could be rest assured the entire region is behind them. We were extremely proud to have any kind of representation.”’
Former national midfielder Russell Latapy is the current coach of Barbados.
Donovan said, “He (Latapy) is doing a wonderful job. He has all the respect from the players which I have not seen in previous coaches from all over the world.”