Following the avalanche of blame that has tumbled on embattled TTFA president William Wallace, in light of FIFA’s ruling to suspend Trinidad and Tobago from world football indefinitely, former national footballer, David Nakhid, insists there are multiple ‘villains’ involved in the case.

Nakhid was quick to point out that he has no sympathy for Wallace because the deposed official “did several things subsequent to his appointment without consulting the board.”

 “A situation like this calls for compromise, it calls for mediation, it calls for some level of consultation between parties and we never had that,” Nakhid said in an interview with the SportsMax Zone.

“What we had was a lot of hotspot meetings and disjointed efforts by parties here and parties there,” he added.  In the mind of the former Soca Warriors captain, however, Wallace was far from the only one deserving of criticism. 

As such, he also turned his attention to the world governing body FIFA, for whom he had some particularly strong words.  He accused the global football organisation of being ‘hypocrites’ and seeing the Caribbean region as just part of a voting bloc and not much else.

“FIFA has always been an organisation that has the Caribbean and by extension Latin America as just a voting bloc.  Basically, we are still indentured labourers to them," he said.

The former Caribbean Footballer of the Year was also critical of leaders of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), past and present, who he accused of leaving no legacy for the Caribbean and ensuring that the region did not have a genuine voice on the world stage.

 Nakhid launched a longshot bid for the FIFA presidency in 2015 but was disqualified from the race after receiving a double nomination.  At the time, his proposed candidacy never received wide support across the Caribbean, garnering a total of five votes.

On Thursday, FIFA suspended the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) for its failure to withdraw a case that is currently before the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago, within the prescribed timeframe that came after a previous extension.  The ruling will see the twin-island republic immediately deprived of all its rights as a member of FIFA, which comes with other consequences.

Trinidad and Tobago could be replaced by Antigua and Barbuda for next year's CONCACAF Gold Cup but, for now, remains a part of the competition’s official draw, scheduled for Monday.

On Thursday, FIFA announced the suspension of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) from all forms of international football, following its failure to withdraw a case that was before the T&T High Court, within the prescribed deadline.

As a result, T&T has had its membership privileges revoked and as such cannot compete in any tournaments.  With the terms of the suspension hanging on just three conditions, however, the country could well rectify the situation and be reinstated before the start of the tournament next year.

In addressing the issue, Concacaf revealed it had decided, after an emergency meeting, that T&T would be included in the draw on Monday and remain a part of the competition until 5:00 pm ET on December 18, 2020.  If the suspension has not been lifted by that time, Antigua and Barbuda, as the next highest-ranked team based on their 2019 Concacaf Nations League performance, will take their place.

Trinidad and Tobago remains among 12 teams set to compete in a preliminary round competition from July 2-6, 2021 prior to the start of next year’s tournament.

Former Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Sports Anil Roberts has lamented what he classifies to be a cause that was destined to be ‘a losing battle’ in wake of FIFA’s recent suspension of the TTFA from world football.

FIFA and the TTFA have been locked in a bitter dispute since March of this year, when the global football governing body appointed a normalisation committee to take over the affairs of the nation’s football, after dissolving the board.  The then four-month-old William Wallace-led executive rejected the move and refused to recognize the committee, framing the actions as an infringement on the country’s sovereignty.

In its letter, however, FIFA pointed to article 8 paragraph 2 of the FIFA Statutes, as giving them the right to appoint a normalisation committee.  The Wallace-led coalition then opted to take the case to the CAS before having issues with the cost of presenting the case and suggesting any ruling would have been biased towards FIFA.  The body instead opted to take the case before the Trinidad and Tobago High Court, a move also prohibited by the FIFA statutes.  In announcing the decision to suspend Trinidad and Tobago from international football on Thursday, FIFA pointed to violations of article 59, which states that;

“Recourse to ordinary courts of law is prohibited unless specifically provided for in the FIFA regulations. Recourse to ordinary courts of law for all types of provisional measures is also prohibited.”

According to Roberts, even if one were to submit to the fact that every argument made by the ousted TTFA officials were correct, they ignored a certain reality.

“There was no other outcome.  So, let us pretend that the TTFA was absolutely right.  Every argument they made, FIFA was being high handed, their decisions were wrong, they were using their power to suppress and oppress Trinidad and Tobago and its organisation.  Every argument was correct.  You still could not win, because the idea is you want to play football and FIFA controls football,” Roberts said in an exclusive interview with the SportsMax Zone.

Since 2003, FIFA has suspended around 24 countries for various disputes and violations of its statutes.  Antigua and Barbuda are the only other Caribbean country suspended during the period.

“We must be realistic in the world we live in.  In the world of sport, whether we like it or not, FIFA owns football.  Anyone who does not understand that is naive or would like to fight a war that cannot be won,” Roberts added.

“FIFA owns football.  Everything we want as a country, as a territory, they control.  Whether it is through their World Cup male and female tournaments or their junior age-group World Cups.  Whether its through their ability to control club football, world club football, Champions League, CONCACAF Gold Cup, opportunities for our young players to get contracts…So this was a losing war from the onset.”

 

  

The standoff between FIFA and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association  (TTFA) ended with the Caribbean country joining a long list of others suspended after various disputes with their parent association.

Oftentimes, the reasons nations find themselves blacklisted by the sport’s global governing body are many and varied, but the outcome is often the same.

The twin-island republic becomes the second Caribbean nation suspended by FIFA, following in the footsteps of Antigua and Barbuda who were banned in 2003 for one year, after infighting broke out within the association.

In each case, the length of suspension dished out to the associations varies widely, with the ball often in the member association court as to how long it takes to rectify the affair that has caused them to fall afoul of FIFA’s statues in the first place.  The list below features 24 countries that have been suspended in the last 17 years and some of the reasons provided.

 

List of country’s suspended

 

Country - Azerbaijan

Date - 15 April 2003 - 23 May 2003

Reason - External pressure, violations of

fundamental principles

Outcome - Parties agreed to respect a FIFA

moderated agreement

 

Country - Antigua and

Barbuda

Date - 20 May 2003 - 29 June 2005

Reason - Non-specified

Outcome- Suspension lifted after situation

had improved

 

Country - Guatemala

Date - 9 Jan. 2004 - 17 May 2004

Reason - Governmental interference: FA and

elected FA officials replaced

Outcome - Re-installment of elected FA

leadership, recognition of FAs’

competencies

 

Country - Kenya

Date - 2 June 2004 - 6 Aug. 2004

Reason - Governmental interference: FA

officials replaced due to

mismanagement and fraud

Outcome - Installment of a normalization

committee to improve

transparency and accountability

 

Country – Macau

Date - 15 Feb. 2005 - 6 March 2005

Reason - Governmental interference:

Non-specified

Outcome - Suspension lifted after

negotiations

 

Country -Yemen

Date -12 Aug. 2005 - 9 Nov. 2005

Reason - Governmental interference:

Non-specified

Outcome - Suspension lifted after concessions

by the government

 

Country - Greece

Date - 3 July 2006 - 12 July 2006

Reason - Governmental interference: National

legislation granting professional

league independence from FA

was not revoked

Outcome - Legislation amended according to

FIFA’s demands

 

Country - Kenya

Date - 25 Oct. 2006 - 9 March 2007

Reason - Governmental interference:

Non-implementation of

agreements, escalation of

internal conflicts

Outcome - Government agrees to abstain

from further intervention, legal

proceedings are withdrawn,

reinstallation of elected officials

 

Country – Iran

Date- 23 Nov. 2006 - 20 Dec. 2006

Reason - Governmental interference:

Non-independence of

decision-making and election

processes

Outcome - Implementation of FIFA’s

demands

 

Country - Kuwait

Date - 29 Oct. 2007 - 20 Dec. 2008

Reason - Governmental interference: FA

officials replaced

Outcome - Suspension provisionally lifted

after new elections are

announced, reinstallation of

FIFA’s transition committee,

amendment of FA’s statutes

 

Country - Albania

Date -14 March 2008 - 26 April 2008

Reason - Governmental interference:

Government initiated legal

proceedings against new FA

statutes

Outcome - Legal proceedings stopped,

creation of a working-group

 

Country - Madagascar

Date - 19 March 2008 - 19 May 2008 Governmental interference:

Ministerial decree dissolved FA

Outcome - Madagascan Supreme Court

declared decree null and void,

re-installment of FA

 

Country - Chad

Date - 28 March 2008 - 7 May 2008

Reason - Governmental interference:

Government replaced FA

officials and intended to hold

new elections

Outcome - Decree revoked, reinstallation of

elected FA officials

 

Country - Iraq

Date - 26 May 2008 - 29 May 2008

Reason - Governmental interference:

Governmental decree dissolved

all sport organizations

Outcome - Exclusion of FA from dissolution

decree

 

Country – Ethiopia

Date - 29 July 2008 – July 22 2009

Reason - Governmental interference:

Dismissal of elected officials,

non-compliance with FIFA

roadmap

Outcome - New leaders elected for the country's soccer federation.

 

Country – Samoa

Date - 24 Oct. 2008 - 20 Dec. 2008

Reason -Repeated management problems

Outcome - Resolved

 

Country - Peru

Date - 25 Nov. 2008 - 20 Dec. 2008

Reason -Governmental interference:

Non-specified

Outcome- Resolved

 

Country - Brunei Darussalam

Date -29 Sept. 2009 - 1 June 2011 Governmental interference:

Dissolution of FA and creation

of new government-controlled

body

Outcome - FIFA’s conditions fulfilled and

statues amended according to

FIFA Statutes

 

Country - Iraq

Date - 20 Nov. 2009 - 19 March 2010

Reason - Governmental interference: Government

controlled NOC dissolved FA

Outcome - Dissolution of FA withdrawn

 

Country - El Salvador

Date - 11 May 2010 - 27 May 2010

Reason - Governmental interference: Government

did not accept FIFA’s normalization

committee and new FA statutes

Outcome - Legitimacy of normalization

committee and new statutes

recognized

 

Country – Nigeria

Date - 4 Oct. 2010 - 8 Oct. 2010

Reason - Governmental interference: Court actions

against FA officials, government

forced resignation of officials,

government started league without

relegation from previous season

Outcome - Suspension provisionally lifted

after claimant withdrew legal

actions and FA leadership and

FA control over league were

reinstalled

 

Country – Bosnia

Date -1 April 2011 1 - Jun 2011

 Reason - Mismanagement due to ethnic

divisions

Outcome - FA statutes amended according to

FIFA’s demands

 

Country - Belize

17 June 2011 7- July 2011

Reason - Failure of government to provide

security for national team matches

Outcome - Suspension provisionally lifted

due to positive developments,

match played outside Belize

 

Country – Cameroon

Date - 4 July 2013 - 22 July 2013

Reason - Governmental interference: Government refused to accept results of FA

elections

Outcome - New elections organized, finally

reinstallation of elected FA officials

 

Country – Nigeria  

Jul 9, 2014 - Jul 18, 2014

Reason – Government interference:

Court proceedings and an order preventing the president of the NFF, the NFF executive committee members, and the NFF Congress from running the affairs of Nigerian football

Outcome – Orders rescinded

 

Country – Kuwait

Date - Oct 16, 2015 - Dec 6, 2017

Reason – Government interference

Outcome – Gulf state's parliament adopted a law meant to end government interference in the sport.

 

Country - Guatemala

Date – Oct 28, 2016 - May 31, 2018

Reason – Government interference: Local authorities had intervened with Normalisation Committee

Outcome – Normalisation Committee recognized

 

Country - Sierra Leone

Date - Oct 5, 2018 - Jun 3, 2019

Reason - Government interference.

Third-party interference in the running of the country's FA.

Outcome – Resolved

 

Country – Trinidad and Tobago

Date – September 24, 2020 – Unknown

Reason – Refusal to acknowledge normalisation committee by the previous board.  Issue was taken to High Court.

Outcome - Unknown

 

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has been suspended indefinitely by FIFA, after its failure to comply with a request to withdraw a legal case against the global football body currently before the courts of Trinidad and Tobago.

The case was brought before the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago by former TTFA president William Wallace and other deposed executives.  The members had taken umbrage with FIFA’s disbanding of the then four-month-old administration and its installation of a normalisation committee to take over the country’s football affairs.

According to a letter issued by FIFA on Thursday, however, the actions were in direct violation of article 59 of the FIFA Statutes and that the issue had been recommended by the Bureau of the Council, who took action.

“The Bureau took note that this course of action breached art. 59 of the FIFA Statutes, which expressly stipulates the prohibition on recourse to ordinary courts of law unless specifically provided for in the FIFA regulations,” the letter read.

“Additionally, the Bureau was informed that the institution and maintenance of those proceedings by these individuals, purporting to act in the name of the TTFA, in complete disregard for the FIFA Statutes threatens the stability of the structure of football governance, both in Trinidad and Tobago and globally.”

The letter also pointed out that FIFA had given the TTFA until September 16, to withdraw the case before the court and subsequently given a final deadline of September 23 at 3:00 pm, which was also not met.

As a result of the suspension, the TTFA will be deprived of its rights as a member, which means that neither its clubs nor national teams will be allowed to compete in any international competitions.  Funding for development programs will also immediately be cut.

The letter gave three conditions under which the renegade body would be re-admitted to global football.

  1. The TTFA complies with the terms and conditions of its membership of FIFA as set out under the FIFA Statutes, including in particular Article 59 of the FIFA Statutes;
  2. The TTFA acknowledges and confirms FIFA’s power and authority to appoint a Normalisation Committee subject only to the right of the TTFA to appeal such a decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport;
  3. The TTFA Statutes are amended to ensure that all type of disputes may only be submitted to the established dispute resolution forum at CAS.

The suspension will immediately impact the country’s participation in the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has been suspended indefinitely by FIFA, after its failure to comply with a request to withdraw a legal case brought against the global football body and currently before the courts of Trinidad and Tobago.

The case was brought by deposed members of the former TTFA executive, who took issue with FIFA’s appointment of a normalization committee to govern the nation’s football affairs…More to follow.  


TTFA Watch 

Lawyers representing United TTFA have applied to the Trinidad and Tobago High Court of Justice seeking permission to withdraw the claims currently before the court regarding their six-month dispute with FIFA.

The move brings to an end William Wallace's case against FIFA in a bid to avoid being suspended from world football by the sports governing body.

The development comes, sources indicate, after there was majority vote against proceeding with the matter before the court, during an informal meeting of the TTFA on Tuesday night. Twenty-one members voted against pursuing the proceedings against FIFA, sources said. Eight voted in favour.

On May 18, lawyers for the William-Wallace executive had filed an application in the Trinidad and Tobago High Court 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.”

FIFA filed an appeal that was thrown out by Madame Justice Carol Gobin.

In response, FIFA sent letters to the Normalisation Committee currently in charge of the affairs of the TTFA strongly suggesting that the claims be withdrawn.

Failure to do so by September 23, FIFA said, would result in them initiating proceedings to have the TTFA suspended from international football.

FIFA has lifted financial restrictions imposed on the Jamaica Football Federation last year.

FIFA has extended its deadline for the TTFA to withdraw all claims against them currently before the Trinidad and Tobago Supreme Court.

Former CONCACAF president Jack Warner has left the hospital and now in quarantine as he continues to recover from infection with the coronavirus.

The 77-year-old former football official turned politician, confirmed in a statement that he had been released from the Couva Hospital on Sunday.

Warner was rushed to the hospital two weeks ago, after testing positive for the disease and experiencing some of the symptoms.  Warner, who had a tough time battling the disease, reflected that he would not have inflicted it on his worst enemy.

“This was not a good road trip and I will be following the medical guidelines to the dot and to the tittle not simply because it is my social and legal responsibility to do so but because the discomfort, the isolation, and the pain that one goes through is not an experience that anyone will wish for another,” the release read.

The former FIFA vice president said that he intended to spend his recovery out of the limelight and that he was thankful to God.

“During my period of recovery, I will remain in the shadows away from media contact and this is not because of any disrespect to this profession to which I have grown to love but rather to allow me to recover undisturbed; I would truly wish that my request for silence during this period is respected,” he said.

“Let me, first of all, thank God for this second chance and for His mercy in allowing me to unite with my family and also once again to thank my family and friends for being my source of comfort and strength along this journey and for their prayers for healing which ascended to the throne of grace and my behalf.”

A difficult battle with the coronavirus has left former Concacaf boss Jack Warner in a repentant mood, insisting he would not wish the affliction on his worst enemy.

The 77-year- old former football administration turned politician, contracted the virus two weeks ago, and has been in the hospital since.  Warner is, however, reportedly in good spirits at the Couva hospital and took the time out to thank all who have wished him well for their continued support.

At one point rumous had surfaced that the politician was gravely ill and had even succumbed to the virus.

“The outpouring of love and concern by people from all walks of life really caught me by surprise and for that, I wish to say a special thanks for the caring of which I am still the recipient,” Warner said in a recent post.

“One friend text me to say “any energy you needlessly expend is directing that energy away from your healing” so I spend my days praying, seeking God’s forgiveness to those I may have wronged and living with the hope that very soon this COVID-19 will pass not only for me but for the many who continue to suffer locally and abroad.”

Warner also warned citizens to continue to be vigilant and follow the guidelines of the government.  The former member of parliament still faces extradition to the United States, where he is expected to face corruption charges related to his time in football.  

The communications team of disgraced former CONCACAF boss and FIFA vice president Jack Warner has dismissed reports he is gravely ill from the coronavirus, with some even claiming he had died.

The reports claim the 77-year-old Warner, who campaigned for a seat in the Trinidad and Tobago General Elections last month, complained of feeling tired and was initially tested and released after being tested for cardiac issues.

A previously administered coronavirus test result, however, came back positive and the former football official was rushed back to the hospital.  Details regarding Warner’s condition have been sketchy but both his publicist Michelle Borde-Harvey and Facebook page insists the former MP is doing well.

“Mr. Warner has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in fact being treated. He wishes to advise all, that he is alive and in good spirits, as always,” the statement on the social media website read.

Warner unsuccessfully contested the Lopinot Bon Air seat in the election. He is currently battling extradition to the United States, based on charges levelled against him during his time in football.

The coronavirus pandemic has killed 29 people and infected 1, 984 in Trinidad and Tobago.  Warner became the second politician to be stricken by the disease.

 

FIFA president Gianni Infantino expressed joy at the announcement of ground-breaking law changes that should improve the rights of workers in Qatar, host nation of the next World Cup.

It was confirmed on Sunday that the Emir of Qatar had abolished certain restrictions in place for migrant workers in the country, with two new laws passed by authorities.

The changes mean workers are no longer unable to change jobs without their employer's permission, while a monthly minimum wage of 1,000 Qatari riyal – plus basic living allowances for some workers – has been introduced.

Human rights organisation Amnesty International hopes these steps will "strike at the heart of the abusive kafala system", a practice that requires so-called unskilled labourers to have a sponsor – predominantly their employer – in the country.

The kafala system had been widely criticised by campaigners for allowing some employers to exploit workers.

Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup in December 2010, though their selection was shrouded in allegations of corruption, while the country's use – and reported exploitation – of workers in the meantime has led to moral objection to the tournament and uncomfortable questions for FIFA.

But world football's governing body sees these changes as a significant step in creating a positive legacy and lasting change in the region.

"We sincerely congratulate the State of Qatar on this significant step," Infantino said in a statement released on Tuesday.

"Since the FIFA World Cup 2022 was awarded to Qatar, there has been a major collective effort from the local authorities, our partner the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and the ILO [International Labour Organisation] to bring about positive change, and we are really pleased to see that this has materialised into concrete major progress in the area of workers' rights.

"Well before kick-off, this important milestone demonstrates the capacity of the FIFA World Cup to foster positive change and build a lasting legacy.

"There is definitely still room for further progress, and we will continue to work closely with the authorities and all stakeholders to promote a progressive agenda that should be of long-term benefit to all workers in Qatar, whether involved in the preparation of the event or not."

Ramon Vega says football has been heading for "collapse" for years due to financial mismanagement and action should have been taken long ago as the game is losing its soul.

The coronavirus crisis has had a huge impact on clubs all over the world and many were already in a precarious predicament prior to the global pandemic.

Championship clubs have paid the price for chasing the riches of the Premier League, while Wigan Athletic were relegated to League One after being docked 12 points for falling into administration just four weeks after they were taken over by a Hong Kong-based consortium.

There are concerns more clubs could go out of business and it is by no means only in England where they have fallen on hard times.

Former Switzerland international Vega's expertise in football and finance has been in increasing demand since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vega, who has forged a successful career in asset management since hanging up his boots and remains interested in becoming FIFA president, is concerned about the state of the game.

The ex-Spurs centre-back told Stats Perform News: "It had been going in the direction of collapse for quite a few years, COVID-19 has obviously speeded that up and put clubs in an even more severe situation. It should have been addressed a while ago.

"The key part is most of the guys had already spent the money before it came it. It's like having a salary and spending half of it already before you have it. Then if you realise you are not going to get that money you are going to be struggling, as you have no cashflow.

"It's very much on how the clubs are managed. Obviously, every club wants to be competitive, but it has to be sustainable.

"Over the last 10 years I think it's been a little bit highly leveraged in many ways; refinancing or getting money from right, left and centre, speculating on potential player transfers to pay back money.

"I think there must be a model in place where there are some reserves in place in case something might happen. Football can be unreliable with how successful you are being and maybe having a bad spell with transfers and being unable to sell players.

"If that income isn't coming in and you have no reserves, any business in the world would collapse."

Vega knows having such vast sums of money in the game has also had a positive impact, but he stressed the importance of striking a balance.

Asked if he is worried about the future of football, he said: "I'm a positive person and you have to be. Football always needs money, that's simple. But football and money doesn't always have to be at the forefront as it is now.

"In the last 10-15 years, money has improved the game and made a massive difference. That is fantastic, but the soul of the game is disappearing slowly and that is what I'm a little bit worried about.

"The soul of the game, the purpose of the game is disappearing a little bit. It's become machinery, that's why you see investors from within the financial industry coming into it, the pure emotions are not there, it is purely an investment.

"The more money that comes into football, the more people who are unemotional come into the game. They don't invest for the purpose of the game, it's for the profit."

FIFA has threatened to ban Trinidad and Tobago from international football should the ousted leadership of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) fail to withdraw their claim currently before the Trinidad and Tobago High Court by September 16.

On May 18, lawyers for the William-Wallace executive had filed an application in the Trinidad and Tobago High Court 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.”

FIFA filed an appeal that was dismissed by the High Court. The ruling is being appealed by FIFA on the grounds that the judge made several errors in arriving at her decision.

Apparently, increasingly frustrated at being unable to have the dispute resolved, FIFA has now decided to flex their muscles.

In a letter to the head of the Normalisation Committee Robert Hadad on Wednesday, FIFA said it was “extremely concerned regarding the decision of the claim and the arguments used to dismiss FIFA's application. In this context, we draw your attention to art. 59 of the FIFA Statutes, which expressly contains the prohibition of recourse to ordinary courts of law unless specifically provided for.

“FIFA takes such a principle with the utmost seriousness and therefore considers that it is the responsibility of its member associations to ensure that this principle is implemented. We further wish to underline that the failure to meet these obligations may, according to art. 14 par. 4 of the FIFA Statutes, lead to sanctions as provided for in the FIFA Statutes, including a possible suspension.”

FIFA said its primary objective is that TTFA, as member of FIFA, shall mandatorily respect and implement their obligations, provided in the FIFA Statutes and that the aforementioned developments seriously derail the objective.

Football’s governing body insisted that the only recognised path to resolve the ongoing dispute is the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) and requested the TTFA to ask the TTFA former leadership for an immediate withdrawal of the claim at the Trinidad and Tobago High Court by 16 September 2020, at the latest.

It said that failure to comply with this directive would result in the commencement of suspension proceedings via the relevant FIFA bodies.

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