Beleaguered Trinidad and Tobago FA president, William Wallace, says if FIFA wins next week’s court appeal, he will not pursue any further legal challenges against football’s powerful world governing body.
High Court Judge Carol Gobin earlier this week ruled in Wallace’s favor regarding FIFA’s appointment of a normalization committee to replace Wallace and his administration.
But the Court of Appeal is now set to hear a challenge from FIFA next Monday over Gobin’s jurisdiction to hear the matter and Wallace said if the judgment did not come down in his favor, he would end his long-running battle with the Zurich-based organization.
“If we lose this matter, that’s it for me. There is no more appealing,” Wallace said in an interview on WESN Content Capital TV.
“I [would] say ‘thank you very much,’ and I walk away. There is nothing like that (appealing to the Privy Council). I have no intention of going beyond our court.”
Justice Gobin ruled against FIFA, noting that the normalization committee installed last March and headed by Trinidadian businessman Robert Hadad “was unwarranted and indefensible.”
In a huge victory for Wallace and his team, Gobin also ruled that FIFA’s actions had been “made in bad faith and for an improper and illegal motive.”
Despite the victory for United TTFA, Trinidad and Tobago remain under international suspension by FIFA due to Wallace’s decision to pursue action against the local courts’ world governing body.
Wallace has challenged that decision before the Court of Arbitration of Sport and hopes the matter can be heard soon in Trinidad and Tobago football’s best interests.
“There is still the matter we have before the Court of Arbitration; that matter there, I hope can be heard. I hope we can hear that matter; I think we have a good chance,” he stressed.
Trinidad and Tobago were last months included in CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifying slated for next year, despite the FIFA ban’s imposition.
However, continental governing body CONCACAF said unless the FIFA ban were lifted by December 18, T&T would be replaced in Antigua and Barbuda’s competition.
Wallace said he was cognizant of the important timelines involved in the matter.
“I hope that we can get it (CAS hearing) as early as possible because we’ve got to be always thinking about the 18th of December, which is extremely important to us, so everything that happens now must bear that in mind,” Wallace pointed out.
In a show of power, FIFA last September slapped an immediate ban on Trinidad and Tobago for what it termed a “grave violation of the FIFA Statutes.”
A FIFA statement said the move had been triggered by the “former leader of the TTFA lodging a claim before a local court in Trinidad and Tobago to contest the decision of the FIFA Council to appoint a normalization committee for the TTFA.”
“This suspension will only be lifted when the TTFA fully complies with its obligations as a member of FIFA, including recognizing the legitimacy of the appointed normalization committee and bringing its own statutes into line with the FIFA Statutes.”