It will be a day of reckoning for T&T when it comes to football.
Justice Carol Gobin will, on Tuesday, deliver a ruling on whether the T&T Football Association (TTFA), which is being led by president William Wallace and his group of vice presidents Joseph Sam Phillip and Clynt Taylor, will be the legitimate managers of football in T&T. However, it is unlikely to ease the pain of a FIFA suspension as well as a return to the fold of the FIFA membership for the TTFA.
With FIFA pulling out of the court battle, speculations are ripe for Gobin to rule in favour of the TTFA. If this happens, Wallace said he will put into the hands of the general football membership, the future of the sport via an Emergency General Meeting (EGM).
The membership has twice before made it clear they desire to drop the court battles and avoid a suspension, which is now unachievable.
FIFA handed the TTFA a suspension on Republic Day (September 24) for violation of the FIFA Statutes, with a condition that the bring its Statutes in line with theirs (FIFA) to rejoin the FIFA membership. This request though has been easier said than done, as lawyers, football experts and the football fraternity confused with the request.
TTFA Attorney Matthew Gayle said he is unsure of what the FIFA is asking for since the TTFA constitution and statutes were approved by the FIFA back in 2015. Osmond Downer, renown TTFA constitutional expert said, not only doesn’t he know what the FIFA is asking for, but described the TTFA constitution as the best in the Caribbean.
Like Gayle, he said the TTFA statutes were approved in 2014 and it is very similar to that of the United States and Australia. Downer, a former FIFA referee made it clear that no member association can bring their statutes in line with the FIFA’s own fully, but rather the FIFA Standard Statutes, which form the backbone of an Association, regulating its activities and how it is organised.
Associations were asked to ensure its statutes fully comply with the provisions of the FIFA Statutes, and for this reason, the FIFA compiled the standard statutes in 2001 and launched a wide-ranging policy of modernisation of the statutes of its members to improve the governance of football in each country, as well as to strengthen the principles contained in the FIFA Statutes.
Following the suspension, Wallace and his team ordered their attorney to resume the court battle it had with the FIFA, and also sought to file a challenge against the suspension in the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Under the orders of Wallace, the TTFA attorneys also filed an Injunctive Relief in the CAS, which would allow the country to participate at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. But even if these matters are dropped it is uncertain if TT will be a member of the FIFA again with the request for its statutes to mirror that of the sport’s world governing body.