WILLIAM WALLACE is restored as Trinidad and Tobago Football Association president following Justice Carol Gobin’s landmark verdict in the Trinidad and Tobago High Court which, late Tuesday, rendered FIFA’S March 17 decision to dismiss the Wallace-led executive and impose a normalisation committee to run local football null and void.
But can Wallace now run a broke TTFA without FIFA and Government funding, following T&T’s suspension from international football as a consequence of the legal action? TTFA board member Brent Sancho believes Wallace has many questions to answer from the wider TTFA membership.
Following Justice Gobin’s favourable ruling, Wallace has stated he is prepared to walk away with his head held high—even if his High Court challenge ends with TTFA members removing him from office.
“If this is all that we would have achieved, I would be happy,” stated Wallace yesterday on TV6’s Morning Edition hosted by Fazeer Mohammed.
Wallace used an excerpt of Gobin’s 23-page judgment to illustrate his point. “In the circumstances, the TTFA’s actions of seeking redress before the Court was perhaps the only appropriate response which avoided capitulating to the demands of FIFA and thereby elevating the status of FIFA statutes above the laws passed by our Parliament,” Gobin noted in point 56 of her judgment.
“If it is only that we have done, defended the laws of Parliament, then I walk away with my head held high,” added Wallace.
Sancho also felt Tuesday’s verdict was predictable, given the judge’s earlier utterings and also given that FIFA did not contest the proceedings. He also felt the repercussions may be far reaching. Sancho warned that if taken lightly, the situation can become worse if a FIFA suspension turns into expulsion.
‘I’m not surprised in any way at what has transpired,” said Sancho. “In terms of the judgment, it was always heading that way.” Sancho, though, believes Wallace would have difficulty convincing the majority of TTFA delegates that his action was justified. and said Wallace now needs to indicate how he intends to run football, given the dire state of the TTFA’s finances, more so having been cut off from FIFA funding, arising from its suspension from international football
“They are back in charge. They fought for it, albeit it is a hollow victory,” Sancho declared. “Now, I want to know how they going to run football.
“What are their plans? How are they going to manage their $70-plus million debt and the contracts that they signed? How are they going to pay the TTFA staff and the coaches they owe?” questioned Sancho, who believes United TTFA’s time in charge of the Association had been as disastrous as past administrations.
“They were never fit for office,” Sancho declared, referring to questionable contracts and Wallace’s action during four months in charge.
“They are the ones who on their own decided to go to court, knowing what the ramifications would be. These men have gone about things in a selfish, power-grabbing manner. And now they want to meet with the membership! Why they didn’t meet with the membership three months ago?”
In making her judgment, Justice Gobin noted her deliberations were made strictly within the laws of Trinidad and Tobago although referring to the implication of the judgment to involved parties.
“The wisdom of the challenge by the Claimants of the actions of FIFA is not for the Court. But it has to be said that the law expects the TTFA to do what its statutory duty requires even in the face of unlawful pressure,” Gobin noted, adding, “The repercussions are worrying. One can therefore sympathise with the views of the many persons who believe that such far reaching consequences should be avoided, perhaps at all costs.”
Wallace promises TTFA EGM within ten days
By Ian Prescott (Express).
Membership to decide
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION (TTFA) president William Wallace promised to convene an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) with his membership within ten days following the ruling of Justice Carol Gobin.
Wallace appeared on yesterday’s Morning Edition programme hosted by presenter Fazeer Mohammed and indicated that a meeting is being planned for the membership to decide how they want to proceed.
“Yes definitely that is on the cards (calling EGM in 10 days time with the accredited TTFA members),” Wallace responded directly to Mohammed’s question, “I have already spoken with the general secretary so he is going to advise the Board and members and the agenda for the meeting once we get the green light from the Board, the meeting will definitely be called and basically this is in the hands of the membership and let the membership decide how they want to go forward.”
Wallace added he would bide by whatever decision the membership takes in a constitutionally-convened meeting.
Asked if the ruling in his favour in the local court had been worth it, since this country remains suspended by world football’s governing body, FIFA, Wallace said: “If the quest for justice has a price then so be it. But we should never, ever stop looking for justice. If we have to go back to the times when might was right, if we have to go back to the times when rules are not important under particular circumstances, then I think we are in a really, really sad place and for me taking this action, was an action that I think was necessary.”
He continued: “And what I think it (the court action against FIFA) did was it has opened up Trinidad and Tobago for scrutiny and probably this is good for us in terms of our growth. This is probably a very good thing for us.”
Outspoken Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) president Keith Look Loy, also party to the law suit, said their intention was not to deny the will of the TTFA membership
“You have to remember that an effort was made to withdraw this matter on the suggestion guidance of informal meeting on August 22. But FIFA decided to play hard-ball for two minutes, and it is FIFA who scored an own-goal. We have defended the sovereignty of T&T and now FIFA has to deal with consequences of their actions,” Look Loy contended.
He added FIFA has never been concerned with Trinidad and Tobago football since the TTFA joined the global body in 1964, but are primarily focused on their global system of dominating world football.
He said it is now up to the Government to change the Act 10 of 1992 and for the membership to decide if they want to bow to the dictates of FIFA.
TTFA vice-president Clynt Taylor said their group stood on the principle of not being removed unjustly, adding the Wallace slate was elected to lead and make decisions.
Taylor was confident they would be remembered favourably by history. “It will be proven that the steps that we took would, and has already began, to make significant changes around the world,” he said, without identifying those changes.