What can be referred to as a dramatic reversal of an already controversial decision, the embattled Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has now withdrawn its appeal to the Court of Arbitration based in Switzerland.
The governing body for football in the twin-island republic has argued it was unjustly treated by FIFA since the set-up of the normalisation committee.
Veteran sports administrator Adrian Donovan who has been following the TTFA from day one with an eagle eye, described this latest development as mindboggling.
He said this decision must be taken in its true context where the lack of funding may have been the principal reason for this sudden change of heart.
The TTFA were given a deadline of May 20th to fulfill their financial obligations to start the case. It was expected that the fee would include payment of the three arbitrators and any additional associated cost by the aforementioned date.
In an effort to raise money, the TTFA set up a fund in the country, asking for the generosity of the public but was unsuccessful in acquiring the amount they expected to raise.
“Taking all that has happened into consideration and then the TTFA is claiming that they do not believe they would have gotten a fair hearing from the court of arbitration because of the recent request that they were denied by the CAS. They had suggested one arbitrator and the court decided for three. They had also suggested that the cost be shared between them and FIFA and they were also denied that. So they have now turned to the local judiciary which is more problems,” he said.
According to Donovan, this problematic situation can continue all the way up to September when 211 association members of FIFA will gather for their annual congress in Ethiopia.
The top administrator noted that if this matter was not settled in court by September, the members of FIFA would have to decide the fate of TTFA.
Two days ago an injunction was served by the TTFA which is requesting the normalisation committee to be deemed null and void. This means the normalisation committee cannot go on as normal with its daily operations of football in Trinidad.
This in essence, Donovan explained, would put TTFA employees, some of whom have not been paid since last year December, in a quandary.
“Some of these unpaid employees had already written a letter to the footballing authority for payment stating they have their financial obligations with their family.
“With this in mind, this injunction now being imposed and which is expected to be heard within the next 48 hours, it means that if the FIFA money is on the way which they are due, it suggests now that with the accounts already frozen, that any money coming in now will have to be put on hold because of this injunction.
“As it is now, for the next couple of days the continuation of this embattled disagreement between these two bodies would continue to raise its huge head. But as it is now, the only people suffering are the employees, coaches and contracted players who have logged a legal contest in the court or who are now contemplating going that route, “ Donovan said.
As to whether the injunction filed is one that was well thought out, Donovan stated he was not sure because there seemed to be a lot of egos and pride on display. But he said it FIFA got its way, suspension of the TTFA might be implemented. On the other hand, if the TTFA wins the case, then Donovan questioned who would pay the TT $70 million debt considering right now TTFA was paying zero.