WILLIAM WALLACE is restored as Trinidad and Tobago Football Association president following Justice Carol Gobin’s landmark verdict in the Trinidad and Tobago High Court which, late Tuesday, rendered FIFA’S March 17 decision to dismiss the Wallace-led executive and impose a normalisation committee to run local football null and void.
But can Wallace now run a broke TTFA without FIFA and Government funding, following T&T’s suspension from international football as a consequence of the legal action? TTFA board member Brent Sancho believes Wallace has many questions to answer from the wider TTFA membership.
Following Justice Gobin’s favourable ruling, Wallace has stated he is prepared to walk away with his head held high—even if his High Court challenge ends with TTFA members removing him from office.
“If this is all that we would have achieved, I would be happy,” stated Wallace yesterday on TV6’s Morning Edition hosted by Fazeer Mohammed.
Wallace used an excerpt of Gobin’s 23-page judgment to illustrate his point. “In the circumstances, the TTFA’s actions of seeking redress before the Court was perhaps the only appropriate response which avoided capitulating to the demands of FIFA and thereby elevating the status of FIFA statutes above the laws passed by our Parliament,” Gobin noted in point 56 of her judgment.
“If it is only that we have done, defended the laws of Parliament, then I walk away with my head held high,” added Wallace.
Sancho also felt Tuesday’s verdict was predictable, given the judge’s earlier utterings and also given that FIFA did not contest the proceedings. He also felt the repercussions may be far reaching. Sancho warned that if taken lightly, the situation can become worse if a FIFA suspension turns into expulsion.
‘I’m not surprised in any way at what has transpired,” said Sancho. “In terms of the judgment, it was always heading that way.” Sancho, though, believes Wallace would have difficulty convincing the majority of TTFA delegates that his action was justified. and said Wallace now needs to indicate how he intends to run football, given the dire state of the TTFA’s finances, more so having been cut off from FIFA funding, arising from its suspension from international football
“They are back in charge. They fought for it, albeit it is a hollow victory,” Sancho declared. “Now, I want to know how they going to run football.
“What are their plans? How are they going to manage their $70-plus million debt and the contracts that they signed? How are they going to pay the TTFA staff and the coaches they owe?” questioned Sancho, who believes United TTFA’s time in charge of the Association had been as disastrous as past administrations.
“They were never fit for office,” Sancho declared, referring to questionable contracts and Wallace’s action during four months in charge.
“They are the ones who on their own decided to go to court, knowing what the ramifications would be. These men have gone about things in a selfish, power-grabbing manner. And now they want to meet with the membership! Why they didn’t meet with the membership three months ago?”
In making her judgment, Justice Gobin noted her deliberations were made strictly within the laws of Trinidad and Tobago although referring to the implication of the judgment to involved parties.
“The wisdom of the challenge by the Claimants of the actions of FIFA is not for the Court. But it has to be said that the law expects the TTFA to do what its statutory duty requires even in the face of unlawful pressure,” Gobin noted, adding, “The repercussions are worrying. One can therefore sympathise with the views of the many persons who believe that such far reaching consequences should be avoided, perhaps at all costs.”