Sat | Nov 28, 2020

TTFA votes to recognise FIFA normalisation committee

Published:Tuesday | October 27, 2020 | 12:11 AM
WALLACE
WALLACE
The FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.
The FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.
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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has voted overwhelmingly to halt all court action against football’s world governing body, FIFA, and immediately recognise the normalisation committee installed last March.

In an extraordinary general meeting on Sunday, the FA voted 33-2 to end the long-running dispute against FIFA, which was triggered by the sudden removal of the William Wallace-led executive after just five months in office.

Significantly, the development comes two days after FIFA won a ruling in the Court of Appeal that the dispute with Wallace could not be heard in the Trinidad courts but by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The TTFA is now expected to swiftly communicate its decision to FIFA in an attempt to have the international suspension of Trinidad and Tobago football rescinded.

In a formal motion tabled at the meeting, the TTFA resolved that “in view of the precarious position that the TTFA now finds itself, that this extraordinary general meeting of the TTFA decides that the way forward for the TTFA is for the TTFA to fully comply with its obligations as a member of FIFA, recognising the legitimacy of the FIFA-appointed normalisation committee and bringing its own statutes in line with the FIFA statutes, and to fully cooperate with the normalisation committee in fulfilling its mandate as stated in FIFA’s letter of March 17, 2020.

THE MOTION

“Be it further resolved that all court matters existing between the TTFA and FIFA shall be immediately brought to a stop.”

Wallace and his administration had challenged FIFA’s decision to remove them from office, first putting the case before the CAS, before resorting to the High Court here after accusing the CAS of “institutional bias”.

And Justice Carol Gobin ruled this month in favour of Wallace, saying that FIFA’s action “was unwarranted and indefensible” and also “made in bad faith and for an improper and illegal motive”.

On Friday, Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Justice of Appeal Nolan Bereaux overturned Gobin’s ruling in favour of FIFA, however, saying that Wallace and his TTFA executive members had violated the local governing body’s constitution by resorting to the local courts.

Wallace had previously said if he lost the case, he would not pursue any further action against FIFA.

While the court action was ongoing, FIFA levied an international ban on Trinidad last month for what it termed a “direct breach of Article 59 of the FIFA Statutes, which expressly prohibits recourse to ordinary courts” in disputes by member associations.

The ban subsequently put the national side’s participation in the Concacaf Gold Cup next summer in danger, with the continental governing body including Trinidad in last month’s qualifying draw, but warning they would be replaced unless the FIFA suspension was lifted by December 18.

FIFA said last March it was installing the normalisation committee because of “extremely low overall financial management methods, combined with a massive debt,” which had left the TTFA “facing a very real risk of insolvency and illiquidity”.