By Trinidad and Tobago Guardian,
William Wallace, the ousted president of the T&T Football Association has said that recent developments with FIFA president Gianni Infantino in Switzerland is confirmation that the appointment of a Normalisation Committee to govern T&T football had nothing to do with fixing the sport in the twin-island Republic, but rather, keeping certain people in power who it feels will support them in the end.
on Thursday, a report from Switzerland stated that criminal proceedings against Infantino had been launched and a special prosecutor was appointed this month to investigate dealings between Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber and the head of world football. According to the report “Mr Lauber offered to resign last week after a court concluded he covered up a meeting with Mr Infantino and lied to supervisors while his office probed corruption surrounding FIFA.”
Wallace who has been leading his team’s (United TTFA) challenge against the FIFA after it decided to appoint a normalisation committee in March, was in a confident mood after Wednesday’s first court proceedings at the High Court in Port-of-Spain that ended with an adjournment until August 13.
Speaking to Guardian Media Sports on Thursday Wallace said: “When we look at what’s happening with the FIFA president Infantino, and we have been following this story for quite some time, and you look at what’s happening in T&T, you realise that these are the persons who are responsible for sending persons to T&T because they feel that we have a problem that needs fixing, and the very organisation, the very persons who are making those decisions, are persons who have come under serious questions.”
“This, for me, and I am sure that before long, other things would emerge to show that this has nothing to do with fixing T&T football, but was purely a political act of keeping certain people in power who you think would support you at the end of the day.”
Wallace’s team of Joseph Sam Phillip, Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and himself, was replaced by a normalisation committee that comprised chairman Robert Hadad, Attorney Judy Daniel and former banker Nigel Romano, on March 27. The group had assumed office following the TTFA annual general meeting (AGM) on November 24.
However, their attempt to achieve justice through the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland was withdrawn by Wallace and his legal team on May 18, sighting institutional bias and moved their challenge to the high court in T&T, asking the court to sit on the matter. However, FIFA counted by saying that the T&T court has no jurisdiction and the matter should be decided by CAS.
FIFA is contending that CAS is the appropriate court, as stated in their Statutes and the TTFA constitution. However, TTFA believes that they will be given a fair trial at the T&T court, although they are aware that suspensions could be forthcoming for their actions. Despite the legal battle, Wallace still did not rule out mediation, saying: “We have always asked for mediation, and it’s not out the window yet because mediation can take place at any time. Yes, we had the first part of the case starting on Wednesday, but that does not mean that is the end of mediation. So even if this goes to trial and we hope that it does and T&T justice system rules in our favour, even if they do, there is still an opportunity for mediation.”
Main photo: William Wallace – Former TTFA president