Former president of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) William Wallace will have to find an estimated TT$300,000 to $500,000 for legal costs if he and his three vice presidents are to challenge the world governing body for football (FIFA) in their efforts of overturning FIFA's decision to removed them from office and implement a Normalisation Committee to manage the affairs of T&T football.
This is just one of the many factors being considered by Wallace and former vice presidents Clynt Taylor, Joseph Sam Phillip and Susan Joseph-Warrick, as they struggle to decide before they instruct their Attorneys Dr Emir Crowne and Matthew GW Gayle.
Wallace, who was elected president on November 24, 2019, of the TTFA, is considering mounting a challenge against FIFA through the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland.
On Saturday Wallace, the former president of the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) said a determination on what action to take was going to be made on Sunday, but when Guardian Media Sports contacted him he said they were still at the same position as the day before.
The embattled T&TFA elected officers have been trying to cope with a decision made by FIFA on March 17 to enforce articles 8.2 of its Statutes and appoint a normalization committee to govern T&T football, which officially removed them all executive positions.
Wallace said on Saturday that their decision would depend on whether the country's football would be impacted. But while he remained mum on their next move yesterday, T&TFA general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan said the football association, though in a cash-strapped position, would have to spend up to approximately half a million dollars to fight their case.
Ramdhan, a contracted employee, believes the statutes of the FIFA is another key factor preventing the T&TFA from mounting a legal challenge, saying: “When we challenge FIFA and win, then what. What about the repercussions. Where would it leave us and our football? Whatever is done then the broader interest of football, must be put first.”
He told Guardian Media Sports on Sunday that the FIFA statutes are heavily weighted against litigation and because of this, the country could face additional costs if it wins, as well as being suspended, as many clauses allow the FIFA to take action against Member Nations that take it to court. Ramdhan, a former FIFA World Cup referee, who publicly admitted that he has had to borrow money to pay the TTFA's staff in February, explained that the association could also face the possibility of paying huge sums to the FIFA should the challengers lose through CAS.
On Wednesday, FIFA named businessman Robert Hadad, one of three directors of the HADCO Group of Companies as chairman of the Normalization committee with attorney Judy Daniel, a specialist in Environmental Law as deputy chairman and Nigel Romano, a former president of the JMMB Bank who is now a Director and partner at Moore T&T as a member.
FIFA said the other two members will be named in the coming days.
The normalization committee has been given a mandate by FIFA: 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): To ensure their compliance with FIFA Statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress; and To organise and to conduct elections of a new TTFA executive committee for a four-year mandate.
Ramdhan said the TTFA was attempting to do the same thing but was stopped prematurely and unfairly.
Meanwhile, with also a week gone since the naming of the committee, Wallace said his team will make its decision soon as it still has a lot of time to do so.