There is now a collective call by representatives of four out of the six regional associations – Southern FA (SFA), Eastern FA (EFA), Central FA (CFA) and the Eastern Counties Football Union – for the ousted T&T Football Association (TTFA) executive to face the penalty for the country if it is to be banned for violation of the FIFA Statutes.
Speaking to Guardian Media Sports on Wednesday, Shymdeo Gosine, president of CFA together with EFA president Kieron Edwards, Terrance Quashie of the Eastern Counties, and Richard Quan Chan, president of the SFA have championed the call for the United TTFA team to be banned and not the TTFA.
However, Harvey Jack, who spoke on behalf of the Tobago Football Association (TFA), despite the fact that the Association don’t have an existing executive, said while he does not support a decision for the country to be banned, he is supporting the principled stand being taken by Wallace and his team.
Fed up that they would not be given a fair trial by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) to fight against, what they consider to be, an unfair decision by football’s supreme body – FIFA – to replace their democratically elected executive with a FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee on March 17, the United TTFA team of former president William Wallace and his vice-presidents Clynt Taylor, Joseph Sam Phillip and Susan Joseph-Warrick, on Monday agreed to take its battle to the High Court in Port-of-Spain, which was a direct violation of the TTFA constitution and FIFA Statutes, which positions T&T to be banned.
However, the members of the respective regional association said the decision by Wallace and company was not a representation of the football fraternity, or either the Board of Directors, who are the decision-making team in local football.
Quan Chan, Quashie, Edwards and Gosine all said their associations were never consulted before the decision was made, and therefore, they do not support it.
Gosine, the CFA boss said the rule states clearly that automatic suspension will be handed down to the Member Association that carries FIFA to the local court.
“Then why do we have people, who claim to care about football, who would make such a decision and get our country banned. Tell me who is advising them, tell me where is the thinking?”
He calls on the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), CONCACAF and whichever other entity that could help them convince FIFA, that if it is considering banning T&T, then it (FIFA) should ban the members individually instead.
“Keep them out of T&T football because they are not thinking about the effect it would have on the country and footballers as a whole. For me, they are all selfish,” Gosine said. “We need to separate these people from football. We have gone past this fight against FIFA for a long time because we know that FIFA can help us, so we must support the Normalisation Committee.”
Edwards, the EFA boss said his association is set to have an emergency meeting to discuss the decision to go to the high court and whether the United TTFA had also violated its own constitution, apart from the FIFA statutes.
Article 67 of the TTFA constitution states: “In accordance with the relevant provisions of the FIFA Statutes, any appeal against a final and binding decision passed by FIFA, CONCACAF or the Leagues, shall be heard by the CAS unless another arbitration tribunal has jurisdiction in accordance with Art. 69. CAS shall not, however, hear appeals on violations of the Laws of the Game and suspensions of up four matches or up to three months (except for doping decisions). 2 TTFA shall ensure its full compliance and that of all those subject to its jurisdiction with any final decision passed by a FIFA body, by a CONCACAF body, by the Arbitration Tribunal recognised by TTFA or the CAS.”
Edwards said all this will be discussed as well as the fact that no communication, advice or consultation was made with his association and they, therefore, view the decision to go to the high court as a reckless one. Like Gosine, he said he supports the call for individual sanctions on the members who decided to go to the high court and not on the country.
Should T&T be banned by FIFA, there will be no future for the young players trying to compete at the CFU, CONCACAF, Women’s tournaments, as well as the CONCACAF Gold Cup, FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and International Club competitions.
Meanwhile, both Quan Chan and Quashie made it clear they will not support any decision that will result in T&T football being suspended. Both said since the decision was made by the few members, then they should face the penalty, as their decision was not made with the involvement of the SFA or Eastern Counties.
Quashie said he believes Wallace was negatively influenced. The country faces a possible ban by FIFA, similar to several other countries that have been suspended by the world governing body including Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria and Cameroon, among others.