FIFA, the world’s governing body for football, has praised last Friday’s Appeal Court decision in which Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Justice Nolan Bereaux ruled in favour of FIFA, giving it the right to install a normalisation committee to run football in Trinidad and Tobago after having replaced the local Association’s executive, led by president William Wallace, last March.
The Appeal Court ruling overturned an earlier High Court judgment which effectively re-instated Wallace as TTFA president. Wallace had challenged his removal in the High Court. On August 12, High Court Justice Carol Gobin had ruled that the T&T High Court had jurisdiction to hear the TTFA/FIFA dispute. After hearing the matter, Justice Gobin further determined on October 13 that FIFA’s replacement of Wallace’s executive with its own normalisation committee, was null and void.
“FIFA welcomes the decision of the Trinidad and Tobago Court of Appeal, which ruled that the former leadership of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) had acted unlawfully by appealing to a local court to contest the appointment of a normalisation committee for the TTFA,” FIFA stated.
“Among other relevant legal considerations, the Court of Appeal stressed that in accordance with the TTFA statutes and the FIFA statutes, the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) is the proper forum to resolve such dispute.”
“The former leadership of TTFA lodged a claim before the local Courts in Trinidad and Tobago in order to contest the decision of the FIFA Council. Friday’s decision of the Court of Appeal overturns the first-instance decision of the local Court and concludes that, should the former leadership of TTFA wish to dispute the appointment of the normalisation committee it should appeal to CAS,” FIFA continued.
“The ruling, which has been served to the parties (Friday) fully recognises the established global football governance structure, which relies on the CAS as the exclusive internationally recognised tribunal for the resolution of sports-related disputes,” FIFA added.
“A normalisation committee was installed in Trinidad and Tobago by a decision of the FIFA Council after it was established that the former leadership of the TTFA had engaged in various acts of serious mismanagement.”