After several months of legal wrangling between the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) and FIFA, the local body has now decided to withdraw its court matter against the world body following an informal virtual meeting on Tuesday night convened by ousted TTFA president William Wallace and his executives.
Sources who were part of the two-hour online Zoom meeting attended by 32 of the 47 TTFA delegates, said a vote on the issue saw 21 delegates voting to drop the case, eight wanted it to continue while three abstained from voting.
This means that Wallace and his team will now withdraw the matter from the High Court
“There was a popular consensus not to go down a particular road. It would have been morally wrong for anyone to ignore that matter,” one source who attended the meeting, which started at 7 pm, told Guardian Media.
Another source said the vote by many delegates was made out of fear of a possible FIFA sanction and hinged on the upcoming of the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup in which T&T was listed as one of the six pre-seeded teams along with Cuba, Haiti, Guatemala, Bermuda and Guadeloupe.
As the vote suggests, not all were happy with the decision.
“We came so far and now this. Why did we fold to FIFA?” said one disappointed delegate who voted to continue the court action.
The meeting reportedly started with some controversy as some delegates claimed they were not invited, believing the United TTFA team had initially invited mostly their supporters.
Brent Sancho, the acting chairman of T&T Pro League, told the meeting the TTFA had reached out to some members who did not have the voting power and named some of them.
Wallace and his vice presidents – Clynt Taylor, Sam Phillip and Susan Joseph-Warrick – had challenged FIFA’s decision to implement a Normalisation Committee to replace their executive just four months after they had been elected into office over then-president David John-Williams’ team.
On September 11, Wallace’s team filed an injunction to block the membership from the Extraordinary General Meeting where the same issue was to be discussed and were successful in getting the injunction.
Guardian Media Sports recently reported that there had been support from more than 51 per cent of the TTFA membership for an EGM to vote for Wallace and his team to drop litigation in local courts against FIFA and move the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which like FIFA is based in Switzerland, and also recognise the Normalisation Committee headed by businessman Robert Hadad.
At the same time, High Court Judge Carol Gobin had also ruled that its case against FIFA could be held in the T&T courts and not at the Court of Arbitration (CAS), as according to FIFA regulations.
The TTFA was initially given an initial deadline of September 16 to withdraw the local court matter by FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura.
Last Friday, however, after the matter of a possible ban on the TTFA was not raised at the FIFA Congress, Samoura issued another warning with a revised September 23 date to drop the court case or the matter would have been sent to the relevant FIFA bodies to decide on suspension of the TTFA.
Afterward, Sancho said he will now wait to see how genuine the United TTFA is about finding a solution to the problems within the organisation. He said at the end of the day, a decision has to be made.