FIFA Normalisation Committee takes over TTFA

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A Normalisation Committee is set to take over the administration of football in Trinidad and Tobago for a period of maximum two years.

This new development which was widely expected, took place Tuesday, mere weeks after a visit by a FIFA/CONCACAF team, on a fact-finding mission to the T&T Football Association, found an extremely low overall financial situation that placed the William Wallace-led TTFA on the periphery of insolvency.

On Tuesday, a release from the world governing body for football- FIFA on its website stated that: “The Bureau of the FIFA Council has today (Tuesday) decided to appoint a normalisation committee for the T&T Football Association in accordance with articles 8, par 2 of the FIFA Statutes.

Article 8.2 of the FIFA Statutes reads: “Executive bodies of member associations may under exceptional circumstances be removed from office by the Council in consultation with the relevant confederation and replaced by a normalisation committee for a specific period.”

The decision follows the recent FIFA/CONCACAF fact-finding mission to T&T to assess, together with an independent auditor, the financial situation of the TTFA. The mission found that extremely low financial management methods, combined with massive debt, have resulted in the TTFA facing a very real risk of insolvency and illiquidity.”

It added: “Such a situation is putting at risk the organization and the development of football in the country, and corrective measures need to be applied urgently.”

Ironically, the committee comes at a time when the Wallace-led football executive had won over the public’s trust from the David John-Williams led administration based on transparency and accountability, and the ability to raise funding to treat with the association’s burdening debt, which it is understood, to be in the region of $50 million, Wallace said recently at a press conference at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain on March 4.

Only last week Ramesh Ramdhan, the T&T football association’s general secretary, told Guardian Media Sports that the FIFA/CONCACAF team had expressed satisfaction with the plans and structures his association had put in place, as well as their plans to treat with the financial affairs, and they (FIFA) were willing to pump money to assist the embattled football association.

The normalisation committee is expected to:

  • Run the TTFA’s daily affairs
  • To establish a debt repayment plan that is implemented by the TTFA
  • To review and amend the TTFA Statutes and other regulations where necessary and to ensure their compliance with the FIFA Statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress
  • To organize and to conduct elections of a new TTFA Executive Committee for a four-year mandate.

This is the first time the FIFA normalisation committee has had to take over the governance of T&T football, which is 112 years old, and a FIFA member for the last 76 years, and it comes amidst rising concerns of questionable contracts, promises of many local and international sponsors that are still to materialize, and promises of transparency and accountability being compromised by members of the Board of Directors complaining of being left out of the decision-making process since the new executive took over just over three months ago.

According to the release: “The normalisation committee will be composed of an adequate number of members to be identified by the FIFA administration, in consultation with CONCACAF. In line with the FIFA Governance Regulations, all members of the normalisation committee will be subject to an eligibility check. The normalisation committee will act as an electoral committee, and none of its members will be eligible for any of the open positions in the TTFA elections under any circumstances. The specified period during which the normalisation committee will perform its function will expire as soon it has fulfilled all its assigned tasks, but no later than 24 months after its members have been officially appointed by FIFA.”

Contacted by Guardian Media Sports on Tuesday Wallace, who was elected to the local organisation top post on November 24 last year, said he was surprised with the position taken by the FIFA and particularly for the reasons given.

The local football boss said they have been working on some stuff and will contact the FIFA for official confirmation since he only saw it on the FIFA website, noting that he or his general secretary had not been contacted or informed about it.

“After the FIFA team visited and said it was satisfied. We gave the FIFA a total breakdown of the TTFA financial debt with all the court matters and rulings etc. We also gave them a structural plan of how we were moving forward. And at the end of the audit, a statement was made that they were satisfied, and we were told to get the freeze on the account removed before the FIFA can start sending money again, so I am shocked now at the steps taken,” Wallace explained.

Former president John-Williams told Guardian Media Sports that he had no comment on the matter on Tuesday. (Trinidad Guardian)

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