By Veersen Bhoolai,
October 27, 2020
Chief Justice Ivor Archie, last week, brought to a halt to the many twists and turns between FIFA and
the United TTFA.
In a nutshell Archie overturned the decision by Chief Justice Golbin who had concluded that FIFA’s
normalisation of the TTFA was “improper” and “illegal.”
Chief Justice Archie pointed out to the agreement that the TTFA had with FIFA and made it clear that it should be heard through the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). This had been the TTFA’s original plan until forced to pay costs for both themselves and FIFA forced them to revert to the TT courts.
Archie made it clear that CAS allows for those suing FIFA to bear the costs for the governing body prior to the trial due to the many law suits they have to contend with. As Archie put it, the TTFA simply had to abide by the rules that govern FIFA, an organisation they have been a part of for decades.
At no point did Archie say that FIFA was right to normalise the local body because FIFA’s contention was the matter should not be contested in the local arena to which Archie agreed.
Such has been the desperation for the country to once again join the international footballing fraternity and to access FIFA’s funds that many have simply ignored that (i) How the hell is it anybody’s problem if FIFA has numerous law suits against them. If a businessman is sued by a low wage employee, should the employee bear the cost of the plaintiff because he usually has numerous matters against him? This is an obvious case of the deck being stacked in FIFA’s favour and tough luck for minnows that are financially strapped. (ii) The United TTFA are simply victims for having the audacity to want to find out how FIFA funds were spent by the previous President.
With no international support and even their own Prime Minister ridiculing them, the United TTFA was a sinking ship.
Well FIFA has won. And now what?
Hopefully, the new body will have a plan, perhaps FIFA will even allow the local stake holders to elect a new governing body.
However, the message has been sent loud and clear, if you are an ally of the FIFA executive, you will be protected. Minnows should know their place and if you don’t, you had better have a decent bank balance to approach CAS.
Perhaps the various governments past and present should also shoulder a fair share of the blame for this shambolic mess that is TT Football. When the Jack Warner regime was less than transparent for twenty odd years, what did they do? When a local judge in a 2010 verdict for the 2006 Soca Warriors vs the TTFA, referred to the FA’s accounts as “Science Fiction,” where were they? When ex President, John David Williams refused to provide the tender process for the Home of Football despite repeated requests, “where were they?”
What is the point of having a Fraud Squad if they don’t investigate fraud?
CNC3’s Mark Bassant did what seemed to be an exhaustive investigative report on Williams and Panama account. The Press has now informed us that that Fraud Squad is involved. Why did it take decades for a reporter like Bassant to come along?
If these actions had been taken decades ago, how much money could taxpayers have been saved. Perhaps if the TTFA had directed the matter to the local authorities, they would have been less susceptible to a backlash. The USA government seems a bit more proactive in this area and their local Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launched an investigation some years ago, leading to multiple arrests in 2015, including ex CONCACAF President, Chuck Blazer and ex FIFA VP, Jeffery Webb.
Any well-functioning local executive can use this knowledge in the future. In the meantime, the saga is over. FIFA has won. Yet another victory for corruption and TT football must slowly force itself to emerge from this overwhelming mess.
What is clearly evident is that the Caribbean Football Union does not support its own. The pieces of silver they get from FIFA keeps them well in line.
In addition, FIFA seems to support fair play as long as those rules don’t inconvenience the executive. The organisation’s Head of Auditing and Compliance, Domenico Scala, resigned in 2016 after the executive changed laws making it possible to them to appoint and fire those in charge of its committees. The normalising of the United TTFA had more to do with nepotism than responsible administration and the fact that those taking FIFA to task in the CAS must pay the organisation’s fees up front is another shameful obstacle to justice.
The local fans must be shaking their heads in terms of any potential success next year in the Gold Cup and WC qualifications.
What business entity would want to step forward and be part of a mess like this.
Ok Normalisation Committee, let’s see what you can do.