Tue | Aug 4, 2020

Orville Higgins | What’s happening in T&T’s football?

Published:Saturday | March 28, 2020 | 12:00 AM
FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

I am following the events in Trinidad and Tobago’s football closely.

While no sports is currently going on, the looming battle between the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) and the game’s governing body,, FIFA, is heading for a showdown that could be as interesting as any on field battle between two quality teams.

FIFA has sent in what they are calling a normalisation committee, to take over the running of football in the Twin Island Republic. On the face of it, the move looks strange, if not outright shocking.

William Wallace is barely four months in charge of the association, having beaten David John-Williams late last year.

FIFA claims to be concerned about financial instability and the lack of proper governance within the TTFA, and has moved in, with what appears to be indecent haste, to take over the organisation.

As I have been told by people close to the happenings in Trinidad, the previous administration had left the TTFA in significant debt.

The obvious question is, why would FIFA not have taken over when the last administration was in charge?

Surely the present administration should not have been the ones to be embarrassed like this when, clearly, the majority of that debt would not have happened under their watch.

What makes this story even more fascinating is that I have been told by too many Trinidadians to ignore it completely, that the ousted David John-Williams was receiving support from at least one top FIFA official in the lead-up to the election last year.

What should we make of this?

Is mismanagement and poor fiscal habits the real reason why FIFA has taken over, or are they flexing their muscles because they are not happy with who won the elections last November?

FIFA has no issue with the elections itself which they were there to observe. Mr Wallace must, therefore, be seen as legally and duly elected to serve as president.

Turfing him out of office within four months seems to be rather draconian to me.

FIFA had originally asked a man called Tyril Patrick to help steer the normalisation committee. Where the plot thickens is when one realises that Mr Patrick was associated with the administration that lost the election, and would, therefore, be associated with an administration that would have helped to create the massive problems that FIFA is now supposed to be fixing.

The good thing is that Mr Wallace is not taking it sitting down. He is prepared to take the big, bad FIFA all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sports. If the facts are as they are reported to be, then I cannot see how FIFA can get away with this. If the TTFA loses this case, then FIFA is basically given the right, carte blanche, to just take over any association anytime, and put in their own people.

The rest of the national associations around the world are watching this one with keen interest, and, for that matter, so am I.