KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The ousted Trinidad and Tobago FA leaders have given up on their proposed appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport against FIFA’s appointment of a normalisation committee.
In March the newly-elected TTFA president, William Wallace and his colleagues protested that their removal by the world football federation was a piece of “mischief” perceived as “politically motivated and a naked attempt to reinstate the former regime” which had been voted out of office only last November.
Trinidad has been a thorn in FIFA flesh ever since the reign of the notorious Jack Warner who was banned from football for life in 2015 after two inglorious, corruption-packed decades at the helm of the central and north American confederation CONCACAF.
Warner, 77, is currently resisting an extradition application from the United States authorities arising out of the FIFAGate corruption investigation.
Meanwhile ongoing TTFA turmoil included last November’s election when David John-Williams was ousted as president by =allace, head of the secondary schools association who headed a reformist group calling itself TTFA United.
The extent of the TTFA’s financial problems were laid bare by Wallace after his first 100 days. He told a media briefing: “Debt is now TT$50 million and counting. We have no money to pay staff. National insurance and income taxes have not been paid since November 2017.
“We have travel agencies owed $850,000. We have a loan from CONCACAF of US$600,000 from 2017 and interest of $2,500 monthly; $600,000 and interest of $63,000 is still outstanding. We have 29 bounced checks totalling TT$345,000.”
However, Wallace’s rescue proposals did not satisfy CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani who took his concern to FIFA supremo Gianni Infantino.
They duly sent in a fact-finding mission which led to the removal of Wallace and imposition of the normalisation committee headed by local businessman Robert Hadad. This infuriated Wallace who thought he had convinced FIFA that he had all these items in hand.
Initially Wallace & Co wanted to appeal to CAS but were intimidated by the likely costs and have now decided to appeal to the local High Court instead.
He said, in a statement: “United TTFA states for the public record that the real reason for FIFA’s unwarranted and illegal interference in TTFA’s internal business is its desire to cover up the financial mismanagement and illegal actions of the last administration.
“The fact is that FIFA —in the person of Veron Mosengo-Omba, chief of member associations—repeatedly ignored efforts by TTFA Board members to bring said financial issues to its attention.
“The fact is that FIFA turned a blind eye and ear to all evidence of mismanagement and wrongdoing and is complicit in the creation of the financial quagmire that today plagues the association.”
Civil legal action is prohibited by FIFA statutes and could see Trinidad suspended from all international football. Wallace and his colleagues believe presumably that, in the present pandemic-frozen state of international football, they have little to lose.