Lawyers representing the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) have written to FIFA, football’s world governing body questioning the timing of the appointment of the Normalisation Committee that has taken over the running of the association.

The FIFA Normalisation Committee set to take over the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association will find themselves without a dollar to do so after a court order gave former accountant, Kendall Walkes, the power to empty the organisation’s accounts in lieu of moneys owed.

According to reports, the TTFA accounts stand at TT$300,000 while Walkes is owed a little more than TT$5 million.

Walkes attorney, Melissa Roberts-John, had said on Tuesday that the movement of the funds was awaiting the court’s registrar’s signature but that that had been delayed because of the smaller staff at work due to attempts to stave off the spread of COVID-19.

While the amount is but a fraction of what is owed, Walkes’ attorney believes a message has been sent.

“It is nothing much, but every drop fills the bucket,” Roberts-John told T&T website Wired868.

“It sends a message to the TTFA because I don’t think they want all their line of creditors to do what we did.”

While the TTFA will regain power over its accounts once Walkes has emptied it, his attorney indicated that there could be more garnishings if the organisation does not negotiate repayment of the balance of the debt.

“Now, we will write the TTFA requiring payment for the outstanding balance. If nothing comes of that, we can seek a further order,” said Roberts-John.

There has been no response from the TTFA on the issue after FIFA ordered the organisation’s board to vacate offices and appointed a Normalisation Committee to sort out its financial affairs.

Even without the FIFA takeover, the TTFA’s offices were closed as part of social distancing methods to fight the spread of COVID-19 and paused the training sessions of all national teams.

Still, Roberts-John feels the TTFA’s response has been too slow.

“We wrote them on 21 February 2020 with our proposal and they acknowledged receipt on 27 February and said they will revert to me once they have a figure in mind. And that was their last response,” said Roberts-John.

“[…] We have heard nothing about our proposal since, which doesn’t surprise me anymore. But we are still willing to negotiate—that has not been taken off the table.”

Retired Trinidad and Tobago international and sports pundit Shaka Hislop has lashed out at the recent FIFA takeover of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), insisting the move is tantamount to betrayal by world football’s governing body.

Last week, FIFA announced the decision to appoint a normalization committee to handle the affairs of the country’s football after a recent ‘fact-finding’ mission that it claims turned up instances of “low financial management methods” and “massive debt.”

With the TTFA changing leadership just four months ago, Hislop questioned the timing of the decision.

“TTFA’s financial woes have been very public and mushrooming over the last four years. The accounts have been frozen multiple times under the previous administration. Surely all at Concacaf and FIFA were aware of this, even as they continued to funnel money into the Home of Football project,” Hislop said in the expose.

“A legitimate question would be why wasn’t similar action taken by FIFA at that time when the circumstances of the organisation appeared to be most dire? Are we really expected to accept, and believe the explanation that this is about a financial management plan?”

Wallace had defeated incumbent David John Williams, whose Home of Football project had been widely supported by FIFA, at the last election.  Hislop proclaimed the recent move looked like more than a coincidence.

“It’s an easy existence to manufacture if you have the right people in place. FIFA clearly believed they did.

As many in the previous administration cheer this action in an effort to appease and gain their own favour, it should be clear to all, our football was never their primary concern. Their actions since November make that painfully clear,” he added.

“Within days of losing the last election, it’s concerning, at best, that one unsuccessful vice-presidential nominee and former board member issued public pronouncements that FIFA would be installing a normalisation committee.

With FIFA and Concacaf still determined to hold the reins on our regional influence, those relationships are protected and enforced—transparency is to be avoided at all costs.”

The former goalkeeper, who admitted to being hopeful following the appointment of the new Wallace-administration, believes the legal battle to come will not be the end of the issue.

 “Idiocy and power are an awful mix, but can only flourish with our complacency. The upcoming legal tussling is only just beginning, with people either already taking sides or cleverly positioning themselves right in the middle.

Goliath has staked his claim. We’ve all heard this parable before, we’ve lived through one incarnation of it not so long ago.

Should Goliath win this one, our game will not be so forgiving or forgetting of the locals who enabled and cheered this on. I’ll keep trying to find the hope in our game.”

The coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread disruption with the global sporting schedule, but you can still get your fix if you know where to look.

Whether you are in self-isolation or practicing social distancing, in a way it has become easier than ever to watch sport as you pass the time.

Some of the biggest leagues and governing bodies have reacted to the global crisis by providing free access to a back catalogue of content.

We run down the best places to look if you're missing sport.

 

FIFA OPENS UP ARCHIVES

From Saturday, FIFA are making full match replays of over 30 games from World Cup and Women's World Cup history available.

The matches appear set to be available until football is back up and running in most countries.

 

A SWISH OFFER FROM THE NBA

Basketball fans rejoice. The wait for the playoffs may go on longer than anticipated, but the NBA is offering free access to the premium League Pass subscription service until April 22.

You can view full replays and highlights from all games played in the 2019-20 season, as well as classic matches.

 

NO LONGER BEHIND GRIDIRON BARS

If the NFL is more your thing, then why not use their Game Pass until the end of May?

You can watch full-length games or condensed versions, while the 'Hard Knocks' and 'A Football Life' series are available on demand, too.

 

MORE FROM THE STATES

Maybe ice hockey is what you are missing most. If so, the NHL.tv is free to all until April 30.

There is also the MLB Vault YouTube channel, which will provide you with hours of classic baseball games.

 

MISSING MESSI?

If you are in Europe, there is the option to watch Rakuten TV's 'Matchday - Inside FC Barcelona' and 'MessiCirque' documentaries without charge. (They also have over 150 films available on a free channel.)

Until the Premier League returns, Manchester City has opened the doors to the CITY+ subscription service. All you need to do is sign up for long-form, in-house content, historic games and full match replays.

 

FOR THE GAMERS OUT THERE...

If re-runs don't sate your appetite to help fill the hours, you can try out the full version of the Football Manager 2020 computer game via the Steam app until 15:00 GMT on March 25.

The board of the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League has unreservedly thrown its support behind the decision by football’s world governing body FIFA to take over the running of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).

After a recent investigation, FIFA took the unusual step of removing the recently appointed TTFA board of directors and replacing it with a normalization committee.  The parent body cited concern over the TTFA’s “low financial management methods” and massive debt. 

FIFA went on to explain that the decision was backed up article 8:2 of the organization statutes that states, "Executive bodies of member associations may under exceptional circumstances be removed from office by the council in consultation with the relevant confederation and replaced by a normalisation committee for a specific period of time."

The decision has expectedly not gone down well with newly appointment president William

Wallace, who called the move an attempted coup.  The body has vowed to explore its legal options by taking the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).  It will not have the support of the Pro League board.

“The Board of the TT Pro League has unanimously accepted the decision by FIFA to establish a Normalization Committee to steer the financial and statutory affairs of the Trinidad & Tobago Football Association,” the Pro League board said via a press release.

“As a football company that have invested over two hundred million dollars into the national economy over the last 18 years, the TT Pro League stand ready to work alongside the Ministry of Sports and the FIFA appointed Normalization Committee for the continued development of the game,” it went on.

“We have instructed our representative on the former TTFA Board, Mr Brent Sancho, that the TT Pro League will not support any move by the former administration to engage in any legal battle against FIFA over their removal from office."

The official who will make up the normalization committee are yet to be announced, or the time period it will maintain the affairs of the football body.

FIFA has set up a working group to look at the potential impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the transfer of players.

With the majority of leagues across the globe suspended due to the proliferation of COVID-19, UEFA decided to postpone Euro 2020 by a year and CONMEBOL pushed back the Copa America until 2021.

The 2019-20 season could consequently continue into the opening of the transfer window, which for most European countries will be in June, and see players required beyond the expiration of their contracts.

Following a conference call on Wednesday, the bureau of the FIFA council announced amendments to its regulations on transfers will be looked into.

The FIFA-Confederations working group will be responsible for "assessing the need for amendments or temporary dispensations to the FIFA regulations on the status and transfer of players to protect contracts for both players and clubs and adjusting player registration periods". It will also look at issues relating to the competition calendar and whether a potential support fund should be established.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: "This exceptional situation requires exceptional measures and decisions. This crisis impacts the entire world and that is why solutions need to take into account the interests of all stakeholders around the world.

"We have shown again today a spirit of co-operation, solidarity and unity. These must be our key drivers moving forward and I would like to thank all the confederations' presidents for their positive contributions and efforts.

"FIFA will keep in close contact with all stakeholders to assess and take the necessary steps to deal with the variety of issues we are facing. I count on the support of the whole football community moving forward."

It was also announced the European Championship and Copa America were granted slots from June 11 until July 11 in the 2021 international match calendar, with a new date for the revamped Club World Cup to be selected at a later stage.

In addition, FIFA ratified a $10million donation to the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

World football’s governing body FIFA has taken charge of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) after dismissing the current board and putting a normalization committee in place.

According to a press release issued on Tuesday, the move follows a recent ‘fact-finding’ mission to the twin-island republic, where FIFA claims it was alarmed by the organisation’s massive debt but also what it called “extremely low overall financial management methods.”

The current William Wallace-led administration took office in November 2019, after dethroning David John-Williams, but must now play a secondary role as FIFA looks to normalize its affairs.  According to the document the role of the committee will be:

  1. To run the TTFA'S daily affairs
  2. To establish a debt repayment plan that is implementable by the TTFA
  3. To review and amend the TTFA Statutes (and other regulations where necessary) and to ensure their compliance with the FIFA Statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress
  4. To organise and to conduct elections of a new TTFA Executive Committee for a four-year mandate.

The members of the committee, who will serve for no longer than 24 months, are yet to be revealed by FIFA.

FIFA is backing the decisions to move Euro 2020 and the Copa America to next year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

UEFA and CONMEBOL announced on Tuesday that the tournaments will be postponed until 2021 to make it possible for the 2019-20 club seasons to be completed once local suspensions on league football have been lifted.

FIFA will convene a conference call with Council members on Wednesday where president Gianni Infantino will call for the revised Euro and Copa America dates to be accepted.

Members will also discuss plans to reschedule the revised 2021 Club World Cup, which is due to be held from June 17 until July 4 next year.

Infantino is also proposing FIFA contribute funds towards the global fight against COVID-19.

In a statement, he said he will encourage FIFA to ratify a direct $10million contribution to the World Health Organisation Solidarity Response Fund and establish a 'Global Football Assistance Fund' to "help members of the football community affected by this crisis".

FIFA will also consult with football stakeholders over any necessary changes to rules regarding transfers, so as to "protect contracts for both players and clubs".

He added: "It goes without saying that FIFA will keep in regular contact with all members of the football community during this difficult period. As I stated yesterday, challenging circumstances offer the opportunity for people to come together, show what they can do in a collective spirit, and emerge stronger and better prepared for the future.  And this is what FIFA is aiming to do here.

"The world is facing an unprecedented health challenge and clearly a global and collective response is needed. Cooperation, mutual respect and understanding must be the guiding principles for all decision makers to have in mind at this crucial moment in time."

Clubs will not be forced to release their players for international duty in March and April amid the coronavirus crisis, with FIFA recommending fixture postponements.

Football has largely come to a standstill worldwide as associations attempt to combat the spread of a virus that has already led to over 5,000 deaths.

The Champions League and Europa League have notably been suspended, along with each of Europe's top five leagues.

Fixtures in MLS, the Scottish Premiership and the English Football League are also all off.

The Premier League, Serie A and LaLiga have paused play until after the scheduled upcoming international break, while the Ligue 1 season has been postponed until further notice.

International football now appears unlikely to continue, too, as clubs - usually powerless to prevent call-ups – have received permission to keep their players following a FIFA Council decision.

FIFA will not impose the postponement of all forthcoming fixtures but is encouraging such measures.

A statement read: "FIFA understands that to hold the matches under current circumstances might not only present potential health risks to players (and to the general public) but would also, most likely, compromise the sporting integrity of such matches insofar as certain teams may be deprived of their best squads whilst others may not.

"To avoid any unnecessary health risks and also situations of potential sporting unfairness, we therefore recommend that all international matches previously scheduled to take place in March and April should now be postponed until such time that they can take place in a safe and secure environment, both for players and for the general public.

"The final decision on this issue rests with the respective competition organisers or relevant member association in case of friendlies."

World Cup qualifiers in Asia and South America have already been pushed back, along with the cancellation of some international friendlies.

UEFA is yet to call off the Euro 2020 play-offs set for the coming weeks, although the tournament's existing schedule appears to be in doubt ahead of a meeting next Tuesday.

Wednesday has seen the coronavirus outbreak take further toll on sport across the world.

Further matches have been postponed while others appear unable to go ahead due to increased travel restrictions between affected countries.

Governing bodies are also taking steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by cancelling planned meetings, while others are calling for further changes to the calendar.

Here are some of the latest events to be impacted.

Football's governing body has decided to cancel the next FIFA Congress in Addis Ababa on June 5. It has also pushed back the coming FIFA Council meeting in Zurich, due to be on March 20, until June or July. Attendees may be required to join via a video link.

In France, the Coupe de la Ligue final on April 4 between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon has been postponed. The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) said a new date would be announced in due course. It means the PSG-Metz and Lyon-Nimes Ligue 1 matches will be moved to the weekend of April 4-5 but be held behind closed doors. PSG will have Kylian Mbappe available against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, though: the striker is in the squad after overcoming illness, with L'Equipe among those to report he had tested negative for coronavirus.

Germany has seen the first confirmed instance of a footballer contracting coronavirus. Hannover defender Timo Hubers has tested positive but been praised by the club for his "absolutely exemplary" behaviour, as he immediately self-isolated before coming into contact with the rest of the squad.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich will face Union Berlin on Saturday behind closed doors, and the latter's derby with Hertha Berlin on March 21 will take place under the same circumstances. Borussia Monchengladbach have urged fans not to gather outside the stadium ahead of Wednesday's match with Cologne.

FIFPro, the footballers' union, has urged governing bodies across the world "to respect the wishes of players to take short-term precautionary measures including suspending training or competitions". Steps are certainly being taken in Spain, where the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has recommended football at all levels beneath the top two professional leagues to be called off for two weeks. The RFEF will reportedly meet with league officials to discuss similar proposals for LaLiga and the Segunda Division.

Meanwhile, Roma's match with Sevilla in the Europa League last 16 on Thursday is off after the Italian club confirmed they had not been given permission by the government to fly to Andalusia. Getafe had already refused to travel for their game with Inter in Italy.

The big news in England was that Manchester City versus Arsenal was called off as a precaution after the Gunners came into contact with Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis, who announced on Tuesday that he had caught the disease. In general, though, the UK has not been following the same stringent protocols as some other European nations and that is continuing for now. Arsenal's match with Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday has not been called off, while England's planned friendlies at Wembley this month against Italy and Denmark are, at present, going ahead. Forest have also confirmed all players and staff have tested negative for coronavirus.

In Scotland, Rangers boss Steven Gerrard says the domestic season must be completed, even if behind closed doors, "because people have earned the opportunity to get to the stage where everyone is at". League chief executive Neil Doncaster claimed last week that completing the Premiership season could become "very difficult".

The England and Wales Cricket Board has told supporters "to maintain good levels of hygiene" during England's tour of Sri Lanka. As a precaution, players and staff have been told to avoid casual interaction with fans, such as selfies and autographs.

In Bangladesh, the World XI v Asia XI matches that would have marked the birthday celebrations of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman have been postponed, while the Indian Open has been called off following a consultation between the Indian Golf Union, the European Tour, the Asian Tour and tournament sponsors.

MotoGP has also announced that the Argentina Grand Prix has been moved to November. The opening race of the season in Qatar and the Grand Prix of the Americas have already been rescheduled.

FIFA has rescheduled their Congress until September amid the global spread of coronavirus.

The 70th FIFA Congress was due to take place on June 5 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but the date has now been moved to September 18.

Disruptions come amid the continued impact of coronavirus, with the amount of confirmed global cases according to the World Health Organisation now over 118,000, with more than 4,000 deaths.

"On account of the spread of COVID-19, numerous international bodies and public health authorities have advised against the organisation of international events," read a FIFA statement on Wednesday.

"Concerns over the health and well-being of participants, as well as travel restrictions in many countries, have resulted in the cancellation or postponement of many such events in various parts of the world. 

"Mindful of this, and given the wish of FIFA to organise a Congress which all member associations are able to attend, the Bureau of the FIFA Council decided to reschedule the 70th FIFA Congress."

FIFA has also rescheduled a Council meeting that was planned for March 20 until later this year.

The world game's governing body are yet to confirm a final date but, having held discussions on Tuesday, are now aiming to hold that in either June or July. 

Their headquarters in Zurich is the preferred location for the Council meeting although videoconferencing remains an option.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected former UEFA president Michel Platini's appeal against his ban from all football-related activity.

Platini was initially given an eight-year ban for receiving a "disloyal payment" of two million Swiss francs (£1.3m) from then FIFA president Sepp Blatter in 2011. 

The former France captain had that reduced to six years in 2016 and further cut to four years following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Platini, who has served his ban, was unsuccessful with a Swiss Federal Court appeal and the ECHR has now ruled his punishment to be "justified" and his challenge as "inadmissible".

The judgement stated: "The Court found in particular that, having regard to the seriousness of the misconduct, the senior position held by Mr Platini in football's governing bodies and the need to restore the reputation of the sport and of FIFA, the sanction did not appear excessive or arbitrary.

"The domestic bodies had taken account of all the interests at stake in confirming the measure taken by FIFA, subsequently reduced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). 

"Lastly, the Court noted that the applicant had been afforded the domestic institutional and procedural safeguards allowing him to challenge FIFA’s decision and submit his arguments in his defence."

FIFA responded to the verdict by declaring it will continue to seek money owed. 

A FIFA statement read: "FIFA has taken note of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights to reject the appeal of Mr. Platini, which the Court considered to be manifestly ill-founded. 

"This judgment is in line with the decision of FIFA’s Ethics Committee, which was confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sports and also by the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

"FIFA will continue to seek restitution of the CHF 2 million unduly paid by former FIFA President Joseph Blatter to Mr. Platini back in February 2011."

Platini and Blatter, who also had his ban reduced to six years, have continually denied any wrongdoing.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has urged football organisations "not to panic" when it comes to taking measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Several sporting events have been postponed and the football calendar has also faced problems, with Serie A having called off several fixtures over the past two weekends.

The Swiss government issued a ban on events where more than 1,000 people were expected to be in attendance, with the country's Football Association postponing league matches until March 23.

Some Premier League clubs have banned handshakes at training grounds amid fears matches in England's top flight may be affected.

Infantino, who last week admitted international matches scheduled to take place this month could be postponed as the outbreak continues to escalate, called for a considered approach to tackle the problem.

"Some of you have had to take important decisions in this respect. Every competition organiser has to study it of course and has to take decisions," he said at the UEFA Congress in Amsterdam.

"It is important to consider all the information from the authorities, but it's also important not to panic.

"Those who have to take decisions, like happened in Switzerland, will take decisions and then be able to move forward.

"Someone said to me football can be an antidote to coronavirus. I wouldn't go that far, but sometimes football is an antidote to many other illnesses like discrimination and racism, and this is a fight we need to fight all together."

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has agreed to plans for concussion substitutes to be trialled, while the offside law will also be reviewed.

Other sports such as cricket and rugby union have measures in place allowing players to be replaced if they suffer a concussion, and there has been pressure on football to follow suit.

Football's law-making body IFAB said it required "more research data" before implementing a change to the rules but indicated that FIFA wants to trial concussion substitutes at the 2020 Olympic Games.

IFAB also said it would look into the offside law in order "to foster the spirit of attacking play" following comments from former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

The Frenchman, now Chief of Global Football Development at FIFA, had suggested changing the law so that a player would be onside if any part of their body with which they can score a goal is level or behind the relevant defender.

Some pundits, players and coaches have become frustrated with the number of goals being disallowed by marginal offside calls following the introduction of VAR.

On the subject of VAR, IFAB said its members were "considering future developments, including improving communication and potential technological advances".

For the 2020-21 Laws of the Game, IFAB said there would be a change over the handball rule to differentiate more clearly between the arm and shoulder.

FIFA has announced its proposed restrictions on international loan transfers will come into effect in July 2020, pending approval from the FIFA Council.

The Football Stakeholders Committee has endorsed the introduction of international loan limits for players aged 22 and over.

Clubs will be allowed a maximum of eight in and out from 2020-21, with that figure decreasing to six in 2022-23, with no more than three in and three out between the same clubs.

FIFA said the regulations would "ensure that [loan transfers] have a valid sporting purpose for youth development".

With the new rules for international deals set to be introduced in July, member associations have three years to set regulations for domestic loans.

These domestic laws would have to be "in line with the principles established at international level".

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