FIFA has rescinded legal proceedings in the local High Court — regarding the matter involving ousted TTFA executives William Wallace and his three vice-presidents — but still stands firmly behind its September 23 (tomorrow) deadline given for the United TTFA to withdraw any legal action before the local courts.
“Please be informed that FIFA did not file a defence in the case against the TTFA in the Trinidad High Court,” a spokesman from the Communications Division of the FIFA Media Department articulated in response to enquiries by the Express.
World football’s governing body also asserted that in line with its policies, it has chosen not to comply with Friday’s 4 p.m. deadline rendered by Madame Justice Carol Gobin to file a defence.
Further, FIFA related that it is sticking to the position that Wallace and the United TTFA faction has only a couple days to withdraw its action in the High Court, or the TTFA faces an international suspension from football.
“This follows the fact that FIFA has communicated a revised and final deadline to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association for the relevant parties to withdraw their claim by 23 September 2020,” FIFA replied to our correspondence.
“FIFA’s position remains that we do not recognise the claim at the Trinidad court, and that the CAS is the only correct tribunal to consider this dispute,” the FIFA spokesperson added. The Express was informed that further comments would not be engaged at this stage.
Earlier attempts to get clarity on the matter saw FIFA local representative, attorney Jonathan Walker, indicate only “that enquiries should be directed to FIFA”. Meanwhile, TTFA attorney Matthew Gayle could not confirm whether FIFA would be in court on October 9, as directed by Justice Gobin, as start date for the case. “We have not been served. That I can tell you confidently,” stated Gayle.
In a landmark decision, Gobin gave Wallace and vice-presidents Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Sam Phillip, leave to challenge their March 2020 dismissal by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which came about when FIFA instituted its own Normalisation Committee to run the TTFA, which is said to be debt-burdened to the tune of about $100 million.
FIFA’s move toward suspension would be no surprise to United TTFA. Last Friday, FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura sent a letter giving Wallace and his three vice-presidents a week extension to her original September 16 deadline, for them to cease court action against FIFA.
“The FIFA Council has decided to give a final deadline to the relevant parties to withdraw all types of claim against FIFA before the Trinidad and Tobago courts and comply with all their obligations under the FIFA Statutes, in particular arts 57 et seqq of the FIFA Statutes, by 23 September,” Samoura wrote.
“Failure to comply with this directive within this revised deadline will result in the matter being brought to the attention of the relevant FIFA bodies to decide on the suspension of the TTFA.”
Wallace initially argued that there was no risk of the TTFA getting banned and that the risk of United TTFA’s action was only to himself and his executive. However, following Samoura’s release, United TTFA appears to have accepted the inevitable — that of a T&T ban, though still determined in their pursuit of court action.