Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith has been approached by the T&T Super League (TTSL) for approval so that it can hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Election of Officers to be held at a venue that will facilitate the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic protocols as outlined by the Ministry of Health to the general public.
Guardian Media Sports was informed of this development by two members of the Board of Directors of the TTSL on Tuesday, ahead of Sunday's planned meeting in which former national standout Clayton Morris will challenge interim president Jameson Rigues for the League's presidency.
The interim TTSL boss who took over following the resignation of Keith Look Loy on October 16, has been at odds with the other four board members- Anderson Veronique, Eddison Dean, Colin Murray, and George Joseph over a decision to have the AGM and election held virtually on Sunday, saying, that while the AGM can go on, the election required a process of a secret ballot which is stated in the the League's constitution and it is not possible via the virtual platform.
The quartet has been planning to use the force majeure clause highlighted in article 58 of the bylaws, which they believe will be applicable due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rigues, the former Guaya United manager and Super League's first vice president who was elevated to the position of president a day after Look Loy's exit, believes the use of the clause will be an infringement on the rights of the membership.
Rigues, told Guardian Media Sports two weeks ago, that he suggested to the board that a neutral venue be used and that he was going in search of that venue.
However, this was followed up by a letter to Griffith, seeking permission for a venue that is COVID-19-capable of holding the election.
Rigues said yesterday that he was unaware of whether approval was given for the meeting to take place, but was confident it would have been given.
Meanwhile, attempts to reach Griffith on Tuesday for a response on the request proved futile as calls to his phone went unanswered.
Apart from the Super League, the Commissioner of Police was also to act on a similar request from the membership of the Northern Football Association (NFA) who are desperate to remove the existing executive that was led by their former president Anthony Harford, who has now also resigned.
According to the TTSL constitution, elections are to be held before December 31st this year, which means Rigues could be looking for a postponement or they will be using an unknown facility.
Apart from the election being held face-to-face, Rigues will also be seeking to address a situation in which seven clubs suspended since 2018, were done so with the approval of the board.
The clubs- Central 500, Defence Force, Harlem Strikers, Marabella Family Crisis Centre, Phoenix, WASA FC, and the Youth Stars from Tobago, were suspended for either being non-compliant with the T&T Football Association/FIFA/CONCACAF, or because of failure to register in time for competition in 2018 or 2019.
Rigues said after doing his investigation he realised that there were no minutes to show that the suspension went before the board for approval, saying: "So as far as I am concerned the clubs were not suspended. This could only mean that the former president instructed the secretary to write letters to the clubs saying they were suspended."
According to Rigues: "According to the suspension letter that was issued to those seven clubs on January 27, that letter stated that the board suspended those members, however, there are no minutes whatsoever, nothing in the minutes to state that that was an agenda item to show that it was discussed at that level."
He added: "When I look at the minutes of January 20th, which were the minutes prior to that suspension letter, there was nothing in the minutes, no discussion whatsoever related to the suspension of those members. So the board couldn't have made a decision to suspend those members, so it's very strange to me who suspended those members. The League secretary would have sent out a notification to these members related to the suspension. I assume he had been acting on behalf of the instruction of the former president, however that was not brought to the board for a decision to be made. Because I for one would have been against that decision. It would have had to go to a vote and the vote would have been 5-4 and one against because Jameson Rigues would have always been against that decision."
Should Rigues have his way, the suspension of the clubs will be an agenda item at the AGM whenever it is held. It could see the clubs being reinstated immediately and being allowed to vote at the elections.
Meanwhile, Joseph, the Bethel United manager who is one of five members on the board, said: "Yes there was a board meeting where that suspension came up and the board decide too, as the rule says, suspended them temporarily and then the general meeting will make the decision if to uphold the suspension or reverse it at the next general meeting."
According to Joseph: "The next general meeting did come up in the early part of 2019 but members felt that it was not the end of the season or the end of the two-year cycle for most of the teams, because when you miss two consecutive years according to the TTFA rule you are automatically expelled, but they said they will defer it. So there was a decision to defer the decision until the end of the season, which would have been finished in December. Subsequent to that we had no meeting between that period, so the matter could not have come up for discussion."