NORMALISATION COMMITTEE chairman Robert Hadad has strongly hinted that Trinidad and Tobago will be banned from international football and FIFA funding withdrawn, should United TTFA not comply with today’s deadline to cease High Court action against the Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
“We would continue speaking to FIFA when we get our chance and we will try our best to alleviate our suspension issue, but they (FIFA) did speak to a suspension...if the matter is not withdrawn by the 16th,” stated businessman Robert Hadad when he and banker Nigel Romano were guests on Monday’s version of 195FM’s ISports programme, hosted by Andre Baptiste.
With a ban, the TTFA will be left saddled with a $100 million debt. Hadad also surmised that with an international ban, the only way back into FIFA’s fold for T&T football would be through the Normalisation Committee.
“We remain here, in case TTFA will like FIFA to reinstate the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association as a member associate and should they want that we are the ones that will report back to FIFA that we could perform our duties free of interference,” Hadad stated.
On August 28, FIFA general secretary Senegalese Fatma Samoura gave an ultimatum that TTFA president William Wallace and his United TTFA faction withdraw High Court action against world football’s governing body or face sanctions. Wallace is challenging FIFA’s decision to replace his fourth-month old executive with its own Normalisation Committee. FIFA statutes forbid member associations resolving disputes in local courts. FIFA insists that the matter be settled by the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“We firmly request the TTFA to ask to the TTFA former leadership for an immediate withdrawal of the claim at the Trinidad and Tobago High Court by 16 September 2020, at the latest. We deem that a failure to comply with this directive would result in the commencement of suspension proceedings via the relevant FIFA bodies,” Samoura stated via email.
Monday’s injunction issued by Justice Carol Gobin allowed United TTFA to proceed with its High Court court action unhindered by an attempt from TTFA delegates to halt the court proceedings via an Extraordinary General Meeting. “No meeting about the TTFA can be held by the Normalisation Committee or any other person acting on behalf of the TTFA,” TTFA attorney Matthew Gayle stated following Monday’s legal proceedings. Gayle also indicated that United TTFA plans to press on with the case.
And given United TTFA’s position and the injunction preventing TTFA members from stopping its court action, Hadad felt a ban was coming --possibly as soon as Friday when FIFA holds it 70th Congress.
With a FIFA ban, Hadad stated power will revert to United TTFA and that no funding will be provided to the TTFA.
Career banker and National Four Mills chairman Romano estimated the TTFA’s debt was made worse in the four months United TTFA were in charge and now estimated it at $100 million, inclusive of $37 million to hotels, travel agencies; $18 million to coaches; $12 million in court orders; $2million to staff; $5m to Government for NIS and so on.
The debt was increased by unfavourable but legally-binding contracts to Peter Miller, Terry Fenwick and AVEC Sport. When United TTFA hurriedly fired Dennis Lawrence in January, it also left the Association having to pay both him and his English replacement Fenwick; as well as similarly fired coaches Stephan De Four and Stuart Charles Fevrier.
Without FIFA funding Hadad thinks that United TTFA cannot run football.
“We have been constantly trying to get away from these sanctions. As a Trinidadian that is not something I want to see,“ Hadad said. “Where are we going to get financing. Where are we going to get support. Who are we going to play against?”
He continued: “They will be faced with a lot of judgment. The debt, the way we see it, is upwards of $100 million.”