MERE HOURS after TT Football Association (TTFA) legal representative, Matthew Gayle, issued a pre-action protocol letter to First Citizens’ general manager, Kinols Forde, declaring former president William Wallace and his executive members remain sole signatories of the fraternity’s bank accounts, a statement issued by FIFA’s secretary general, Fatma Samoura on Friday evening, debunked these claims.
According to Samoura, since the appointment of a normalisation committee by FIFA on March 17 after the world’s governing body found that extremely low overall financial management methods, combined with a massive debt, resulted in the TTFA facing a very real risk of insolvency and illiquidity, Robert Hadad, chairman of the committee, is “the only legitimate leadership of the TTFA, recognised by the FIFA and Concacaf.”
FIFA’s response on Friday came after receipt of a letter issued by Wallace one day prior, to Minister of National Security, Stuart Young, alleging that he (Wallace) and other former executive members – Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph Warrick and Joseph Sam Phillip – continue to be members of the TTFA executive committee, even after a decision by FIFA disbanded the board on March 17.
The sport’s governing body issued a swift reply sternly denying Wallace’s claims that the normalisation committee had no legal or other standing in TT.
Samoura’s letter to Hadad further stated, “On March 17 2020, the Bureau of the FIFA Council decided, in accordance to article 8 paragraph 2 of the FIFA Statutes, to appoint a normalisation committee at the TTFA. In this respect, we want to highlight that the only legitimate leadership of the TTFA…is the one led by Mr. Robert Hadad.”
“Having said this, any type of discussion regarding the use of the Home of Football or any other football-related topic should be handled with Hadad.”
Gayle’s letter to Forde, dated April 17, asserts that “person or persons may have attempted and/or be in the process of attempting to change the named signatories on the accounts held by the TTFA and First Citizens Bank.”
It also stated Wallace’s position as a signatory remains as is and, “person/s who purport to be acting in response to a directive from outside of TT purportedly given in or around March 2020 have no standing whatsoever in respect of the TTFA.”
Gayle’s letter also stated that no unauthorised body (referring to normalisation committee), “with no legal standing in TT could usurp the due authority of the TTFA’s board of directors and/or induce the bank the breach its contract with the TTFA.”
If, according to Gayle, the bank did in fact provide any confidential information to, or acted to make any changes in respect to TTFA’s accounts, the football fraternity’s legal team, which also consists of Dr. Emir Crowne, will, “without delay approach the High Court for urgent assistance in preventing and/or stopping any breach and/or unlawful interference.”
Additionally, TTFA’s attorney assured that his letter to the bank was sent in compliance with the relevant pre-action protocols as prescribed by the Chief Justice pursuant to Part 4 of the Civil Proceedings Rules 1998.
It concluded, “No further notice or warning shall be issued. I would be grateful if you would be kind enough to confirm the bank’s position by no later than 12 (noon) on Monday 20 April 2020.”
In response to the issues highlighted by Gayle to the bank and FIFA’s authorisation letter on Friday, Hadad questioned the tactics by the former executive but admitted that everyone has a right to voice their concerns in a professional manner.
Since their removal from the helm of local football, the sacked quartet filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) saying the move was fueled by unclear moves and done without legal authority.
Hadad explained, “FIFA’s letter is in response to them, the former executive, still sending out letters with the TTFA letterhead. At the end of the day, they’re not authorised and legally, FIFA has us (normalisation committee) there. I’m the man in charge and the bank would have to make a decision from its legal department.”
The newly-appointed football chief believes TT football is suffering and needs to be fixed. He also confirmed that he did in fact make contact with the bank to attain feedback on TTFA’s accounts.
“I sent a request to First Citizens to get a legal opinion from them. So I’m waiting on (First Citizens) to decide how we go from here and the legal procedure to have the changes made. (The former executive) have their hearing with CAS, so let CAS be the judge of that. In the meantime, people have salaries and bills to be paid and football to run,” Hadad continued.
“I would like to just get down to the business of football. If CAS wants to rule in their favour, alright, we’ll deal with that then. As it stands now, the letter from FIFA says everything. Hopefully they will follow what they read in that letter,” he closed.