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T&T Football Kicking Again…

FIFA Lifts Ban
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By Sue-Ann Wayow

TRINIDAD and Tobago could once again participate in international football tournaments.

This after the world’s governing football body Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)  lifted its suspension on the local team following the closure of all pending local court matters.

Additionally, all of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) rights have been reinstated.

In a letter dated November 19 from FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura to head of the Trinidad and Tobago Normalisation Committee Robert Hadad, Samoura stated that the condition to allow the local team to participate in major competitions including the World Cup was met and therefore the decision was made on the same date to have the  suspension lifted.

She also stated that it was regretful that the fate of football in Trinidad and Tobago was in jeopardy because of the actions of the previous TTFA committee.

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The letter that outlined a history of the issues surrounding FIFA and Trinidad and Tobago stated, “The Bureau was informed that on 23 October 2020, FIFA acknowledged receipt of the decision of the Trinidad and Tobago Court of Appeal in the case to which FIFA was a respondent party.

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“In this context, the Court of Appeal ruled that the former leadership of the TTFA had acted unlawfully by appealing to a local court to contest the appointment by FIFA of the normalisation committee for the TTFA. In addition, the Court of Appeal stressed that in accordance with art. 57 par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes and art. 67 of the TTFA Statutes, CAS was the only recognised path to resolve such dispute.

“Additionally, the Bureau was informed that on 26 October 2020, the FIFA administration received the minutes of the TTFA members’ meeting. The members of the TTFA expressed themselves and decided that the way forward for the TTFA is: for the TTFA to fully comply with its obligations as a member of FIFA, recognising the legitimacy of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee, and; bringing its own statutes in line with the FIFA statutes, and; to fully cooperate with the Normalisation Committee in the fulfilment of its mandate as stated in FIFA’s letter of March 17 , 2020; be it further resolved that all court matters existing between the TTFA and FIFA shall be immediately brought to a stop.”

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Samoura wrote, “Subsequently, the Bureau took note that on 16 November, 2020, FIFA was informed that no submission had been made to the Trinidad and Tobago ordinary courts within the relevant deadline for leave to appeal the decision of 23 October 2020 to the Privy Council. Consequently, all types of claims against FIFA before the ordinary courts of Trinidad and Tobago can be considered closed.”

“Under these circumstances, the Bureau decided on 19 November, 2020 to lift the suspension of the TTFA with immediate effect. This means that all of the TTFA’s membership rights have been reinstated, as defined in art. 13 of the FIFA Statutes, with immediate effect.

“Consequently, TTFA’s representative and club teams are again entitled to take part in international competitions. This also means that the TTFA may benefit from development programmes, courses and training provided by FIFA and/or the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football 2 (Concacaf).

“Moreover, FIFA member associations may again enter into sporting contact with the TTFA and/or its teams.”

Samoura stated that the Normalisation Committee will proceed with their duties and two additional members were to be added to the team and will be required to undergo an eligibility check carried out by the FIFA Review Committee in accordance with the FIFA Governance Regulations.

She also gave the reminder that the FIFA administration, in consultation with Concacaf, reserved the right to revoke the mandate of any of the members of the TTFA normalisation committee and or to appoint further members at any time.

She concluded, “It is worth mentioning that FIFA never recognised the pretentions of the former executive body of the TTFA which was properly and permanently removed by FIFA on 17 March, 2020 and regrets the stances and actions taken by such individuals and which significantly and negatively impacted all aspects of Trinidad and Tobago Football. Such actions, taken by the removed TTFA executive committee, greatly misdirected the attention of the normalisation committee and hindered its work and execution of its mandate, as the efforts of the normalisation committee in the past months had to focus on countering such actions. FIFA is, however, confident that the normalisation committee will now be able to focus on the execution of its assigned tasks.”

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In a statement, the Normalisation Committe  stated, “The Normalisation Committee recently held fruitful discussions with FIFA and we are pleased to deliver the good news that the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s suspension will be lifted and its membership rights in FIFA will be reinstated in time for Trinidad and Tobago to compete in the 2021 Gold Cup and the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

“This could not happen without the decisive contributions by numerous T&T stakeholders in signaling their desire for a new chapter for football in our country.”

However, there was much progress to be made.

The committee stated, “We have already made some positive headway over the last few months through dialogue with the players and coaches and are committed to strengthening these relationships.

“This is one of our first priorities. The financial and governance issues of the TTFA are looming large, but we believe that together, we can put Trinidad and Tobago football where it needs to be on and off the field. We look forward to meeting with the various constituencies to work towards a structure that ensures that we begin winning again. It is even more imperative now that we work together.”

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The committee was appointed by FIFA following the dismantling of the previous administration earlier  this year.

It was established to effectively run the TTFA’s daily affairs; establish a debt repayment plan that is implementable by the TTFA administration; review and amend the TTFA Statutes (and other regulations where necessary) and ensure their compliance with the FIFA Statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress; and  organise and conduct elections of a new TTFA Executive Committee for a four year mandate.

“Football is a family, a community. We must heal together. Trinidad and Tobago football needs the help of all of its stakeholders working together shoulder to shoulder – the players, coaches, administrators, corporate supporters and our loyal fans. We look forward to your continuous support in exchange for our commitment to deliver growth and success in Trinbago football,” the committee stated.

 

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