Sun, Mar

Chairman of the Normalisation Committee, Robert Hadad

LOCAL BUSINESSMAN Robert Hadad will remain in control of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) for at least another year.

This comes after the term of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee was extended for a second time by FIFA, the international body governing world football.

Through secretary general Fatma Samoura, FIFA informed Hadad that the term of the Normalisation Committee had been extended a second time.

“Due to the challenges that the TTFA continues to face and to ensure that the mandate of the Normalisation Committee (i.e. revision and amendment of the statutes and organisation and conduction of elections of a new TTFA executive committee for a four-year mandate) is carried out and fulfilled in strict compliance with the Bureau’s decision, the Bureau decided on 27 February 2023 to extend the mandate of the Normalisation Committee until 31 March 2024 at the latest,” Samoura’s correspondence stated.

In December 2022, TTFA delegates held an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) where the majority opted to hasten the Normalisation Committee’s departure by voting to have a new TTFA executive installed via elections on March 18, 2023. That motion was later quashed at a subsequent EGM.

And the extension given to Hadad’s committee has not gone down well with some who wanted to see FIFA’s control end.

Expressing no surprise, TTFA presidential front-runner and delegate Richard Ferguson would only say that a meeting was being organised among TTFA delegates to deal with the latest development.

“The membership are having a meeting and they will deal with that,” stated Ferguson yesterday. “They are calling one (meeting) and they will sit down and decide how they are going to deal with that (NC extension).”

Selby Browne, former TTFA presidential candidate and current president of the Veteran Footballers Foundation, saw the latest development as FIFA entrenching its control over Trinidad and Tobago football.

“I now look forward to the NC’s completion of the two-year assignment in this fourth year,” Browne commented.

FIFA appointed the Normalisation Committee after removing the TTFA executive led by former president William Wallace and appointing Hadad’s management team to run the Association, spotlighting spiralling debt for its decision.

Having been first appointed in March 2020 and given a two-year mandate, which was subsequently extended by a further year to March 17, 2023, Hadad’s committee was due to demit office this month. However, in announcing a second extension, Samoura’s correspondence indicated that consideration was given to allow the NC to complete its given tasks to liquidate the multi-million-dollar TTFA debt and also amend the TTFA statutes, paving the way for the election of a new TTFA executive.

The TTFA Normalisation Committee, through trustee Maria Daniel, commenced a debt settlement exercise with creditors under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA), which will see smaller creditors paid in full, while those with larger sums owing will get a share of the well over TT$50 million the TTFA owes to them.

Samoura’s e-mailed letter indicated that the FIFA Bureau took into consideration that the debt-repayment process is not yet complete. And for the first time, Samoura also confirmed FIFA as being the financier behind the removal of the huge TTFA debt burden.

“FIFA has now approved financial assistance to the TTFA, subject to signing a strict financial agreement between FIFA and the TTFA,” Samoura disclosed.

“The Bureau acknowledged that, with the primary objective of allowing the Normalisation Committee to fulfil one of its main tasks and with a view to preventing the TTFA’s complete liquidation, as well as avoiding significant long-term harm to the organisation and football in general in Trinidad and Tobago, FIFA decided to provide financial support to the TTFA to address its extreme situation.”

“Consequently, and considering the backlog, the Normalisation Committee has not yet been able to begin revising the statutes, another of its main tasks. Given the above circumstances and the fact that the BIA process, according to the proposal outlined to the creditors and the court, requires not only payment of the creditors but also that TTFA’s governance be restructured, and its oversight strengthened, we consider that it is of the utmost importance that the normalisation committee complete the BIA process.”

SOURCE: T&T Express