T&T's participation at the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers next year will rest heavily on the shoulders of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) being led by its elected president William Wallace, who FIFA removed from office on March 17.
Following the suspension by FIFA on September 24 for violation of the FIFA Statutes, the TTFA realistically can still enable T&T to participate at the qualifiers which begin in March if the TTFA abide by the conditions of the suspension, which means bringing the TTFA Statutes in line with that of the FIFA and dropping all court-related battles with the FIFA before December 18.
Following the suspension, Wallace responded by instructing his Attorneys to challenge the suspension of the FIFA through the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland and filing an Injunctive Relief at the CAS which would ensure that the country is allowed to participate at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. However, the Concacaf had made a concession for T&T participation in the Gold Cub which took place four days after the ban but with the condition that the country honours FIFA requests by the deadline of December 18.
However, Wallace, who was infuriated by the suspension, also ordered his attorneys to resume the court battle with the FIFA over the legitimacy of the appointment of a normalisation committee to replace them (TTFA) as the managers of football in T&T. His decision was also contrary to the vote taken by the general membership in an unofficial meeting on September 22.
on Tuesday, FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura, in a letter to Normalisation Committee chairman Robert Hadad, reminded him of the suspension and the possibility of missing the CONCACAF Qualifiers if the suspension is not lifted, saying: "By way of this communication, we inform you that FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 World Cup Qualifiers for the Concacaf region (hereinafter: Concacaf World Cup Qualifiers) are scheduled to begin in March 2021. The organisation of such competition entails complex logistical and operational matters intensified by the COVID-19 crisis. In view of this, please note that FIFA has decided that, in order to ensure the proper preparation and planning of the participant teams, if the suspension imposed on the TTFA is not lifted by 18:00 CET (6:00 pm TT TIme) on 18 December 2020, we have no choice but to exclude the TTFA from participating in the Concacaf World Cup Qualifiers."
The deadline is similar to the one given on September 18 in which the TTFA had until 3:00 pm TT Time on September 23 to withdraw its court matter in the T&T High court against FIFA or be suspended.
Guardian Media Sports efforts to contact Wallace yesterday for a response proved futile, but he had made it clear in a release recently that his group will only drop their matter against the FIFA if the local court rules against them on Friday and if the court rules in their favour, his group the United TTFA, will call an Emergency General Meeting among the membership to decide on how they move forward.
Samoura assured also that FIFA will only communicate and recognise the normalisation committee: "As a result of the suspension of the TTFA's membership of FIFA, the Normalisation Committee which was appointed by FIFA has necessarily ceased all operational and management functions over the TTFA. However, we want to highlight that the only legitimate leadership of the TTFA, recognised by FIFA and Concacaf, is the one led by Mr Robert Hadad. Having said this any communication from FIFA with TTFA will continue to be exclusively being with Mr Robert Hadad. We thank you for your attention to the above."