September 16, could mark a period that will go down in T&T's football history, and one that is likely to surpass any other achievement on the football field.
The country faces a decision by football's world governing body- FIFA, on whether the T&T Football Association (TTFA) will be suspended, as was stated in a letter on August 26 to Robert Hadad, the chairman of the Normalisation Committee, by FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura, if the legal challenge against FIFA in the T&T court was not withdrawn by today.
Angus Eve, the outspoken national Under-17 head coach said, "We must have been banned already.
"Considering the deadline given by the FIFA and how Wallace and the TTFA members have been moving, I don't think we will be spared, as Wallace and company will not be backing down. In fact, they have even won again in the court after Justice Carol Gobin granted an injunction to stop T&T's football membership from holding an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to stop the TTFA from fighting the FIFA in court over the implementation of a Normalisation Committee," Eve said.
However, Eve, using two of the world's popular freedom fighters Martin Luther King and Malcolm X to reference his point, said both men did not sacrifice the masses in their fights but rather themselves, noting that Wallace and his team should do the same and not sacrifice the people of T&T over a point they may want to prove.
According to Eve, the entire country and maybe the world, would agree that the manner in which the TTFA executive was ousted just three months after being fairly elected into office, was not right but then they should not suffer for that fight, saying that the country cannot look forward to FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, CONCACAF Gold Cup, play in the CONCACAF Nations League, referees will lose the opportunity to ply their trade abroad.
The TTFA was removed from office on March 17, after a FIFA/CONCACAF team determined that the TTFA's management flaws had put the sport on the verge of insolvency and illiquidity. But Wallace and company first took their fight to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland in May before moving to the High Court in T&T, later that month citing institutional bias at the CAS after being asked to pay the the 40,000 Swiss francs (TT$276,000) in associated costs.
Since then, Justice Gobin ruled on August 13 that the matter can be heard in the T&T High Court and seven days later FIFA gave notice to appeal. Then on September 11, Wallace and his team filed an injunction asking the T&T court in its application to stop the Normalisation Committee from:
1. Taking any further steps to convene and/or conduct any meeting, on the September 15, 2020 or any other date, which purports to be an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Claimant;
2. Instructing and/or directing any person or persons to seek to withdraw the instant claim and/or in any way, manner of fashion from interfering with or seeking to undermine, the instant proceedings, except by way of lawful representations made by the Defendant’s duly appointed Attorneys-at-Law or other lawful intervention;
3. Making use of and/or publication of the Claimant’s official logo, letterhead, and stamp/seal; and 2. That the Defendant do pay the costs of this application.
The application has listed 20 grounds for the TTFA requests, while Williams has produced an affidavit with 20 documents which comprised among others, the membership signed petition letter dated August 28, the response from Hadad dated September 4, agreeing to convene the EGM on September 15 and the August 26 letter from FIFA general secretary Samoura, addressed to Hadad, warning that TTFA would face sanctions if it did not withdraw the matter out of the T&T High Court by today.
Judge Gobin granted Wallace and his team's request on Monday.
Eve, a former national captain, described the situation as unfortunate, noting that if the TTFA does not want to follow the FIFA rules now, then they never will.
"This could mean the TTFA could be thinking about starting its own footballing body with its own rules and potential members," said Eve.
Meanwhile, FIFA will hold its Congress on Friday and will have on its agenda, suspension and expulsion of Member Association. Eve said he did not want to predict what action, if any action, will be taken against T&T.
FIFA's decision to implement a Normalisation Committee to manage the TTFA after it enforced Article 8.2 of the FIFA Statutes which states: "Executive bodies of member associations may under exceptional circumstances be removed from office by the Council in consultation with the relevant confederation and replaced by a normalisation committee for a specific period."
The TTFA is represented by attorney Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle, Crystal Paul and Jason Jones, while FIFA's legal team is Cherie Gopie and M. Hamel-Smith & Co.