The ousted T&T Football Association (TTFA) team of William Wallace, Clynt Taylor, Joseph Sam Phillip, Susan Joseph-Warrick, Anthony Harford and Keith Look Loy has taken its fight against the FIFA, football's governing body, to the High Court of T&T.
The group lodged a brief on Monday, citing a combination of factors such as unfairness, a belief that they will not get a fair trial at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland, their will to upkeep the tenets of democracy in T&T, to a belief that the CAS was blatantly disregarding its own Statutes.
The FIFA statutes also spell out clearly that Member Associations cannot take it to its local court and could face a ban if this happens.
Upon the submission of their brief, the team also requested: "A Declaration that the purported decision of the Defendant dated March 17, 2020, purporting to remove the Claimant's duly elected executive is null, void and of no legal and/or binding effect; A permanent injunction preventing the Defendant from interfering in, and/or seeking to override the fair and transparent democratic processes of the Claimant and/or from attempting removing the Claimant's duly elected executive from office; A permanent injunction preventing the Defendant and/or its agents and/or assigns and/or servants from interfering in the day-to-day management of the Claimant, including the Claimant's bank accounts and real property; disobey unjust laws."
The group quoted extensively from the Constitution of T&T, saying: “We recognise that men and institutions remain free only when freedom is founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and the rule of law. TTFA constitution places a duty of care on the elected officials of the association to protect the interests of its members."
The group successfully contested the TTFA elections on November 24, 2019 and was replaced by a FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee after less than four months in office.
However, its attempt at justice through CAS encountered a major hurdle when CAS went against the mandatory process by asking the TTFA to cover the total cost for both parties.
The sport's governing body later refused to pay its part of arbitral proceedings ($20,000 Swiss Francs) when it was ordered by CAS. The group said it was after serious consideration that it decided to use the high court as its means of justice.
The group believes the real reason for FIFA unwarranted and illegal interference in TTFA's internal business is to cover up the financial mismanagement and illegal actions of the last administration, including the failure to provide contracts for the expenditure of TT$16 million on the "Home of Football" in Couva, the issuance of dozens of cheques against TTFA accounts that had insufficient funds (“bounced cheques”), and failure to pay to relevant statutory authorities the sum of TT$4 million deducted from employees' salaries.
“The fact is that FIFA (in the person of Veron Mosengo-Omba, Chief of Member Associations) repeatedly ignored efforts by TTFA Board members to bring said financial issues to its attention," according to the brief.