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Fri, Oct

Gayle (right): FIFA illogically inconsistent.
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There seem to be more unanswered questions from FIFA's ruling on September 24, a situation that could potentially call on the sport's world governing body for clarity.

FIFA's suspension of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) came with a condition that it must first drop the court matter, and align its Statutes with that of the FIFA to regain FIFA membership. However, Matthew Gayle, one of the four TTFA lawyers believes that FIFA has been illogically inconsistent with its request and needed to be clear with what it wants since the TTFA was formed by an act of Parliament and it could be frankly audacious for them (FIFA) to ask the T&T Parliament to amend it.

Speaking to Guardian Media Sports on Sunday he said, "It makes no sense," Gayle explained, just two days before Justice Carol Gobin rules on the legitimacy of the FIFA to appoint a Normalisation Committee to replace a duly elected football administration on March 17, to manage football in T&T.

Gayle assured the TTFA constitution is perfectly in line with that of FIFA since FIFA approved it. "The only thing that is inconsistent with FIFA Statutes is the Act of Parliament and I don't think that FIFA will be so audacious to ask the Parliament to amend its act."

The aims and objects of the Association are: (a) to regulate and control the conduct of Football in T&T (under the Federation Internationale de Football Association system) and to provide playing fields and conveniences in connection therewith;

Accordingly, Article 2 (e) objectives of the TTFA constitution states: (e) to respect and prevent any infringement of the statutes, regulations, directives, and decisions of FIFA, CONCACAF, CFU, and TTFA as well as the Laws of the Game, and to ensure that these are also respected by its Members; Act item 4 states: The affairs of the Association shall be managed by a General Council whose election powers and procedures shall be as prescribed in the Constitution and Rules of the Association.

Article 7 Conduct of Bodies and Officials of the TTFA Constitution states: The bodies and Officials of TTFA must observe the statutes, regulations, directives, decisions, and the Code of Ethics of FIFA, CONCACAF, CFU and TTFA in their activities.

Last week Justice Gobin reserved her ruling in the court the for Tuesday and could well call upon FIFA's local lawyers for clarification of what is meant by asking the TTFA to bring its Statutes in line with theirs (FIFA).

Gayle said he was also confused by FIFA's claim that while the normalisation committee will cease to exist during the suspension, FIFA will only communicate with the normalisation committee concerning all T&T-football-related matters.

William Wallace, the TTFA president has said his group will drop the court battle with the FIFA if the court rules against them.

However, he maintained that if the court rules in their favour, they will convene an Emergency General Meeting to decide on the way forward for everything, inclusive of their if they will continue or drop the matters in the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland as well as the appeal matter in the local court which comes up for hearing on October 21.

ABOUT THE TTFA VS FIFA CASE (SIDE BAR)

Through the lawsuit, Wallace and his three vice presidents — Clynt Taylor, Joseph Sam Phillips, and Susan Joseph-Warrick (resigned on September 25) are seeking a declaration that the decision to remove them in March and replace them with a committee comprising of businessman Robert Hadad, attorney Judy Daniel, and retired banker Nigel Romano was null, void, and of no legal or binding effect.

They are also seeking a permanent injunction barring FIFA from meddling in the TTFA's affairs by allegedly seeking to circumvent the democratic process by removing duly elected executive members.

Gobin has also been asked to decide whether FIFA's statutes, under which the replacement was done, conform with the local legislation, which established the association.

Wallace and his team initially brought proceedings against FIFA in the Court for Arbitration for Sport (CAS) but were forced to withdraw as they could not pay the 40,000 Swiss francs (TT$276,000) in associated costs.

Their position was partly due to FIFA's policy to not pay its share of the fees and CAS's rules, which require the other party to pay the full costs when the other fails in its obligations.

After the case was filed, FIFA applied for it to be struck out as it claimed that the TTFA by virtue of its membership with FIFA agreed to forgo all legal action in local courts in favour of proceedings before the CAS following a vote on September 22 in which 21 members voted for the TTFA to drop the matter, 8 votes to fight FIFA and 3 members abstained.

However, the TTFA failed to meet FIFA's deadline of 3:00 pm (T&T Time) on Wednesday 23 September after filing their withdrawal application at 3:23 pm and on September 24 (T&T Republic Day) FIFA suspended the TTFA form all FIFA's activities, programmes and events until further notice.