Angus Eve speaks to members of the Men's National Under-17 squad which assembled for the first training session for 2020 under his helm at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella. Photo/TTFA Media.

Following what has been described at a “fruitful discussion” between FIFA and the Normalisation Committee representing the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association, FIFA has agreed to lift the TTFA’s international suspension.

A statement by FIFA explained its decision:

“After taking note of the recent decision of the Trinidad and Tobago Court of Appeal and the express wish of the members of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) for all associated legal claims brought by parties purporting to act in the name of the organisation to be terminated, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided to lift the suspension of the TTFA with immediate effect.

This means that all of the TTFA membership rights have been reinstated and TTFA representative and club teams are again entitled to take part in international competitions. The TTFA may also benefit from development programmes, courses and training provided by FIFA and/or Concacaf. Moreover, FIFA member associations may again enter into sporting contact with the TTFA and/or its teams.

The members of the TTFA normalisation committee, which was installed by decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council on 17 March 2020, will proceed with their duties. FIFA regrets the stances and actions taken by the members of the removed Executive Committee, which negatively impacted all aspects of Trinidad and Tobago Football. Such actions greatly misdirected the attention of the normalization committee and hindered its work and execution of its mandate. FIFA is, however, confident that the normalisation committee will now be able to focus on the execution of its assigned tasks.”

Meanwhile, press release put out by the Normalisation Committee this afternoon noted that the TTFA’s “membership rights in FIFA will be reinstated in time for Trinidad and Tobago to compete in the 2021 (CONCACAF) Gold Cup and the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.”

The Bureau of the FIFA Council took the decision to suspend the TTFA on September 24 after the previous administration of the TTFA, led by former president William Wallace persisted with legal action in T&T’s high Court challenging FIFA’s appointment of a normalisation committee in March of this year. Such action was contrary to and a breach of article 59 of the FIFA Statutes.

The TTFA was granted victory in the matter on October 13 by Judge Carol Gobin, who deemed that FIFA’s decision to activate the normalisation was improper and made in bad faith.

However, 11 days later Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Justice Nolan Bereaux overturned Gobin’s ruling when they determined that the lawsuit brought by Wallace and his United TTFA team had contravened the TTFA’s constitution.

Facing a TTFA Extraordinary General Meeting to decide whether the TTFA should recognise FIFA’s normalisation committee, Wallace stepped down as TTFA president, clearing the way for the committee chairman businessman Robert Hadad to initiate discussions with FIFA.

Below is the Normalisation Committee’s statement in full:

The Normalization Committee recently held fruitful discussions with FIFA and we are pleased to deliver the good news that the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s suspension will be lifted and its membership rights in FIFA will be reinstated in time for Trinidad and Tobago to compete in the 2021 Gold Cup and the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. This could not happen without the decisive contributions by numerous T&T stakeholders in signaling their desire for a new chapter for football in our country. However we have a long way to go and there is a lot of work to be done to ensure that this return to competitive action, in all age categories, is sustainable. The Normalization Committee is committed to that undertaking.

The Committee was appointed to:

• run the TTFA’s daily affairs;

• establish a debt repayment plan that is implementable by the TTFA administration;

• review and amend the TTFA Statutes (and other regulations where necessary) and ensure their compliance with the FIFA Statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress; and

• organize and conduct elections of a new TTFA Executive Committee for a four-year mandate.

We have already made some positive headway over the last few months through dialogue with the players and coaches and are committed to strengthening these relationships. This is one of our first priorities. The financial and governance issues of the TTFA are looming large, but we believe that together, we can put Trinidad and Tobago football where it needs to be on and off the field. We look forward to meeting with the various constituencies to work towards a structure that ensures that we begin winning again. It is even more imperative now that we work together. Football is a family, a community. We must heal together. Trinidad and Tobago football needs the help of all of its stakeholders working together shoulder to shoulder – the players, coaches, administrators, corporate supporters and our loyal fans. We look forward to your continuous support in exchange for our commitment to deliver growth and success in Trinbago football.