FIFA retains Trinidadian law firm for high-court showdown with ousted TTFA executive

By May 26, 2020

FIFA has retained the services of the renowned Law Offices of Dr Claude H. Denbow S.C. in their dispute with the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) that is now before the Trinidad and Tobago High Court of Justice.

The William Wallace executive, guided by Dr Emir Crowne and Matthew Gayle of New City Chambers, is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent FIFA from interfering or seeking to override the “fair and transparent democratic processes of the TTFA and/or preventing them from removing the executive of duly elected officers from office.”

They are also seeking a permanent injunction against FIFA preventing FIFA and/or its agents from interfering with the day-to-day management of the association, including its bank accounts, website and real property.

They are also seeking damages and costs.

FIFA’s attorneys filed their entry of the appearance in the courts on Tuesday stating their intent to defend their decision to dissolve the TTFA board and appoint a normalisation committee to oversee the running of the TTFA, mere months after the board was voted into office in November 2019.

“We will be responding to the claimant’s case in early court and I am not allowed to discuss our client’s business,” said instructing attorney Donna Denbow,

“It is not our practice to discuss our client’s business in public. We will be putting our case on paper before the judge in early court.”

The matter stems from FIFA’s decision to dissolve the William-Wallace-led board four months after the November-24 elections in which the David John-Williams executive was swept from power.

FIFA, in a letter dated March 17, 2020, notified the TTFA that it was appointing a normalization committee citing the association’s extremely low or non-existent financial management and financial governance.

William Wallace said the decision was befuddling since the bulk of the TTFA’s TT$50 million debt was accrued under the previous administration.

Lawyers representing the ousted executive mentioned this concern in a letter to FIFA on March 20.

“The political backdrop of this matter is not lost on those we represent. The ‘existing debt of at least US$5.5m was wholly accumulated under or as a consequence of actions taken during the previous TTFA administration.

“That notwithstanding, FIFA stood idly by and took no punitive steps whatsoever. Now, in the face of a new administration with less than three months substantive tenure, which now threatens to uncover the rank impropriety of the previous administration by installing a regime of financial probity, the FIFA steps in an attempt to prevent this,” the lawyers wrote.

The executive took the matter to the Court for Arbitration for Sport but eventually withdrew over fears over what they described as ‘institutional bias’ in favour of football’s world governing body.

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

Related items

  • TTFA seeks to rescind withdrawal of case against FIFA - vows to take suspension to CAS TTFA seeks to rescind withdrawal of case against FIFA - vows to take suspension to CAS

    The embattled Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) William Wallace-led executive has sought permission to reverse the withdrawal of proceedings, in the case brought against FIFA, currently before the T&T High Court.

    Earlier this week, a TTFA membership meeting that was held saw its membership unofficially vote to cease the TTFA action against FIFA in the court.  Ousted TTFA president Williams Wallace and his executive reluctantly agreed, and action was taken to withdraw the suit before the court on Wednesday.  The body, however, missed the deadline to withdraw the lawsuit by two minutes and were as a result suspended by FIFA.

    Originally, the TFFA had been given until the 16 to withdraw the action, but FIFA had given a further extension until the 23rd

    In explaining its reasons for choosing to suspend the TTFA, FIFA on Thursday said “The suspension was prompted by the former leadership of the TTFA lodging a claim before (the TT High Court) in order to contest the decision of the FIFA Council to appoint a normalisation committee for the TTFA. This course of action was in direct breach of article 59 of the FIFA Statutes, which expressly prohibits recourse to ordinary courts unless specifically provided for in the FIFA regulations.”

    According to Keith Look Loy, a former member of Williams’ TTFA executive, the reason for returning the case to the court is in order to challenge the FIFA suspension at the CAS.

     “We filed an injunction at the CAS against the suspension. But to ensure we had legal standing to do so, we had to have a legal matter before the local courts. Had the case been withdrawn from the court, there would be no legal standing in the local high court,” Look Loy told the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

    “There would be no legal standing because they have no case before the court, which means they have accepted FIFA’s imposition of the normalisation committee. We do not accept this and thus had to withdraw the withdrawal application to file such an injunction against FIFA.”

  • Simeone hopes Suarez improves on Morata as ambitious Atletico seek Falcao-like catalyst Simeone hopes Suarez improves on Morata as ambitious Atletico seek Falcao-like catalyst

    Diego Simeone wants Luis Suarez to improve on the goalscoring output of Alvaro Morata and be the catalyst that makes Atletico Madrid LaLiga title challengers again following his move from Barcelona.

    Suarez completed a €6million switch from Barca on Friday, signing a two-year contract with Atleti following a largely acrimonious Camp Nou departure.

    The Uruguayan striker, 33, reached third in Barca's all-time goalscoring charts in his six years at the club and netted 16 in the league last term, a respectable figure given he made just 22 starts and missed a significant portion of the season through injury.

    Ronald Koeman revealed in his news conference on Saturday that, while he planned to discard Suarez anyway, the decision to move the former Liverpool star on had already been made before the Dutchman arrived.

    But one man's trash is another man's treasure, and Simeone is adamant Suarez's impact at the Wanda Metropolitano could be massive, challenging him to improve on the 12 LaLiga goals scored last season by Morata, who was allowed to leave for Juventus.

    "The arrival of Suarez encourages us to continue growing," Simeone told reporters, having also confirmed the striker is in the squad for Atletico's season opener at home to Granada on Sunday.

    "He will give us internal competition. He is a forward who has impressive offensive power and hopefully he can continue to produce the numbers that he has been doing in the past.

    "These six years [at Barca] have been wonderful [for Suarez]. His colleagues have received him with enthusiasm we hope he adapts as soon as possible.

    "We all know him – he's a great reference for the team. Given the option that Alvaro had of being able to leave, the best way to continue improving was to look for someone who could improve on Alvaro's scoring contribution, and when the option of Suarez appeared, what was I going to say? His numbers speak for themselves.

    "We were lucky that when we had a very good [Radamel] Falcao, a very good [Diego] Costa or a very good [Antoine] Griezmann, we came close to fighting for everything. Let's hope that with Luis Suarez it will be like that and we can overcome what we did last season."

    Atletico finished third in LaLiga last term, 17 points adrift of a Real Madrid side that, while certainly solid, was hardly spectacular as they clinched the title.

    Six teams – including Sunday's visitors Granada – scored more than Atletico in 2019-20, but Simeone feels things will be different with Suarez having a point to prove.

    "I'm going to be sincere with you, he was convinced that this was the place where he could show that he was a top-notch forward," Simeone added. "I found what I was looking for for this club – ambition and a desire to be here.

    "Hopefully he will give us back the options we had when we had the best Falcao, the best Costa or the best Griezmann. That would mean getting closer to the successes that all fans want."

  • Zlatan out as Pioli tells Milan to prove their progress in Crotone test Zlatan out as Pioli tells Milan to prove their progress in Crotone test

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic must miss Milan's trip to Crotone on Sunday but his absence could be a blessing in disguise, according to coach Stefano Pioli.

    Sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19, the Swedish striker whose arrival at the start of the year triggered an upturn in Milan's fortunes must stay away from his Rossoneri team-mates for now.

    Pioli has challenged the rest of his squad to show they can achieve positive results without the 38-year-old talisman.

    And if they succeed, Pioli believes Ibrahimovic's current unavailability may show Milan in a new light, as a group who are not excessively reliant on the former Inter, Juventus and Barcelona frontman.

    "I've spoken to Zlatan. He's fit and firing," Pioli said in a news conference on Saturday.

    "He's training at home. He's very motivated. He's in touch with his team-mates.

    "Clearly his absence will be significant and we will feel it, but we need to make sure this is an opportunity to show our progress.

    "We need to show that we can still get results, so when Zlatan comes back he can rediscover an even stronger side than the one he left behind."

    Crotone, promoted from Serie B, will be Milan's opponents. They are coached by a former Milan player in Giovanni Stroppa.

    The newcomers were thumped 4-1 by Genoa on their return to the top flight last weekend, but will hope to fare better this time out at their Stadio Ezio Scida home.

    Pioli saw his Milan side - without Ibrahimovic - given a stiff test by Bodo/Glimt in Europa League qualifying on Thursday, eventually securing a 3-2 win on the back of Hakan Calhanoglu's double.

    Ante Rebic could take up a central striking role this weekend rather than occupying a station on the left, with Pioli predicting he could do "a good job" in the position usually occupied by Ibrahimovic.

    Now unbeaten in 16 games, talk is turning to whether Milan are possible title contenders, but Pioli is cautious on that front.

    He said: "We need to keep improving, we need to keep progressing, because we've proven we have a lot of quality and ability but we've highlighted some areas where we've made some mistakes.

    "There are still some areas where we are less clear-minded than we need to be when it comes to decision-making.

    "We need to be more compact, more focused and more aggressive, so there are a whole host of different situations we can improve upon.

    "That is part of the developmental process. When you get to the highest level you can always try and do something more, go that extra mile."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.