Matthew Gayle

The war of words between First Citizens Bank (FCB) and recent ousted executive members of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) over control of the organisation’s bank account continued on Wednesday.

The battle, which has thus far been fought via a series of strongly-worded legal letters sent between attorneys for both parties, resumed yesterday as attorney Matthew Gayle, who is representing former TTFA president William Wallace and his executive team, sent a letter to FCB’s attorney Kendell Alexander, yesterday morning.

In the letter, which was obtained by Guardian Media Sports, Gayle sought to respond to correspondence sent by Alexander on Monday (April 27).

Gayle questioned Alexander’s decision to mention the executive team’s pending proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over FIFA’s decision to oust them and replace them with a Normalisation Committee chaired by businessman Robert Hadad on March 17.

In his letter, Alexander stated that the issue would be determined after the parties provide court documents over the resolution of the dispute between parties.

Describing the claim as regrettable as it was allegedly made without any reliable information on the ongoing dispute, Gayle said: “All that is relevant, so far as the relationship between my client and yours, is that the TTFA has an established means of electing its Executive Officers, as well as an established means for those officers to demit office.”

He maintained that his clients were lawfully elected on November 24, last year, and had not demitted office since.

“Nowhere in my previous correspondence was there any express reference specifically to this body or the proceedings before CAS, which are confidential arbitral proceedings to which your client has no access to,” Gayle said, as he accused the bank of attempting to be an informal arbiter between the parties.

Stating that FCB should have established policies to determine who properly controls TTFA’s accounts, Gayle stated that there was no basis to “legitimately surmise that there has been a change in the status quo”.

“Your client, therefore, would be in breach of its duties and obligations to my client should, as your letter tends to suggest, my client’s executive be prevented in any way from accessing and operating the accounts in the name of my client,” Gayle said, as he compared the situation to a hypothetical one involving allowing an unauthorised third party access.

Gayle also noted that his clients did not have access to its online banking service as alleged by Alexander and requested that the facility be restored.

Gayle gave the bank until 4 pm on Thursday to restore unfettered access to the accounts before he files a lawsuit on the issue.

Guardian Media Sports reported on Monday that since the dispute arose, FIFA and CONCACAF were exploring options to provide funding to the committee to run the organisation while avoiding litigation.

The source who spoke to us on Monday on the condition of anonymity said that apart from the current legal wrangle, FIFA is also seeking to ensure that future deposits into the said account are not at risk of any future garnishee order from the organisation’s numerous creditors, as was done by former TTFA technical director Kendal Walkes on February 11 to recoup some of the over TT$5 million that is owed to him based on a court order in a wrongful dismissal lawsuit.