STORY by NEVILLE FERGUSON
Is the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association still being punished because of the tsunami Jack Warner caused to descend on FIFA, toppling its big brass and virtually bringing the once-powerful organization to its knees?
This is a question many are asking ever since the FIFA declared its intention to appoint a Normalisation Committee to run the affairs of the TTFA for a period not to exceed the maximum of two years.
For connoisseurs in the know, this decision is fraught with bias and prejudice; and the level of injustice on display raises questions as to whether this world body could ever be trusted to do the right thing even when the whole world is watching!
Over the past decade, the integrity of the leadership of this Zurich-based world organization was shattered as exposé after exposé brought FIFA to its knees. After the dust was cleared and the allegations were allowed to run their course, the truth that evolved was the connivance and wickedness of the leaders of FIFA who believed that each possessed a monopoly to determine how world football is to be
Even potential leaders, heirs apparent and designated survivors who were earmarked for the Presidential throne saw their dreams transformed into nightmares for the wrong they sought to inflict on one who sought nothing but to advance the cause of the beautiful game we call football.
Now many are watching FIFA’s new machinations as yet another attempt to punish Trinidad and Tobago because it failed to successfully bring Jack Warner to his knees in utter humiliation.
The reason for this new attack, according to FIFA, is an attempt to restore governance and financial stability to an Association that competed in five FIFA World Cups in different divisions. The crowning glory was our appearance at the FIFA Men’s World Cup, Germany 2006.
The FIFA argued that this Association with a history of 112 years, one that hosted two FIFA World Cups in the junior categories, was characterized as having “extremely low overall financial management methods, combined with a massive debt”, which left the local body “facing a very real risk of insolvency and illiquidity”.
The punishment, according to FIFA’s justice, was the removal of the duly elected management team of three months; the appointment of a Normalisation Committee; and the appointment of a caretaker to overseer the day-to-day operations of the TTFA until the Normalisation Committee is selected and installed.
Justice and Fair Play are alien to FIFA
It is here that the FIFA showed its dirty feet and demonstrated to the global village that justice and fair play are alien to that organisation; and that regardless who sits at the helm, the FIFA is not afraid to run afoul and commit the most heinous offences in its aim to get what the FIFA wants.
The first thing that must be understood is that the current President of the T&TFA, William Wallace, who is being run out of office, won the TTFA elections on 24 November 2019 beating the then incumbent David John-Williams by a 26 – 20 victory
The truth is that the FIFA never supported William Wallace and the shock of his victory hit them hard because in their wildest imagination the FIFA never believed that their boy John-Williams could have been
FIFA pulled every trick out of the book to help David John-Williams
They heavily funded a home for football and ensured that the opening took place before the TTFA elections no doubt to tilt the votes in his favor.
But that was not enough. Attending the opening was FIFA’s President Gianni Infantino, CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani and FIFA Foundation CEO Youri Djorkaeff; the team from the FIFA was sending a clear message that John-Williams was their boy.
The rhetoric on the podium was clear as Infantino publicly thanked John-Williams whom he affably called David for “dreaming it all, for speaking it all, for believing in it, for fighting for it. And for making it happen.”
This was open politics, not politics of stealth as he pronounced, “I came to Trinidad and Tobago, and I was not believing to find somebody like [David] in Trinidad and Tobago. I have to say the truth. Because Trinidad and Tobago Football Association were more or less in the same state as FIFA at that time” a state he referred to as shambles.
And he continued “We found a Federation which was under the earth, TTFA; Trinidad and Tobago Football, very sadly, was in the headlines for other reasons than football, even though linked to football but today, we are here, and proud to be here, because today, Trinidad and Tobago is the capital of the world of
Never in Infantino’s wildest dreams or carefree imaginations did he think that after reigning such platitudes on David John-Williams, that the minions who were imbued with the power to vote in the next TTFA President would have gone against his wishes and vote in favor of the new kid on the block much to the chagrin of the FIFA; William Wallace was not the pawn that they could control.
Mischief was set afoot
And so mischief was set afoot; the door needed to be reopened for Infantino’s boy David John-Williams once again to ascend the throne together with his side-kick Selby Browne. So the only legitimate way was to railroad Wallace’s presidency, set up a Normalisation Committee and ban Wallace and every member of his team from ever contesting another TTFA election. What is mindboggling is that three months ago, the TTFA that was described as similar to FIFA, a TTFA that made this country the capital of the world of football, now became so saddled with debt that the FIFA has to invoke Article 8 Paragraph 2 of the FIFA Statutes to protect the organisation and development of football in this country and put corrective measures in place.
The financial situation to which the FIFA spoke was indebtedness close to 50 million dollars. But the question that Infantino and his boys must now answer is how come a Normalisation Committee was not set up when John-Williams was the President because there is no way that Wallace could have accrued such a debt in a paltry three months, the period of time he has held office as President. How come?
The T&TFA should not look to the Caribbean Football Union for any help since the vast majority of its members out of sheer envy will be silently happy over the position of T&TFA faces today. In addition, the President of CFU, Barbadian Randy Harris, is on the payroll of FIFA and CONCACAF and who pays the football Piper call the tune – no CFU support for the T&TFA. That, however, should not discourage the T&TFA in their fight for justice and respect.
Isn’t the bias against Wallace too overtly brazen?
Isn’t the FIFA’s perception that it is a law unto itself clearly the cloud that has resulted in the myopicism that now causes it to steer down an authoritarian road to bring the institute into disrepute once again?
Somebody with their lurid imagination prefaced the name of Jack Warner as the bedrock for the success of the Wallace team and Infantino probably saw the opportunity to drink tea for Blatter’s fever, but Wallace has decided and openly declared that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will have the last say.
FIFA has underestimated the resolve of Wallace and underestimated the pride of the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Infantino has appropriated a grandiose perception of himself that does not exist. The people of this country prefer to see the beautiful game die in this country than to allow Massa Day to ever
Justice is all that Trinidad and Tobago Football Association demands and as long as John-Williams or his minion’s railroad the wishes of the football fraternity, justice will never prevail and FIFA will once again begin its slow march towards
In fighting Covid-19, the T&TFA will surely be fighting FIFA.