2492182
Former TTFA president William Wallace

WALTER ALIBEY

Ousted T&T Football Association (TTFA) president, William Wallace and his executives, remained firm in light of Wednesday’s deadline by football’s world governing body – FIFA, to drop their court matter against it, or face sanctions.

Wallace, who instructed their Attorneys Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle, Crystal Paul and Jason Jones last Friday to file an injunction to stop the TTFA’s membership from holding an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on Tuesday to prevent he and his three vice presidents — Clynt Taylor, Joseph Sam Phillips, and Susan Joseph-Warrick, from going ahead with their court case against FIFA and the recognised the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee (NC), told Guardian Media Sports on Wednesday that his group seriously considered holding discussions to decide on how they should move forward in light of calls for them to stop.

“With calls from players and coaches, Minister of Sports Shamfa Cudjoe and many others, we considered holding discussions on whether we should move forward with our court matter, but when we saw the documentary by CNC3’s reporter Mark Bassant on September 10, it confirmed some of what we had already known and informed us of what we didn’t know.

“After that story, we found it hard to back down because we were now sure that the appointment of a Normalisation Committee was a cover-up for the corruption that took place under former president David John-Williams,” Wallace said on Wednesday.

Whether Bassant is a hero or not, the football fraternity is preparing for FIFA to administer sanctions of T&T which qualified for the FIFA World Cup in 2006 and was close to qualification in 1973 when they scored five goals and lost 2-0 to Haiti in Port-au-Prince, and in 1989 when the famous ‘Strike Squad’ was edged 1-0 by the United States at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, Port-of-Spain.

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, in a letter on August 26 to Robert Hadad, the chairman of the NC which also comprise attorney Judy Daniel (deputy chairman) and retired banker Nigel Romano (member), warned if the TTFA didn’t withdraw the matter from T&T’s High court, the country faced being sanctioned.

FIFA also urged Wallace and his team to accept the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland as the jurisdiction for settling all FIFA-related disputes. The TTFA has been challenging a decision by the FIFA to replace them (TTFA) with a Normalisation Committee on March 17.

The TTFA decided to seek justice in the High Court in Port-of-Spain after being asked to pay the 40,000 Swiss francs (TT$276,000) in associated costs. Wallace’s team called CAS bias and withdrew the matter and filed in the T&T High court in May.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Council of the FIFA will today meet ahead of tomorrow’s FIFA Congress in Switzerland, at which it is expected the ban will be handed down to T&T. The Bureau of the Council shall deal with all matters requiring immediate settlement between two meetings of the FIFA Council. The committee shall consist of the FIFA president and one member from each Confederation appointed by the FIFA Council and chosen from among its members, for four years.

Wallace said his group will issue a release soon to explain their position.

A ban on the TTFA will prevent all T&T football teams, from youth to senior levels and all match officials from participating in World Cup Qualifiers, from CONCACAF Gold Cup, from having its clubs pursue titles at the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) or CONCACAF Club Championships, among many other tournaments, while all FIFA-registered officials will be prevented for plying their trade outside of T&T.