T&T's football could be spared being banned by the sport's world governing body - FIFA.
William Wallace, president of the T&T Football Association, which has found itself in a heated court battle with the FIFA over the appointment of a Normalisation Committee that has replaced he and his executive on March 27, as the administrators of football in T&T, for the first time, hinted at possibly dropping the court matter, as was requested by the FIFA on August 26.
His comment comes on the heels of a revised deadline of September 23 given by FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura in a letter to the chairman of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee (NC) Robert Hadad on Friday, moments after word started spreading that there was no expulsion or suspension on the agenda for the FIFA Congress in Switzerland, thereby ruling out the possibility of T&T getting banned for violation of the FIFA Statutes.
Samoura in her letter said: "Given the seriousness of the matter addressed therein, the FIFA Council has decided to give a final deadline to the relevant parties to withdraw all types of claims against FIFA before the T&T courts and comply with all their obligations under the FIFA Statutes, in particular art 57 et seqq of the FIFA Statutes, by September 23 at 15:00 AST (21:00 CET). Failure to comply with this directive within this revised deadline will result in the matter being brought to the attention of the relevant FIFA bodies to decide on the suspension of the TTFA."
However, Wallace does not rule out a decision by the FIFA Bureau to sanction T&T at any time.
The bureau comprises seven members, being led by chairman Gianni Infantino of Switzerland, and includes Ahmad Ahmad (Madagascar), Salman Bin Ebrahim Shaikh Al Khalifa (Bahrain), Aleksander Ceferin (Slovenia), Alejandro Dominguez (Paraguay), Lambert Maltock (Vanuatu) and Vittorio Montagliani of Canada. This committee can meet at any time, once the occasion requires.
Wallace in an immediate response to the decision of the FIFA to not have expulsion and suspension at the Congress said he believes it was a strategic move.
"The intention was to allow the Bureau to make that decision and not bring it before the Congress, as members would have been apprised of all that was happening, which in turn, would have raised many questions. We have been keeping them apprised, and then there was the Mark Bassant investigative story which would have strengthened our case," Wallace explained to Guardian Media Sports on Friday.
Wallace said that his group which comprised vice presidents Clynt Taylor, Joseph Sam Phillip and Susan Joseph-Warrick and associates Keith Look Loy, the president of the T&T Super League (TTSL) and Anthony Harford, the president of the Northern Football Association (NFA), will consider the new deadline given and will keep an open door for mediation talks with FIFA at any time.
Quizzed on whether he was considering dropping the case, Wallace said: "Between now and the deadline date, all options will be considered."
To suspend a member, a 75 per cent majority would have been needed, an amount that Wallace and his team believe would have been difficult to achieve, believing they would have secured the support from CONMEBOL, Africa, Asia and Europe.
Wallace reiterated his belief that the decision to install a normalisation committee in T&T on March 17, was nothing but a cover-up, and not for the reasons given initially, which was due to extremely low overall financial management methods, combined with a massive debt, which have resulted in the TTFA facing a very real risk of insolvency and illiquidity.
The NC is Hadad as chairman, attorney Judy Daniel (deputy chairman), and retired banker Nigel Romano, the administrators of T&T football appointed by FIFA.