The controversy and concerns are growing in the local football fraternity as FIFA's deadline of September 16 draws closer, the petitions gain momentum and the October 19 court date also nears, all relating to the United T&T Football Association (TTFA) team legal battle with FIFA, the world's governing body for the sport.
Guardian Media Sports has seen the five-page letter dated August 28 with the two petitions and the signatories, which is addressed to Robert Hadad, the chairman of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee (NC).
In the first instance, the delegates are asking the NC to convene a meeting under Article 29 of the TTFA constitution with two items with several subsections on the agenda.
The delegates want to recognise the NC as the executive body of the TTFA from March 17 and according to FIFA Statutes Article 8 and the second item, is to have the legal challenge against FIFA by the United TTFA team of being withdrawn forthwith. One petition also listed how the TTFA will be at a setback if the legal matter is not withdrawn.
Concerns have been raised in the football fraternity that the signatories on the petitions are not a true reflection of the membership and the delegates and that some clubs were not informed.
Among some of the clubs and delegates that have signed the petitions seen by Guardian Media Sports are - La Horquetta Rangers, Central FC, Police, San Juan Jabloteh, AC Port-of-Spain, W Connection, Morvant Caledonia FC, the Southern, Eastern and Central Football Associations, Eastern Counties Football Union, T&T Women's Football League (WoLF), the Futsal Association of T&T, T&T Beach Soccer Association and the Veterans Football Foundation.
Kieron Edwards, president of Eastern Football Association (EFA), one of the local football bodies that fall under the umbrella of the embattled TTFA, who delivered the petitions, said that there are people out there who are just making mischief because their egos are more important than T&T football and the future of T&T footballers.
He said, "All who are questioning the signatures on the petition should say whose signature they are challenging."
Guardian Media Sports has also seen a letter from Queen's Park Cricket Club (QPCC) which reads in part: "The club is asking the United TTFA to withdraw the action taken against FIFA with immediate effect."
Edwards said, "That the petitions represent the first aspect which is 34 signatures from member clubs, zones and affiliates and the other is for the calling of an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) which requires 51 per cent of the delegates. We have 25 signatures out of a maximum of 47 delegates. And we're still getting signatures.”
The petitions, according to Edwards, the chief campaigner, are to force former president William Wallace and his three vice presidents - Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Joseph Sam Phillip, as well as Keith Look Loy and Anthony Harford to drop their legal battle against FIFA here in T&T and go back to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) which is based in Switzerland according to both FIFA Statutes and the TTFA constitution.
On August 26, general secretary of FIFA Fatma Samoura wrote Hadad, warning that TTFA would face sanctions if it did not withdraw the matter out of the T&T High Court by September 16, which is two days before FIFA holds its Congress.
Edwards said, "Football in T&T will be the big loser if the membership sits on the sidelines and not do anything before the September 16 deadline set by FIFA for the court matter to be withdrawn or faced sanction."
Edwards, speaking as the president of the East Zone and on behalf of other zones that supported the petition, pointed out that there are some clear takeaways that they are seeking to resolve from the meeting:
"1. That Mr William Wallace informs the TTFA membership why they took this route, the pros and cons of this course of action taken; 2. How do they intend to run football in T&T, if we are sanctioned or expelled?; 3. We would like to find out from Wallace and company if they know the step-by-step path to re-enter FIFA if we are sanctioned; 4. Will they accept the pathway to be reinstated into FIFA via normalization or does FIFA now need to make an exception for TTFA to not have to go through the normalisation in order to re-enter FIFA (seeing that they are unwilling to accept normalisation); 5. We would like to know the cost of the legal action being fought on behalf of the TTFA as persons have been mentioning that they are paying this cost out of pocket. Is this cost a loan or a gift to TTFA to fund this action? If it's a loan, what is the interest to be applied to the loan and who are the persons providing this loan and to what exact amount?"
Edwards said, "Most members that I have spoken to today (yesterday) on the matter of the meeting are expressing concern that Mr Look Loy is saying that he as well as other persons affiliated with him will not be attending the EGM. We are hoping that Mr Wallace and his team would attend the meeting and give the members the opportunity to have the much-needed dialogue for the future of T&T football.
"A no show by Mr Wallace and his team will be none other than a slap in the face to TTFA's membership as well as he will be jeopardising the democracy of the institution and constitution that he is claiming to defend and its sovereignty."