Thu, Jan

Members of the United TTFA

T&T Football Association (TTFA) president William Wallace and vice-presidents Clynt Taylor and Joseph Sam Phillip have omitted themselves from Sunday’s crucial extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of the fraternity’s 47-member delegation.

On the eve of the much anticipated EGM, which is being held to chart a way forward for T&T football, Wallace wrote to the TTFA’s membership explaining his absence while declaring Sunday’s meeting “properly constituted”.

“Over the last seven months since March, we were fortunate to be allowed rare candid views of the TTFA as it is really seen from several other vantage points—including the international and the regional and, latterly, the judicial and the political.

“That combination of different points of view, especially the political, has made it clear to my vice-presidents and me that our views and the views of some fraction of the membership remain at variance at this time.

He continued, “We are acutely aware that tomorrow is promised to no one of us and that it is the membership’s right to decide on the tomorrow they desire for the TTFA. We shall not stand in your way.

“To this end, we have decided to absent ourselves from the EGM. In our view, the meeting was properly constituted and as per constitution the delegates can elect a chairperson in the absence of the president.”

Wallace closed by saying Rayshawn Mars, secretary and delegate of the North Zone, agreed to provide the technical support needed to conduct the EGM. He then wished the member delegation a “successful meeting.”

Additionally, the embattled president remains convinced the previous court matter between the ousted executive and FIFA could have been heard in the local courts.

On Friday, however, Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Justice of Appeal Nolan Bereaux overturned two rulings delivered by Justice Carol Gobin of the TT High Court, delivered in August and October, on the local court’s jurisdiction to hear the TTFA’s complaint and its challenge of the imposition of the normalisation committee in March.

Both appellate court judges agreed the filing of proceedings in the local courts by TTFA’s president and his executive was a breach of the local football body’s constitution which provides that any dispute against a decision by FIFA must be heard by the CAS.

Wallace’s letter to the membership also said, “We remain convinced that the right to make our case, to let our voices be heard, is a basic human right. It is a right which, in our view, Fifa denied us when they abrogated their responsibility at the Court of Arbitration.

“We are well aware of what that action led to. We hasten to add that we recognise the authority of the appeal court to conclude that Madame Justice Carol Gobin erred.”

In response to Wallace,Taylor and Phillip pulling out of the EGM, TTFA board member Brent Sancho dubbed this move as anticlimactic. He even classed the executive’s “cowardly decision” as “the biggest farce in local football” and also deemed the meeting unconstitutional.

“The executive board never met. They sent out an email stating that they wanted to host a meeting. There’s nothing in the TTFA constitution which talks about round-robin a decision of such. The executive committee (13 members) can call an EGM but they have to meet to discuss the agenda and the actual meeting. There was none of that. No discussions were held,” he stated.

In this regard, Sancho believes the EGM was not properly constituted. He was also uncertain if he would take part in Sunday’s meeting but will address the Central FC board to decide what their next step is.

“This is part and parcel of the way they do things. The fact that he sent out this pathetic press release about not being in the meeting, I mean, how much more disrespectful can you get to the membership? They’re asking for a way forward and you’re not there. They are constantly dodging, diving, running from questions and refusing to face the music,” said the former sports minister.

Sancho continued, “How can you call a meeting, a non-constitutional one, then don’t show up as though you don’t want to hear the members and leave the entire thing in chaos? He’s a coward, he has absolutely no reason to be in any position of power.

“You can clearly see this has been one of the biggest farce in the history of football. He has taken the representation of this country and thrown it down a hole. I’m disgusted by his actions, the people around him and his advisors.”

Additionally, president of the East Zone Football Association (EFA) Kieron Edwards is unconcerned with Wallace, Taylor and Phillip’s decision to be absent. According to him, once enough TTFA members are in attendance, whatever decisions are agreed upon by the membership, these findings will determine the way forward for T&T football.

“It doesn’t concern me who attends the meeting, once we have a quorum. Any and every decision the membership makes must be abided by. With or without the president there, we will have the meeting and the members will have their say,” said Edwards.

Before Wallace and his team’s abrupt exit, the EFA president penned a detailed two-page document to the executive questioning how it plans to run the sport’s affairs if the nation remains indefinitely banned by FIFA.

“By them not showing up at the EGM, they gave an answer to me which indicates that they’re not answering anything. So whatever the decision the membership has to make at the EGM, they would be made. They were questions that were supposed to be answered. If he doesn’t want to, then that’s his choice,” he stated.

Meanwhile, chairman of the normalisation committee Robert Hadad remained tight-lipped on Friday’s ruling by the Court of Appeal, which quashed Wallace’s reinstatement back to the helm of the TTFA, making way for the possible reappointment of the FIFA-appointed committee.

He said, “We’re still working through exactly what the position is because T&T is still suspended. Give me a couple days because we’re still discussing exactly where it is we’re going and we want to see what happens at the EGM.”

SOURCE: T&T Newsday