KEITH CLEMENT - Lead Editor, Sports
After suffering a massive blow in the T&T Appeal Court to his presidency of the T&T Football Association (TTFA), William Wallace will be called upon Sunday to survive a ‘Vote of No-confidence’ when the membership meet in a virtual Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) this morning.
However, in the latest twist to this football saga which has been going on since March, the embattled president will not be present. He issued a letter to the sports membership on Saturday advising them that he and his two remaining vice president Clynt Taylor and Joseph Sam Phillip will not be attending the EGM which he trigged on October 15. He said in the latter that: “We shall not stand in your way.”
Kieron Edwards, the president of the Eastern Football Association (EFA) said that the membership had requested answers to 19 questions sent to the president on Thursday so he could prepare the answers for the membership at the meeting.
He said two of the questions that Wallace will need to provide answers for are: How the TTFA debt $70 million, will be cleared, and how he proposes to pay the salaries of coaches, office staff and other contracted officials, such as Peter Miller, the TTFA’s marketing representative?
Guardian Media Sports understands that office staff has not been paid since July, while the coaches have not been paid since their appointments in December 2019 and January this year.
On Friday, the Court of Appeal judges, Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Appellate Judge Nolan Bereaux ruled in FIFA favour and overturned the ruling by High Court Judge Carol Gobin made on October 13, thereby throwing the future of United T&T Football Association (TTFA) president William Wallace and his vice presidents Clynt Taylor and Joseph Sam Phillip into limbo.
The lawsuit, brought by embattled TTFA president William Wallace and his United TTFA executive team, which also included vice president Susan Joseph-Warrick before she resigned the post on September 25, contravened the TTFA’s Constitution, which prescribes that all disputes between the TTFA and FIFA should be dealt with by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the Appellate judges concluded.
The Appeal Court, the highest court in T&T, also ordered the cash-strapped TTFA to pay the legal cost of FIFA.
In fact, in his summary of the decision, Judge Bereaux stated that: “There is no evidence that William Wallace was not authorised by the Board to bring this action. That there cannot, therefore, be established.” which means that the cost is the responsibility of the TTFA.
TTFA board member and the T&T Pro League acting chairman Brent Sancho told Guardian Media Sports that: “Just like the financial burden that is coming out of the unilateral contracts signed by Wallace which is possibly costing the FA close to $14 million and of course the immense fall out the TTFA is experiencing because of him and his egotistical cronies charge towards the high courts of Trinidad and Tobago, all without board approval. This is yet again an example of a man that seems to believe he is a lord onto himself. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the membership will be actively looking at taking a legal course for breach of fiduciary duties. It is a must.”
Another board member Richard Quan Chan of the Southern Football Association said: “The membership need to take legal action against the United TTFA team for the legal cost which the court ordered the TTFA to pay FIFA. The decision to take legal action against FIFA was a United TTFA decision and not a TTFA Board decision. The TTFA should not be saddled with that cost since it was never informed, gave approval or was involved in such a decision.”
On May 18, the United TTFA withdrawing the matter from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the same day the group of Wallace, vice presidents Taylor, Phillip and Joseph-Warrick with supporters Keith Look Loy, the president of the T&T Super League and Anthony Harford, the former president of the Northern Football Association (NFA) filed proceedings in the T&T High Court seeking principally a declaration that the decision of FIFA to appoint a normalisation committee and purporting to remove the TTFA’s duly elected officers was null and void and of no effect.
However, Friday’s ruling has also put in doubt today’s EGM to decide on the future of the sport in T&T since it squashed Judge Gobin’s ruling on October 13, but FIFA’s September 24 suspension to date remains in effect and FIFA has also demanded that the TTFA Statutes comes in line with FIFA’s own before the suspension is lifted.
The membership will first discuss the status and legality of today’s meeting before proceeding with the lone agenda item — 1. Discussions re: the way forward – FIFA suspension.