It's 'Game Over' for the T&T Football Association and the country, said Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the T&T Pro League Brent Sancho, Keiron Edwards, president of the Eastern Football Association of T&T and Mike Awai, Business Development Officer at Pro League campaigners AC Port-of-Spain, following a court order yesterday by justice Carol Gobin, who granted an injunction to stop a planned Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) that was called to stop the membership of the TTFA from stopping a legal battle between the United TTFA and the sport's world governing body - FIFA.
Wallace and his team, via their Attorneys Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle, Crystal Paul and Jason Jones, in an application to the T&T High Court on Friday asked the court that: (1) taking any further steps to convene and/or conduct any meeting, on the 15th September 2020 or any other date, which purports to be an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Claimant;
(2) instructing and/or directing any person or persons to seek to withdraw the instant claim and/or in any way, manner of fashion from interfering with or seeking to undermine, the instant proceedings, except by way of lawful representations made by the Defendant’s duly appointed Attorneys-at-Law or other lawful intervention: and (3) making use of and/or publication of the Claimant’s Official Logo, Letterhead, and Stamp/Seal; and 2. That the Defendant do pay the costs of this Application.
FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura gave the William Wallace-led United TTFA until tomorrow (September 16) to drop the court battle or else face sanctions. She also called on the TTFA to recognise the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland as the jurisdiction to settle all FIFA disputes.
The United TTFA now appears to have won round two of its battle with the FIFA to remove a Normalisation Committee which was put in charge of T&T football in March. To date, Wallace and his vice presidents Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Joseph Sam Phillip, who were removed from office only three months after winning the TTFA elections in November last year, claimed round one after Justice Carol Gobin ruled that the local court can be used as the jurisdiction to settle the dispute between the parties, instead of the CAS, the legitimate jurisdiction according to the FIFA Statutes.
Both Awai and Sancho toldd Guardian Media Sports on Monday that the ruling means the TTFA and the country now face certain sanctions which will prevent the country from any FIFA-sanctioned football event, such as World Cup qualifiers or actual tournaments, CONCACAF Gold Cup, no Caribbean or CONCACAF World Club Championship etc.
"There is absolutely nothing that can be done before the September 16 deadline given by the FIFA now. It's game over for us. The United TTFA has finally succeeded in positioning the country to be banned, how ironic that the very court system that is used for justice, has deprived the country the right to have its teams play in tournaments," Sancho said.
According to the Central FC owner and managing director: "This injunction now makes the normalisation committee powerless, which means there will be no payment of salaries for the staff of the TTFA as well as the national teams' coaches. I wonder if Wallace and the United TTFA will now pay the coaches?."
Sancho believes the United TTFA is bent on ruining football in T&T, saying they have ignored a call by more than 50 per cent of the membership to put the country in a position where it will be banned. He called on Wallace, Keith Look Loy and company to say if they know about the FIFA Statutes before taking the action they have taken.
On Sunday, Clayton Morris, the speaker for the group of national teams' coaches, said he didn't believe any action of the court would have affected his coaches from being paid since a format for payment had already been worked out.
Following a meeting of his group on Saturday night, Morris said a decision was taken to stay the course and remain confident that, not only will they receive their salaries, but will also get new contracts and or new coaching appointments.
Awai said the decision of the court means the writing is on the wall that we will be banned. "If the normalisation committee cannot call a simple meeting then it is powerless."
Keiron Edwards, the EFA boss who initiated a petition to garner the majority support, is warning the public that they can look out for a ban by this week, saying football in this country will cease to take place because there will be no normalisation committee and no one to run football soon, despite the best efforts by the United TTFA to win a court matter against the FIFA.
After FIFA's deadline of September 16, the FIFA Congress will be held on Friday (September 18) and there are speculations that the sanctions on the TTFA can be handed down there.