There is a possibility that comes March 27, 2022, the stranglehold on the T&T Football Association (TTFA) by the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee could be extended.
This is according to Selby Browne of the Veteran Football Foundation of T&T (VFFOTT) who spoke to Guardian Media Sports on Monday about what the progress was made to date by the Robert Hadad-led NC since being appointed to take control of local football federation following the removal from office of the duly elected William Wallace, who defeated incumbent David John-Williams in the November 2019 T&TFA elections.
Back then FIFA in its letter of appointment said: The Bureau of the FIFA Council has today decided to appoint a Normalisation Committee for the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) in accordance with article. 8 par. 2 of the FIFA Statutes.
The decision follows the recent FIFA/Concacaf fact-finding mission to Trinidad and Tobago to assess, together with an independent auditor, the financial situation of TTFA.
The mission which took place in February 2020, found that extremely low overall financial management methods, combined with massive debt, have resulted in the TTFA facing a very real risk of insolvency and illiquidity. Such a situation is putting at risk the organisation and development of football in the country and corrective measures need to be applied urgently.
Therefore, the mandate of the Normalisation Committee will include the following:
· to run the TTFA'S daily affairs;
· to establish a debt repayment plan that is implementable by the TTFA;
· to review and amend the TTFA Statutes (and other regulations where necessary) and to ensure their compliance with the FIFA Statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress;
· to organise and to conduct elections of a new TTFA Executive Committee for a four-year mandate.
The Normalisation Committee will be composed of an adequate number of members to be identified by the FIFA administration, in consultation with Concacaf. In line with the FIFA Governance Regulations, all members of the Normalisation Committee will be subject to an eligibility check.
The Normalisation Committee will act as an electoral committee, and none of its members will be eligible for any of the open positions in the TTFA elections under any circumstances. The specified period of time during which the Normalisation Committee will perform its functions will expire as soon as it has fulfilled all of its assigned tasks, but no later than 24 months after its members have been officially appointed by FIFA.
However, Browne was quick to point out that the date for the new T&TFA elections is just about five months but the Normalisation Committee is yet to get done what they were appointed to do.
He added, “So it is my view that ahead of the next T&TFA election it is the prerogative of FIFA to extend or consider the extension of the tenure of the Normalisation Committee. For how long it may do so or what process it entails, I don’t know, but we (T&TFA membership) are not ready or have not received any information. But I do the thing it is possible unless we will have a host of proposals presented during the final quarter of 2021 for consideration by the membership, and that I expect.”
Reflecting on the appointment of the NC and the lack of communication or information coming to the membership, Browne stated, “We have less than five months to the end of the NC reign and FIFA has taken a decision to pay an NC to provide recommendations to the T&TFA membership. They were given a mandate of two years, and it is now to find out from the NC whether if they are ready to any recommendations."
However, Browne said he doubted the NC led by chairman Robert Hadad was ready to do so.
He explained, “My personal view is that the NC got distracted with running the day-to-day affairs of football like the preparations of the teams for the World Cup qualifiers, Gold Cup qualifiers and the women’s team, things they were not really prepared for.”
But in their defence, Browne stated, "Remember these are professionals in the own right, but they are not efficient at the business of football,” said Browne.
On Sunday, the Normalisation Committee-led T&TFA was able to approve the 2019 audited financials at the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) hosted by the Robert Hadad-led NC Sunday virtually with the TTFA membership.
The EGM was called as a direct consequence of the motions passed by the TTFA Members at the annual general meeting (AGM) which was held on September 26 where the membership required further time to review the 2019 audited financial statements in detail, understanding the implications to the TTFA, and tabled all additional questions to the external auditors Madan Ramnarine and Co and the Normalisation Committee.
According to a release from TTFA’s acting general secretary Amiel Mohammed those questions were received before the EGM and addressed by the auditors and the Normalisation Committee.
And following further discussions on the topic at Sunday’s meeting, the 2019 audited financials were approved by the TTFA membership by a clear majority vote.
Additionally, during the EGM, the T&TFA membership ratified the expulsion of the Coaches Association from the membership to correct a motion that was not properly executed, as per the TTFA constitution, at an Extraordinary General Meeting held on April 21, 2018.
Following this decision, the TTFA Membership admitted the Unified Football Coaches of T&T (UFCTT) and welcomed them as the newest member of the TTFA.
Commenting on the EGM, Browne said the T&TFA made great progress.
He said, “We are in a better place than we were a day before and it’s the first time that there was a dialogue with a meaningful discussion between the NC and the membership.