The battle lines drawn between the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) executive and the world governing body FIFA, are likely to affect Barbados and other Caribbean territories, says senior football administrator Adrian Donovan.
Yesterday, the united TTFA which includes four executive members with the main personnel being ousted president William Wallace along with Keith Loy, a former right-hand man of the now disgraced former FIFA vice-president Austin ‘Jack’ Warner, formally took the twin-island republic’s fight to FIFA.
The dismissed executive members of the TTFA raised sufficient funds to lodge an appeal against FIFA. This was reportedly filed yesterday before the Court of Arbitration.
The appeal was filed the same day FIFA also moved swiftly and sought an indictment through the United States District Court in Brooklyn against 16 individuals including Warner for allegedly taking bribes to vote for the World Cup to be held in Qatar.
Some of these individuals who have taken the fight to FIFA are allegedly former employees of both CONCACAF and FIFA, facilitated by Warner, once the most powerful man in regional football.
This situation has become so dire that FIFA wasted no time and in a matter of days put up on their website the name of the president who is chairman of the TTFA normalisation committee Robert Hadad. FIFA moved swiftly before the appeal was even lodged to let the world know who was in charge of the TTFA at present.
Donovan noted that this particular football episode could be deemed “As the World Turns”. But whatever the outcome, he said, the Caribbean football community could expect to feel some repercussions.
“The names particularly of Jack Warner and Jeffrey Webb who were highly looked upon by many Caribbean football leaders continue to drag and tarnish fellow member associations throughout the region. The scars from this battle will surely be felt in every Caribbean island, make no bones about that.”
“Reputation and confidence which one had hoped would have been on the mend by new appointees of both CFU (Caribbean Football Union) and CONCACAF, they will again have their hands full to convince sponsors and governments that all in regional football is well,” Donovan added.
However, he explained that with the COVID-19 crisis currently facing the world, he expected the case to be put on pause. He also stated that the battle had intensified to such an extent that the football public in Trinidad was expressing concern about the damage this could do to the young footballers of the country.
“This move by FIFA seemed to have surprised many football pundits and especially those who were ousted by the world governing body. It would appear that this matter has some time to go and with the present COVID-19 virus affecting everybody worldwide, the hearing of this case will be put on the backburner for the time being,” he said.
With Hadad at the helm of the normalisation committee, Donovan stated it would be interesting to see if he got the cooperation of the ousted TTFA members.
“Mr Hadad who was put to oversee this normalisation committee has come into the office at the time when again all attention is centred around this dangerous pandemic. It would be interesting to see if or when he would be given the keys of the TTFA office and if he would get the cooperation from those who were put out to pasture.
“He has been placed in a very peculiar situation as he could only hold meetings via zoom for the conference, etcetera, and these are time-consuming episodes. In the meantime, the biggest headache of all will be that of the general secretary (Ramesh Ramdhan) to pay the salary of staff for the past months which is past due,” he said.
He added: “With no money at hand, all eyes will be on Hadad whose first and foremost action will have to seek funding from FIFA to cover this cost. So while the TTFA is taking FIFA to court on one hand, on the other hand, they will be asking the same FIFA to cover the cost for staff who are out of pocket.”
What is even more interesting, Donovan said, was that former members of staff who had lodged wrongful dismissal cases against the TTFA were also awaiting their money.