Brent Sancho

EXPRESSED DISAPPOINTMENT: Brent Sancho, interim Pro League chairman

While besieged former Trinidad and Tobago Football Association president William Wallace deferred to his lawyers to comment on Justice Carol Gobin’s decision to prohibit the hosting of an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) today, one of the TTFA members Brent Sanchoo described it as a “dark day for democracy in local football.”

In a virtual High Court hearing yesterday, Justice Gobin upheld the injunction filed by members of the United TTFA -- including Wallace, Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick, Joseph Sam Phillip, Anthony Harford (Northern FA president) and Keith Look Loy (TT Super League president) -- to prevent the Normalisation Committee (NC) , headed by Robert Hadad, from hosting an Emergency General Meeting that was scheduled today.

“I can say that: It is now clear that the Honourable Madame Justice Gobin, having taken cognisance of all the circumstances and evidence before the Court, has made an order to, among other things, prohibit the purported normalisation committee from convening any meeting in the name of the TTFA. This means that the meeting which was initially carded for tomorrow, 15th September 2020 (today), purportedly in the name of the TTFA cannot lawfully go on,” said Jason Jones, one of the instructing attorneys for the United TTFA.

He added that Gobin had also prohibited the FIFA-instituted Normalisation Committee from using the official logo, letterhead and stamp of the TTFA and that Gobin had also amended the terms of the injunction to prohibit the defendant FIFA and its agents/servants from convening any meeting in the name of the TTFA, in specifying the names of NC chairman Robert Hadad and his two other directors, Nigel Romano and Judy Daniel.

Gobin also refused FIFA’s request for a stay while FIFA -- through their local counsel, SC Christopher Hamel-Smith -- appeal Gobin’s original ruling to proceed, the Justice giving FIFA until Friday to file a defence on the original United TTFA matter to contest the legitimacy of the Normalisation Committee. If FIFA fails to submit a defence by that deadline, the matter will proceed to trial on October 9.

In reaction to the ruling, Interim Pro League chairman Brent Sancho, said: “Well it’s the darkest day in our footballing history. We talk about democracy and the mere fact that it is the membership who called the meeting; a vast majority of the membership at that, called the meeting, yet this group of selfish men and women see it fit to block and not want to hear the membership.”

The timing of Justice Gobin’s decision essentially nullified the FIFA mandate for Hadad to compel or coerce Wallace and company to drop their High Court case.

Sancho, a former Minister of Sport, said United TTFA’s behaviour not to face and consult the membership and act dictatorially, while not surprising, was extremely ironic. “They have shown it from the very start that this has only been about them. They have shown that type of behaviour,” said Sancho, adding, “They have refused to meet with the membership and listen to the plight of not only the membership but the plight of players, administrators, the coaches who now will not be paid because of obvious reasons. Lord alone knows what they are trying to do and prove.”

Sancho opined he foresees sanctions in T&T’s football future as the FIFA deadline for the withdrawal of the case now seems set to expire tomorrow. He added that FIFA also doesn’t need to take the sanctions at the level of their Congress, but may also have the opportunity to impose sanctions at the FIFA Council level.

He said the TTFA membership petition which he claimed had been signed onto by 33 members as of the latest count, was articulated clearly that the majority of the membership wanted Wallace to cease the court action. “They have now left football which is not anybody’s own but the citizens of T&T and made a decision for 1.5 million people without consultation,” lamented Sancho.

“The overarching theme is that as much as whatever has been revealed as it relates to the former president (David John-Williams), we could point similar types of fingers to the regime that was replaced, namely Wallace and company, in terms of costing the TTFA some $14 million in unapproved contracts and decisions,” Sancho contended.

“They have made those poor decisions without authorisation. I am not surprised they have shown complete disregard to the Board, to the memberships, to people and to the players of T&T whose international careers will be ended abruptly,” he concluded.

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