Sat, Jul

Keiron Edwards, president of the Eastern Football Association (EFA)

A letter, on behalf of seven suspended clubs in the T&T Super League (TTSL), will be sent to the League's executive soon, challenging the decisions made at last Sunday's annual general meeting (AGM) and election of officers to keep them suspended for differing reasons.

Following the election of former Strike Squad captain and defender Clayton Morris as president of the TTSL, seven clubs suspended since April 2018, which were hoping to be re-instated as legitimate members, had their hopes dashed when they were told they all had to remain on suspension.

Four of the seven clubs - Tobago Phoenix, Youth Stars, Central 500, and WASA FC - were told that since they were suspended by the parent body the T&T Football Association (TTFA) for non-compliance in 2018, the Super League could not reinstate them.

Constitutional expert Osmond Downer said the clubs would have to consult the chairman of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee Robert Hadad for a meeting of the general membership for their suspension to be lifted.

In the case of the other three clubs, however, Defence Force, Marabella Family Crisis Centre, and central club Harlem Strikers were ordered to stay on suspension for the next six months, during which time, they were to sort out all the issues that prevented them from being left out of the League, including compliance and registration fees.

These decisions did not sit well with Keiron Edwards, president of the Eastern Football Association (EFA) who said due process was not followed in the decision-making process and called for the seven clubs to be re-instated immediately.

Edwards, who says he has studied the constitutions of various football organisations in-depth, stated when administrators take decisions to suspend clubs, they must first be confirmed by a two-thirds majority at the following AGM, before the suspensions can be carried out.

According to Edwards, "Right now, according to the constitution, they should be re-instated into the Super League. The Super League's bye-laws say in article nine (Suspension) that if the Board of Management suspends anyone, it must come to the next general meeting, which was the AGM held on Sunday, for confirmation, and the only way it can be confirmed as stated in article 9 (2) is that it must have two-thirds of the votes cast confirming the suspension and that did not happen.

"There was a vote of four to three (4-3), where four were in favour of the suspension being carried and three in favour of the clubs being re-instated. The board did not get the required votes to continue to suspend the clubs and all was supposed to be re-instated into the Super League."

Nine clubs voted on Sunday- Bethel United FC, Club Sando, FC Santa Rosa, Matura Re-United, Prisons FC, Queen's Park Cricket Club (QPCC), RSSR, San Fernando Giants, and the University of T&T (UTT), while some others such as Cunupia FC, Guaya United and Petit Valley Diego Martin United, stayed away from the elections in protest of a breach of the constitution, by forcing the virtual voting.

Strangely though, acting upon a request by Club Sando and seconded by Bethel, for a vote to taken to decide on whether the election should take place virtually, there were seven votes for and none against it, with two abstentions.

Edwards believes that a suspension by the parent TTFA does not debar clubs from taking part in a competition, saying: "The four clubs suspended by the TTFA need to get their house in order, to play tournaments, competition football with the Super League, which is a totally different matter, but as they are suspended currently, they have no voting rights.

"So while persons might be talking about they have a suspension by TTFA, that has nothing to do with Super League having them suspended. You can be suspended by TTFA and not be suspended by whatever association you're affiliated with."

Since the suspension of the clubs back in 2018, Sunday's AGM was the only opportunity for the suspensions to be confirmed, Edwards said, noting that the non-confirmation means that the clubs should be allowed to vote and sort out all their issues concerning compliance.

Edwards made it clear that the clubs will go through the respective channels to be re-instated: "They would write to the Super League, of which the bye-laws say there is arbitration so they can write to the newly installed president, informing him of the what had happened and for them to be fully re-instated into the Super League."