T&T Football Association continues court action against FIFA

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association President William Wallace.

(CMC) Lawyers representing the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) Friday signalled their intention to continue legal action against the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), less than 24 hours after the Zurich-based organisation suspended the local outfit.

On Thursday, the Bureau of the FIFA Council suspended the TTFA with immediate effect due to what it termed “grave violations” of the FIFA Statutes.

In a statement, the world governing body said the “suspension was prompted by the former leadership of the TTFA lodging a claim before a local court in Trinidad and Tobago in order to contest the decision of the FIFA Council to appoint a normalisation committee for the TTFA”.

“This course of action was in direct breach of article 59 of the FIFA Statutes, which expressly prohibits recourse to ordinary courts unless specifically provided for in the FIFA regulations,” said FIFA.

But on Friday, attorneys Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle, Crystal Paul and Jason Jones filed a notice to withdraw its application for permission to withdraw its claim which is set to be heard before Justice Carol Gobin in October.

“Take notice that the Applicant withdraws and discontinues the notice of application for permission to withdraw the claim, draft order and the affidavit of William Wallace in support of the said application dated and filed 23rd September 2020,” said the application, which was signed by Wallace, the TTFA president.

The TTFA had earlier missed by several minutes the deadline set by FIFA to withdraw the claim which challenges FIFA’s decision to appoint a normalisation committee in March to control the affairs of local football.

Wallace in the first application on Wednesday, said he was hesitant in agreeing to withdraw the legal matter against FIFA because the world football body will continue to have its way with Trinidad and Tobago football.

FIFA had set up a normalisation committee after it was “established that the former leadership of the TTFA had engaged in various acts of serious mismanagement,” the FIFA statement said.

“The decision of the former leadership to go to a local court to contest the appointment of the normalisation committee jeopardizes not only the future of football in Trinidad and Tobago, but also endangers the overall global football governance structure, which relies on the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) as the exclusive forum for resolving disputes of this nature.”

The statement said that “the relevant parties were initially given until September 16 to withdraw the case but failed to do so. This deadline was then extended until 23 September, which was not respected either”.

“In the circumstances, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided to suspend the TTFA,” FIFA said, adding “this suspension will only be lifted when the TTFA fully complies with its obligations as a member of FIFA, including recognising the legitimacy of the appointed normalisation committee and bringing its own statutes into line with the FIFA Statutes”.

“The FIFA appointed Normalisation Committee is the only way forward and is the only recognised body by FIFA and the football family needs to work with us so we can put everything into getting this suspension lifted,” the statement added.