Sat, Jun

TTFA President William Wallace

DEPENDING ON the outcome of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on October 25, the reinstated executive may consider approaching the Government to help chart a way forward.

This was discussed during Thursday’s meeting between restored TTFA president William Wallace, the Prime Minister, Minister of National Security Stuart Young and Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe.

The impromptu meeting came as a result of Tuesday’s ruling by Justice Carol Gobin, which deemed null and void the removal in March of Wallace’s team from the helm of local football and installation of a normalisation committee to run the TTFA’s affairs.

Justice Gobin’s judgement returned control of the TTFA to the ousted administration, although T&T remains indefinitely banned from participating in all FIFA-sanctioned tournaments.

Wallace said Dr Rowley asked to meet with him to verify the executive’s plans going forward.

But he said the future of T&T football lies in hands of the membership at the EGM.

The EGM will be held virtually and is expected to attract all 47 members of the TTFA, who, after discussion, will vote on the administration’s next step.

“Decisions will be made based on what direction the membership wants us to go in. If the Government can help in any way, then we’d come back to the PM at that point. He (Rowley) was concerned about us (TTFA) being suspended and what they (Government) can probably do to help.

“Of course he was made aware of what FIFA was asking on the issue of TTFA’s statutes, and from all legal opinions, the statute they seem to be targeting is the Act of Parliament (The Act 17 of 1982 which be cited as The T&T Football Association (Incorporation) Act, 1982).

"If it’s that what FIFA wants, then it’s out of the TTFA hands and would be up to the Government to make those decisions with that,” he said.

At the meeting, Rowley also asked Wallace to remove all TTFA matters from the local court. Wallace reiterated that the local fraternity does not have any pending matters before the court.

FIFA has a hearing at the Court of Appeal on Monday.

The TTFA has contested, at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the global governing body’s decision to suspend it.

The pursuit of TTFA’s appeal at CAS will also depend on the membership’s decision to continue or withdraw the matter from the Switzerland-based court.

“The TTFA has no matters in the local court, because FIFA is the one that brought the appeal, and I explained that.

"The CAS appeal will also be put to the membership at the EGM. If they decide to vote to withdraw that from CAS, then so be it.

“As I said, it is up to them. If they want it to remain at CAS and want us to take our chances with that, if they have another way of trying to help or satisfy FIFA, they can say it at the meeting. Once the members agree and they vote to that, then so shall it be,” Wallace added.

TTFA’s debt of approximately $50 million was also discussed,with Wallace admitting this was a “serious issue”.

He said he was never given a fair chance to have his projected plans come to life, since after just four months as TTFA head, he was dethroned by FIFA, owing to the “massive debt.”

“I did discuss TTFA’s debt with the PM. But regardless of who is in charge of football in TT, that the debt would be a serious issue to deal with. He (PM) recognised that, and I don’t know how that will be dealt with.

"We had our plans. They were never given any chance to materialise. They were maligned and shut down and FIFA came in,” Wallace said.

The TTFA boss also told the PM and his fellow ministers that, “If normalisation meant coming in and paying off the debt, then I would have walked away from this whole thing a long time ago. But that is not what normalisation meant, It mean that we remain normal. We still had to treat with everything that existed.”

Wallace also welcomed suggestions and support from the security and sport ministers.

He concluded, “What the PM wanted out of this was,‘How do we go forward?’ As he said, at the end of it all, there’s nothing much that we can do. We can talk, but if the EGM and membership’s decision is crucial to all of this, then we would have to wait on that.”

SOURCE: T&T Newsday