Trinidad and Tobago High Court Justice Carol Gobin will hand down a decision on August 13 whether the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) will be compelled to abide by the arbitration process at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) or whether FIFA will be subject to the jurisdiction of the TT High Court in their ongoing dispute.

The TTFA and FIFA have been in dispute since March when FIFA dissolved the association’s administration who were in office four months and installed a normalization committee to oversee the affairs of the debt-ridden association.

TTFA took the matter to the CAS but later withdrew citing fears of institutional bias.

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.

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.

Attempts at mediation failed when FIFA decided to withdraw citing a lack of confidentiality.

FIFA now wants the court to send the matter back before the CAS.

On Wednesday, the parties appeared before the Honourable Justice Carol Gobin after FIFA filed an application on June 15, 2020, challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to adjudicate on the impending issues between the parties.

The TTFA was represented by attorneys-at-law Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle, Crystal Paul and Jason Jones of New City Chambers while FIFA was represented by Christopher Hamel-Smith SC, Jonathan Walker and Cherie Gopie of M Hamel-Smith and Co.

Hamel-Smith submitted that the TTFA’s commencement of the proceedings before the TT High Court was an act beyond its legal authority and that the TTFA’s commencement of the proceedings before the TT High Court was done without the due and proper authority of those who purported to do so on behalf of the TTFA.

Hamel-Smith also submitted that proceedings be stayed in favour of arbitration at CAS as agreed between TTFA and FIFA. He also submitted that the permission initially granted to the TTFA to issue and serve the originating documents outside of the jurisdiction be set aside as, among other reasons, electronic service of the documents were contrary to Swiss Law.

However, in submissions for the TTFA, Dr Emir Crowne said the TTFA was created by an Act of the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament and so if the Parliament intended to abdicate its supervision and/or jurisdiction over the TTFA- thereby ousting the jurisdiction of the TT High Court- then the Parliament would have clearly done so.

These submissions were made in support of Dr Crowne’s insistence that the matter before the Court posed far-reaching public policy implications of which the Court should consider.

As it relates to Swiss Law, Dr Crowne indicated that the question should not have any significant relevance since the alleged breaches, torts, property rights and other issues affecting the TTFA are all occurring and have its ultimate effect within Trinidad and Tobago, not Switzerland.

Further, he contended that the FIFA submitted no evidence before the Court to support its assertions regarding Swiss Law and the TTFA’s service of its originating documents outside of Trinidad and Tobago.

Dr Crowne also raised the issue of the institutional bias at CAS and whether there was, in fact, an enforceable agreement between the TTFA and FIFA to arbitrate before the CAS.

He submitted that the decision to be bound by the arbitration clause, as FIFA alleges, cannot be said to have been entered into freely by the TTFA given the drastic consequences to the TTFA of not being affiliated or participating in international football.

It will now come down to Justice Gobin’s decision on August 13.

“The TTFA, perhaps like many other stakeholders of Trinidad and Tobago football, patiently awaits the ruling of the Honourable Court in this Application,” said Jason Jones in a comment to Sportsmax.TV.

Prior to the start of Wednesday’s proceedings, Justice Gobin asked whether the parties would consider Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods. The TTFA said it was willing to engage in mediation. However, FIFA reiterated that it remains willing only to engage in arbitration before the CAS.

 

FIFA has withdrawn from mediation with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) citing the failure of its lawyers to keep the matter confidential.

FIFA has agreed to settle their dispute with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) through mediation.

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realise that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week through different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT.

Let’s not Pressure Cornwall

Former West Indies batsman Philo Wallace in an interview on the Mason and Guest radio show welcomed the inclusion of spinner Rakheem Cornwall in the final match-day squad for the Test tour of England. Wallace described the Antiguan as the “match-winner” and “trump.” In my opinion, Cornwall has immense potential but to call him a match-winner is simply putting too much pressure on the young man who is new to this level and format of the game.

The 27-year-old off-spinner has so far played two Test matches for the West Indies. He took three wickets against India on debut before claiming 10 wickets in his one-off Test against Afghanistan. During the recently concluded practise match in England, Cornwall took one wicket and scored two runs. Is this a sign that he is already feeling the pressure of expectation?

Based on Cornwall’s limited Test-match experience, I would suggest that we allow him time to settle as a member of the Test squad. I strongly believe Test cricket is a completely different level of the game and playing against England will not be a walk in the park as they are at home and hungry for a win.

Chris Gayle Opting out of CPL – A Surprise!

The 2020 Hero CPL will be different without the Universe Boss. As a journalist and a cricket fan, I will miss the energy that he brings to the games although I respect highly his personal decision not to play, especially in light of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Last Monday, Gayle communicated his decision to the St Lucia Zouks by email saying he would be unavailable.

In the email, Gayle pointed out that due to the lockdown he was unable to meet his family and his young child who are in St Kitts because he was in Jamaica. Gayle said he needed a break and wanted to spend time with his young family.

Who can fault the cricketer for this, especially considering the recent turn of events?

Gayle signed up with the Zouks in April after an acrimonious split with Jamaica Tallawahs. Based on the fallout with the Jamaica Tallawahs, I was expecting fireworks from the T20 superstar. I was expecting him to use his frustrations as fuel to score heavily this CPL.

Meanwhile, Gayle's abrupt decision will have disrupted the Zouks' plans for the players' draft, conducted virtually for the first time because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The Zouks signed Gayle as one of the marquee players outside the draft in the US $130,000 - 160,000-price bracket. In his absence, the franchise is likely to get the first pick at the draft now.

 Mediation should have been the TTFA's first choice

 Having taken Mediation Studies at the post-graduate level, I believe mediation is a viable option for settling the dispute between FIFA and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).

Frankly, I am surprised that it was not utilized earlier. It is cheaper than heading to the courts, especially based on the reported financial situation of the William-Wallace administration finds itself in.

FIFA dissolved the Wallace-led executive on March 17, 2020, less than four months after the latter had been on the job. They were replaced by a normalisation committee led by local businessman Robert Hadad. The committee has been mandated to oversee the affairs of local football and reducing the TTFA’s crippling $50 million debt.

Mediation, though informal and flexible, could play a big part in shaping the outcome of the dispute. In the case of the TTFA, they would be presented with a chance to influence the outcome of the process while getting a listening ear from FIFA.

In addition, at the heart of mediation is the preservation of the long-term relationship between the parties. Should the TTFA have gone this route earlier things may not have been as messy as it is presently.

Congratulations! Well-deserved Liverpool

How can one be upset when a team wins a major title after 30 years of disappointment and frustration?

How can one question a team that has dropped only seven points in 31 matches so far this season? How can one not celebrate a team that has claimed a title with seven games to spare?

Hearty congratulations to the Reds, who might have experienced some anxiety because of the uncertainty of completing the season because of COVID 19. Credit must go the manager Jurgen Klopp, who took over from Brendan Rodgers in 2015 when the team was 10th in the league table. Though it has taken him five years to win English football's biggest prize, Klopp's impact on Liverpool was immediate. "We have to change from doubters to believers,” were his striking words during the press conference where he was introduced as the club’s new manager.

Overall, Liverpool has been a consistent group and as Klopp said, “They are confident because we won, but they are humble. If they stay humble, we have a good chance to be successful.” Congratulations boys!

 

 

 

 

 

The elegant twin towers that decorate the POS horizon are both the same height.  If one is looking at them from the west one looks taller than the other; to the observer from the east one also looks taller than the other except that if both persons compare notes there will be an argument as to which tower is taller. It is a matter of perspective.

The issue arises when perspectives are being peddled as facts and more so when there is an attempt to use these “FACTS” to reshape an individual’s character.

Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response that counts.

Leadership is about being humble enough to admit your mistake.

When a story broke on Sportsmax that the salary signed off on Terry Fenwick’s contract is not what we agreed on.  My initial thoughts were that Terry unilaterally changed the terms of his contract.  In an attempt to get clarity on the situation, an easy solution was put forward; throw Terry under the bus.

Mistakes can be made, but to throw someone under the bus is deliberate and does not come naturally to me.

Further discussions revealed, for the first time to me at least, the details of the negotiations in finalizing the contract.  My understanding then and still is that the terms in the contract that came under scrutiny were indeed part of the final settlement but the MISTAKE was that they should not have been reflected in the final TTFA contract.  I admitted then that a mistake was made and that it would be corrected.

  Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response that counts.

 Leadership is about being humble enough to admit your mistake.

Even with this explanation, the matter refused to die and the narrative changed to one that said, the President unilaterally changed the terms of the contract and this narrative was given more life when a member of my own team endorsed it.

The facts are as follows:

  • I played absolutely no role in the negotiation of Fenwick’s contract. This negotiation was left entirely in the hands of the Technical Committee
  • Two emails were sent to me by the GS on Tuesday, December 17th, while I was in Qatar. The Subject: Adjusted terms and conditions.

 In one email the GS indicated that there was agreement on the final terms of the contract.   The attachment in the email indicated a salary of USD 20,000.

 

The second email forwarded was from Peter Miller to Keith Lookloy.  Details of the second email are as follows;

 

Dear Keith,

After much discussions, a revised position has been arrived at which is attached for your information prior to our discussions on Thursday. Please feel free to give feedback in order to arrive at a firm position given the urgency of the matter.

Kind regards.  

The attachment in this email indicated a salary of USD 20,000.

 

  • I assumed that the final terms would have been sent by the negotiating team to the attorney to prepare the contract.
  • When the contract came back to me and was handed over by my General secretary for signing there were no red flags.
  • I signed the contract believing that the terms therein were agreed on with my negotiating team.

Questions:

 Were the terms agreed on at the end of the negotiations and sent to the attorney for the preparation of the contract altered?  If the answer is yes then the action could not be ascribed to me, since I played absolutely no part in the process but just signed off on the product.

If the answer is no; Is it that clear directions were not given to the attorney as to what should have been put into the contract?

How could it then be concluded and supported by persons who are aware of the facts that the President changed the terms of Terry Fenwick’s contract?

General Secretary

I move to the other issue and that is the Ramesh Ramdhan’s contract.  As one Senior Counsel puts it; “from reviewing the TTFA constitution it seems as though the General Secretary is the sole responsibility of the President.  The discussion with the Board is merely a courtesy”

Even without this interpretation, I acted based on my own interpretation of the constitution, along with common sense and logic.  My condemnation in this matter was based merely on the persons who were speaking the loudest and fuelled by their own agenda.

Nowhere in the constitution speaks to the Board drawing up the terms and conditions of the GS.  The Board role is to appoint or dismiss the GS on the proposal of the President.  Ramdhan was proposed to the Board and the Board agreed to his appointment.  A suggestion was made by a Board member that the length of the contract be one year, and I say a suggestion because the Board is not empowered to draw up the terms of the GS contract.  If this power is ascribed to the Board it means that all the other terms of the contract should have been drawn up by the Board and not just the length of the contract.

Just to draw on a bit of logic, if in my discussions with Mr Ramdhan, he refused a one-year contract, is it that I had to search until I find someone who agreed with the proposed one year.  

 Even with that said, the reason for giving the General Secretary a two-year contract was not shrouded in any conspiracy and is in fact more than reasonable. Factors such as the two years contract agreed on for the National Senior team staff; the role the GS had to play in the role out of the activities of the FA, and average term given to previous secretaries were all taken into consideration. 

As one of the framers of the constitution said in a recent article, once the decision was made and taken back to the Board, the Board had to accept. This position is consistent with the Senior Counsel who indicated it’s a matter of courtesy. Unfortunately, the courtesy to the Board was curtailed by the Covid19 shutdown.  Just to note the GS has never been paid. 

Did the President preparation of General Secretary’s contract, based on the interpretation of the constitution unilaterally change the terms of the General Secretary contract?

Unfortunately, the two acts above were responsible for my team making a statement that they have lost confidence in me. Even more unfortunate this position was made public before I was given the chance to be heard. The team has since met and recommitted to moving forward.

  Peter Miller

As part of the United TTFA, I was initially asked to consider leading the group but refused to commit. The major reason given for my noncommittal was the financial state of the TTFA.  I reasoned that the only way that I am committing is if there is a plan to deal with the debt.  During this period, my deceased friend, Raymond Timkee shared with me a very impressive commercial package designed for the TTFA, that was negotiated on his behalf, and which would be implemented if he was elected president. In that package was a plan to deal with the historic debt of the FA, and of course, that piqued my interest.  I was also introduced to the name, Peter Miller.

 Based on Mr Timkee’s failing health he eventually asked me to go forward with the plan. The package was presented to the other members United TTFA and they were all impressed.

I gave my word to Peter Miller that if I was elected president, I will honour the agreement that he had with Timkee. The truth is Peter Miller’s package/presentation was responsible for us winning the elections, our campaign was based on its content and we were heavily dependent on its successful rolling out after November 24th.

Post-November 24th, Peter Miller indicated that he needed an agreement before he moves forward to firm up the pre-election letters of intent. This was not an unreasonable request; however, it presented a dilemma for me to find a way to transition the un-official arrangement with the United TTFA to the TTFA.  Settling this quickly was made even more urgent since by then, we realised that the situation that we met in the FA was even more dire than we expected and that we had to depend on Miller to deliver.

The GS and I tried to find a way to navigate the situation, but the options were few.  The only workable decision open to us at that time was the one I took and that is a decision to sign an agreement with Miller.

I took this decision as leader of the team and decided not to burden anyone else with it.

Was there an inherent risk? Yes, but there are times when you have little choice.

Agreement

  • Miller position was that no changes be made to the original agreement with Raymond Timkee, however, my suggestion to Miller was that the flat rates quoted as a monthly salary would have to be reflected as a percentage of what was delivered and that there were no issues if instead of lumpsum payments the disbursement was done monthly.

It did not matter to me what the percentage was because the numbers were already agreed on with Raymond and I gave my word before the elections that I will honour the agreement.  In addition, my own philosophy is that we had nothing so whatever came in would be more than we had.

  • Via email, Miller asked if any part of FIFA funding could be used for marketing. The GS responded via mail that FIFA Forward funding cannot be used for in any way. (emails available)

The Plan

  • To sign a letter of intent since any binding contract of this nature has to be approved by the Board. The intent, of course, was to make sure that Miller remained on board and what we campaigned and depended on could still be delivered.
  • Payment to Miller would come from what he brings to the table so there is no direct risk to the TTFA
  • We get the Board to agree in principle that we have to outsource marketing. The Board did agree.
  • The roll-out of the sponsorship was carded for June. Once the successful roll-out commenced, a recommendation would have been taken to the Board to officially contract Miller as the marketing person.

Conclusion

  • Since entering office, no action taken by me brought any personal benefits to me, my intentions were that TTFA would always be the beneficiary.
  • A major part of our relationship with Miller was the proposed project to finally eliminate the historic debt of the FA. Everyone would agree that this has to be addressed.
  • A headline in Wired868 that said I lied, was unfortunate. When asked if Peter Miller had a contract with the TTFA, in an attempt to manage an ongoing situation, I answered no. Well, technically the answer was correct, but I do not want to hide behind any technicality and in retrospect, the answer could have been… I would respond to the question at a later date.

 

  Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response that counts.

 Leadership is about being humble enough to admit your mistake

Of major importance is that even though these matters may have originated inhouse, there is a very important reason why they are playing out like this in the public domain. In the coming weeks, the picture would be made much clearer.

Thank you.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has reached out to lawyers representing FIFA requesting mediation in their dispute over the appointment of a normalization committee in March, Sportsmax.TV sources indicate.

They now await a response from FIFA’s lawyers, Messrs M.Hamel-Smith and Co. indicating whether they will agree to the request.

The William Wallace-led executive was dissolved by FIFA in March and a normalization committee appointed just four months after the TTFA Annual General Meeting in November 2019. FIFA cited poor financial management and the FA’s massive debt as reasons for the appointment of the committee to oversee the association’s affairs.

William Wallace retained the services of Dr Emir Crowne and Matthew Gayle instructing them to take the matter to Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). However, in late May the New City Chambers attorneys were instructed to withdraw the appeal before CAS fearing ‘institutional bias’.

Subsequently, the matter was taken to the Trinidad and Tobago High Court of Justice.

Since then, Wallace has come under increased pressure from his board following revelations relating to three contracts signed with Avec Sports, national coach Terry Fenwick and Ramesh Ramdhan. All three contracts were reportedly signed without the required agreement from board members.

These revelations, first publicized on the the Sportsmax Zone, have turned the board members against the beleaguered president.-S

At the time of publishing, it has been 60 programme hours since the SportsMax Zone asked questions of the duly elected President of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association, TTFA, William Wallace.

Just about two weeks after they had retained the services of a noted Trinidadian law firm for their high court battle with the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association, FIFA has fired new lawyers.

In late May, attorneys from the Law Offices of Dr Claude H. Denbow S.C. filed papers in the Trinidad and Tobago High Court of Justice stating that they were representing FIFA in their dispute against William Wallace, whose executive they dissolved in March 2020.

 However, on Tuesday, June 9, a notice of change of attorney over the signature of Dr Emilio Garcia was filed stating that Messrs M. Hamel-Smith and Co. will now be representing FIFA effectively replacing the Law Offices of Dr Claude H. Benbow S.C.

Cherie Gopie was the filing attorney.

Lawyers representing Wallace are seeking a permanent injunction preventing 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 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.

 

Lawyers representing William Wallace and the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) were today granted permission to serve documents o FIFA pertaining to their case against them to be heard in the Trinidad and Tobago High Court.

Citing concern over the perception of bias in favour of FIFA, William Wallace and his ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) have withdrawn their appeal currently before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Describing the situation as a fight against injustice, Wallace said they will now take the dispute to the Trinidad and Tobago High Court.

Lawyers representing the ousted executive filed their notice of withdrawal to CAS on Monday.

Wallace was seeking CAS to overturn a decision by FIFA to appoint a normalization committee to oversee the running of the association until new elections can be held.

Wallace and his executive were constitutionally elected in November 2019, but FIFA, citing the lack of proper financial controls within the heavily indebted association, took the decision to intervene four months after the elections were held.

This, despite the fact that the bulk of the debt was accumulated under the previous administration led by David John-Williams.

However, in light of recent developments at CAS, the ousted executive feel they would be unable to get a fair shake before CAS.

“Indeed, the CAS cannot be said to be a free, fair and impartial forum if sporting bodies like the Respondent, with deep pockets and even deeper agendas, can unilaterally seek to impose the CAS as a forum for the resolution of disputes while simultaneously – and quite unconscionably – refusing to pay its share of the arbitration costs. Arbitration costs which are themselves disproportionately high to the ordinary litigant,” the lawyers said.

“In sum, the CAS has demonstrated that it not a proper forum for the adjudication of this matter. It has demonstrated apparent institutional bias in the familiarity and latitude shown to the Respondent.

Our clients have therefore instructed us to withdraw the appeal with immediate effect.”

In early May, the lawyers wrote to CAS expressing concerns over hiked costs - US$41,000 - that Wallace and his executive were being compelled to pay in advance of the tribunal hearing while at the same time declaring that FIFA will not pay arbitration costs in advance in matters such as these.

The costs were especially high, considering that the hearing would have likely taken place by video conference thus eliminating usual travel costs of the panel and the CAS’ counsel.

“To that end, we are genuinely unsure how the CAS facilitates access to justice with such extravagant fees. The Appellants are not from the developed world, nor are they as well-financed as the Respondent,” Dr Emir Crowne wrote to CAS.

The lawyers also argued that the matter was made even more alarming since the tribunal accepted without question FIFA’s submission that they wanted the matter heard by three arbitrators, thus tripling the associated costs.

“On its face, therefore, the CAS appears to be a willing participant in the Respondent’s gamesmanship, especially if the CAS had institutional knowledge that the Respondent – an entity with immeasurable financial resources – would not be advancing their share of the arbitration costs,” the lawyers said.

CAS’ subsequent response further rankled the lawyers while cementing their fears that they would not be able to have a fair hearing.

“Your response further solidified our clients’ concerns about the apparent institutional bias of the CAS,” said the lawyers in their letter to CAS on Monday.

They made reference to correspondence from CAS that said, “The Respondent is, however, invited to inform the CAS Court Office by 11 May 2020 whether it intends to pay its share of the advance of costs in this specific procedure. In case the Respondent refuses to pay such share, Article R64.2 of the Code shall apply and the CAS Finance Director's letter dated April 30, 2020, will be fully confirmed.”

FIFA, they said, then promptly informed the CAS on May 11, 2020, that it “will not pay its share of the advance of costs in this specific procedure.”

“If the CAS had genuinely rejected our clients’ concern of apparent institutional bias, it is unclear why the CAS would – subsequent to our letter – extend such an invitation to the Respondent at all.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lawyers representing the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA)  led by William Wallace have written to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) expressing concern over what they have described as a “number of irregularities which have arisen, irregularities that have caused their clients to believe their right to a fair hearing has been impugned.”

Wallace and his executive have taken FIFA to CAS over the latter’s decision to appoint a normalization committee to oversee the running of the TTFA, which in effect sidelined the Wallace-led executive that was constitutionally elected in November 2009.

Among the concerns to which the lawyers - Dr Emir Crowne and Matthew Gayle - refer arose from correspondence from CAS in which it mentioned hiked costs Wallace and his executive are being compelled to pay in advance of the tribunal hearing while at the same time declaring that FIFA will not pay arbitration costs in advance in matters such as these.

The costs mentioned amount to 40,000 Swiss Francs or approximately US$41,000, which the Wallace-led executive, the Appellants, must pay in full. The lawyers said that they are unsure how CAS facilitates access to justice with such extravagant fees.

According to the correspondence obtained by Sportsmax.TV, CAS indicated that “as a general rule, FIFA does not pay any arbitration costs in advance when it acts as a Respondent in a procedure before CAS, which is admissible to CAS pursuant to Article R64.2 of the Code. This means that, according to the same provision of the Code, the Appellant has to pay the entirety of the advance of costs.”

In response, Dr Emir Crowne penned a letter to CAS on Thursday, May 7, arguing that the costs are unfair “…particularly since the hearing would have likely taken place by video conference and the usual travel costs of the panel and the CAS’ counsel would have been eliminated.

“To that end, we are genuinely unsure how the CAS facilitates access to justice with such extravagant fees. The Appellants are not from the developed world, nor are they as well-financed as the Respondent.”

The lawyers also argue that the matter is made even more alarming since the tribunal accepted without question FIFA’s submission that they wanted the matter heard by three arbitrators, thus tripling the associated costs.

“On its face, therefore, the CAS appears to be a willing participant in the Respondent’s gamesmanship, especially if the CAS had institutional knowledge that the Respondent – an entity with immeasurable financial resources – would not be advancing their share of the arbitration costs,” the lawyers said.

“This is at least an unacceptable display of apparent institutional bias.”

In light of the development, the lawyers revealed that FIFA subsequently issued a letter to the CAS indicating that they (CAS) must suspend FIFA’s response to the Appellants until the Appellants pay the full costs. CAS, they said, has agreed that FIFA should be able to benefit from the extension.

“As it stands, there are very real doubts that the CAS remains an appropriate and fair forum for the resolution of this dispute,” the lawyers concluded.

 

 

 

 

First Citizens Bank in Trinidad and Tobago has until Monday, April 27, to say whether anyone has attempted to gain control of the accounts of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA). Should they fail to do so they will be brought before the High Courts of the twin-island republic.

Amidst money worries and their ongoing dispute with FIFA, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association now has to contend with a demand from former coach Russell Latapy who says the TTFA has owed him money for years and he needs to be paid immediately.

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