William Wallace, the embattled president of the T&T Football Association (TTFA), is being asked to equip himself to answer several questions at Sunday's Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) which was called to decide on a way forward for local football.
Two of the questions required him to say how a long-standing debt of now $70 million, will be cleared, and how he proposes to pay the salaries of coaches, office staff and other contracted officials, such as Peter Miller, the TTFA's marketing representative?
The sport's general membership intends to pose 19 questions to Wallace, who along with his vice-presidents Clynt Taylor, Joseph Sam Phillip and Susan Warrick-Joseph, who has now resigned her post, to challenge FIFA's appointment of a Normalisation Committee to replace them on March 17.
FIFA's decision came after a visit here in February that discovered the sport on the brink of insolvency, with little or no plans to revive it. However, the TTFA's decision to challenge FIFA at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland before withdrawing the matter and taking it to T&T High Court in Port-of-Spain, which breached FIFA's Statutes.
Despite calls from the general membership, the Board of the TTFA, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Minister of Sports and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe, for Wallace and his team to drop the court action against FIFA and prevent the country from being banned. FIFA, on Republic Day (September 24), suspended the TTFA for violation of its Statutes.
The suspension though came with a condition that the TTFA align its Statutes with that of the FIFA and drop all court matters.
Yesterday, a week after invitations were sent out for an October 25 date for the EGM with the agenda, the membership issued a release with the questions.
Guardian Media Sports questioned three members why the questions were sent out when Wallace had already said he would allow the membership to decide on the way forward for the sport, the members said they did not believe him.
Eastern Football Association (EFA) president Kieron Edwards said earlier attempts to make additions to the agenda was denied Wallace, who on Andre Errol Baptiste I95.5FM Programme on Saturday, told him the agenda would be broad so it will facilitate any concerns.
Edwards in his response said: "Because the agenda is so broad the discussion could go anywhere and any time. The reason for an agenda being placed for a meeting is to control the meeting and the direction of it. For example, an AGM has a set amount of agenda items to ensure that it goes a particular way."
He added: "They should have paid a little bit more attention to the agenda and have it more specific but that, having not happened, we saw it fit from the East Zone, to send these questions so at least at the starting of the EGM, these questions will be answered."
The membership is planning to block the TTFA from continuing with its decision to challenge the suspension via CAS. The membership also wants the Injunctive Relief filed in the CAS on September 25 to be dropped as well.
Edwards and company are also set to call for the removal of the Wallace executive and order the return of the FIFA-appointed normalisation committee, led by businessman Robert Hadad.
The EFA boss also believes an emerging problem of how secret voting can take place at the meeting, saying it is a problem that has to be addressed.
Contacted yesterday by Guardian Media Sports, Wallace said all questions concerning the future of T&T football will be answered on Sunday.
Today, the Court of Appeal is scheduled to determine FIFA's appeal over High Court Judge Carol Gobin's decision to hear a case brought by the United TTFA.
Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Appellate Judge Nolan Bereaux reserved their judgment on the appeal after hearing submissions from the attorneys representing both parties in a virtual hearing on Monday.
1. How are you going to pay the coaches and technical staff that you hired within the first four months of your term? Most notably the contract of the Head Coach Terry Fenwick who you agreed to pay over twenty thousand US dollars per month?
2. How are you going to pay Peter Miller with whom you signed a contract for US$25,000 per month?
3. How are you going to pay the administrative staff at the TTFA’s offices? Most notably the contract of the General Secretary who you agreed to pay eight thousand US dollars per month?
4. How are you going to pay the TTFA debt of approximately $70 million without FIFA and Government financial support?
5. Is the TTFA going to honour the contracts of Terry Fenwick, Peter Miller and Ramesh Ramdhan even though they were not approved by the TTFA Board of Directors and they were executed by you personally without proper authorization?
6. As per your promise, how are you going to operate and finance the local football leagues in T&T? Particularly, Tier one, Tier two and zonal football?
7. How are you going to operate and finance the women’s football league in T&T?
8. How are you going to repair the public image of the TTFA given the suspension of TT&T from all international football, which has never happened before?
9. How are you going to repair the relationships with FIFA and the Government?
10. Can you explain the path for our senior men’s national team and youth national team to compete in the World Cup and Gold Cup qualifiers and tournaments?
11. Can you explain the path for our referees to referee in international tournaments?
12. How are you going to attract corporate sponsors when T&T are not allowed to compete in international tournaments?
13. How are you going to operate the association when you and the other members of the United TTFA and banned by FIFA permanently?
14. Please explain your contravention of Article 1 item 3 of the TTFA constitution? “Article 1 Name, headquarters, legal form 3 TTFA is a Member of FIFA, CONCACAF and CFU.”
15. Please explain your contravention of Article 15 item b and c of the TTFA constitution? Article 15 states: “Expulsion 1 The General Meeting may expel a Member if: it fails to fulfill its financial obligations towards TTFA; it seriously violates the Statutes, regulations, directives or decisions of FIFA, CONCACAF, CFU and TTFA; it brings a dispute to an Ordinary Court, except in cases where the FIFA, CONCACAF or TTFA regulations or binding legal provisions specifically provide for or stipulate recourse to Ordinary Courts;
16. Please explain why the TTFA membership should retain you as president when you admitted freely in the press that you signed multimillion-dollar contracts in excess of amounts approved by of the Board of Directors. You also admitted to signing contracts that you specifically hid from the TTFA board Of Directors and this is clearly an oversight on your part?
17. Please explain, why you have blatantly ignored the wishes of the members of TTFA as a significant majority of members have communicated informally with you to cease the court action and you have refused to do so.
18. Please explain, why the prime minister and minister of sports have also tried to persuade you and your associates known as the United TTFA to cease your court action and to comply with the requests of Fifa but here too you have ignored the highest authority in Trinidad and Tobago?
19. Please explain why you have breached Article 39.d of the TTFA constitution which states as follows: ‘The president […] is primarily responsible for: d) relations between TTFA and its members, Fifa, Concacaf, Cfu, political bodies and other organisations.’
1. The President represents TTFA legally.
2. He is primarily responsible for:
a) implementing the decisions passed by the General Meeting and the Board of Directors through the General Secretariat;
b) ensuring the effective functioning of the bodies of TTFA in order that they achieve the objectives described in this Constitution;
c) supervising the work of the General Secretariat;
d) relations between TTFA and its Members, FIFA, CONCACAF, CFU, political bodies and other organisations.
Questions for Wallace.
By Ian Prescott (T&T Express).
“Please explain why the TTFA membership should retain you as president, when you admitted freely in the press that you signed multi-million-dollar contracts, in excess of amounts approved by of the Board of Directors.”
This is among questions Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) board member and Eastern Football Association (EFA) president Kieron Edwards hopes to put to TTFA president Williams Wallace at Sunday’s virtual TTFA Emergency General Meeting (EGM).
Wallace has kept a promise to allow the TTFA’s 47 delegates to point the future direction of football via an EGM, after winning a legal claim in the TTFA High Court challenging FIFA’s decision to replace his executive in March with a normalisation committee. Wallace has promised to abide by the decision of TTFA delegates.
Justice Carol Gobin’s October 19 decision deemed FIFA’s normalisation committee illegal and re-installed Wallace as TTFA president. However, en route to that decision, FIFA suspended the TTFA as a result of Wallace’s group violating FIFA statutes by taking the matter to local court rather than the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Edwards has made it known, that he favours the lifting of FIFA’s suspension of the TTFA, via the removal of the current TTFA executive and the installation of FIFA’s normalisation committee to run local football. Edwards had also asked that removal of Wallace’s executive be specifically set as an EGM agenda item. This was denied, but the broad nature of the meeting gives Edwards another the chance to still raise the challenge.
Wallace will be called upon to explain why he returned to court to pursue legal action against FIFA, specifically against the wishes of the majority of TTFA delegates and with the TTFA suspended and barred from accessing FIFA funding, Wallace will be called upon to explain how he plans to manage the upwards of $70 million of TTFA debt and the host of pending litigation against the Football Association. Without FIFA funding, Wallace will also be asked to explain how he will cover daily operations and service debts.
“How are you going to pay the coaches and technical staff that you hired within the first four months of your term? Most notably the contract of the head coach Terry Fenwick, who you agreed to pay over twenty thousand US dollars per month?
“How are you going to pay the administrative staff at the TTFA’s offices? “ Edwards asks. “Is the TTFA going to honour the contracts of Terry Fenwick, Peter Miller and Ramesh Ramdhan, even though they were not approved by the TTFA Board of Directors.
“As per your promise, how are you going to operate and finance the local football leagues in Trinidad and Tobago? Particularly, Tier one, Tier two and zonal football? How are you going to operate and finance the women’s football league in Trinidad and Tobago?”
Edwards summises that the failure of Wallace to adequately answer probing question will convey a lack of confidence in his ability to hold the post of TTFA president.