Instead of shooting for the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the T&T Football Association (TTFA) has opted to pass. The surprise decision comes four days after world football’s governing body, the FIFA failed to meet the TTFA’s 8:00 am deadline of Monday 23, March to respond to concerns about the normalization committee it announced will be is coming to run the day to day affairs of T&T football last Tuesday in place of the TTFA four elected officers which included President William Wallace and the Board of Directors.
The now-disbanded body is awaiting the FIFA’s next move before it acts, however, it does see Tyril Patrick’s rescindment of his role as the appointed supervisor of T&T football following a legal letter to him dated March 20, while the FIFA installs a normalization committee as a small victory.
Matthew G W Gayle, one of the TTFA’s lawyers working on the matter told Guardian Media Sports on Thursday, “In a sense, the letter (From FIFA) dated March 17 has no effect because it purports to appoint someone who has themselves said they are not interested, they’re stepping away and this has nothing to do with me anymore.”
However, while it may appear that the matter has stalled until either party moves the next piece in what is seemingly becoming a complexed game of chess, there is a 21-day timeline before the TTFA loses its right to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.
Gayle is adamant that it remains on the table. He added, “In as much as we have the right and are preserving our right to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport we are of the view that the letter, in and of itself, is redundant because of the correspondence from Mr. Patrick so it’s a situation where FIFA, clearly, there is no effect of their letter.”
With no correspondence from the FIFA since the TTFA sent its last letter dated Friday March 20 from attorney Dr. Emir Crowne to FIFA, the TTFA is hopeful the global body in charge of football will make a U-turn on its initial decision to announce a normalization committee.
Gayle said, “Quite clearly, as a matter of law, the TTFA was created by an act of Trinidad and Tobago parliament. It governs under the constitution which comes out of that act of parliament. No external body which includes FIFA has the right in the operation of the sovereign body that is the TTFA.”
Guardian Media Sports obtained a copy of the e-mail sent last Friday which said the TTFA’s lawyers were defending the interests of T&T football “against such rank corrupt, unjust, bullyboy tactics.”
It went further to demand that FIFA’s letter three days before being withdrawn.
<FIFA letter to the TTFA>
The March 17, letter from FIFA's secretary general Fatma Samoura to Ramesha Ramdhan, the general secretary of the TTFA in part reads:" Under these serious circumstances, and in accordance with article 8 paragraph 2 of the Fifa statutes (which foresees that executive bodies of member associations may, under exceptional circumstances, be removed from office by the Fifa Council in consultation with the relevant confederation and replaced by a normalisation committee for a specific period of time), the Bureau of the Council decided, on 17 March 2020, to appoint a normalisation committee for the TTFA.
Its mandate includes the following tasks:
to run the TTFA’s daily affairs;
to establish a debt repayment plan that is implementable by the TTFA;
to review and amend the TTFA Statutes (and other regulations where necessary) and to ensure their compliance with the FIFA Statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress;
to organise and to conduct elections of a new TTFA Executive Committee for a four-year mandate.
The normalisation committee will be composed of an adequate number of members to be appointed by the Fifa administration, in consultation with Concacaf. Although those eventually appointed for the normalisation committee will assume their duties with immediate effect, all members of the normalisation committee will have to pass an eligibility check to be carried out by the Fifa Review Committee in accordance with the Fifa Governance Regulations.
The confirmation of the appointment will be contingent upon the outcome of the eligibility check.
Furthermore, the Fifa administration, in consultation with Concacaf, reserves the right to revoke the mandate of any of the members of the normalisation committee and/or to appoint further members at any time.
The normalisation committee will act as an electoral committee whose decisions are final and binding, and none of its members will be eligible for any of the open positions in the TTFA elections under any circumstances, including in the event that their mandate as a member of the normalisation committee has been revoked or that they resign from their position.
The specified period of time during which the normalisation committee will perform its functions will expire as soon as it has fulfilled all of its assigned tasks, but no later than 24 months after its members have been officially appointed by the FIFA administration. The exact date for the normalisation committee to complete its mandate will be communicated by the Fifa administration once its members have been appointed.
In the interim and before the normalisation committee is fully operational, the TTFA administration’s management will be supervised by Mr Tyril Patrick, who will directly report to Fifa. The TTFA administration—in its entirety—will therefore report to Mr Patrick until the normalisation committee has been put in place.
Finally, a forensic audit of the TTFA accounts could be commissioned if deemed necessary by the relevant parties. We thank you for taking note of the above and trust in your full cooperation in this matter."