TTFA lawyers question FIFA's motives behind appointment of normalization committee

By March 20, 2020

Lawyers representing the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) have written to FIFA, football’s world governing body questioning the timing of the appointment of the Normalisation Committee that has taken over the running of the association.

They have also questioned the legality of the appointment of Tyler Patrick, the accountant from the previous administration that purportedly racked up the bulk of the US$5.5m debt that has now has FIFA concerned.

The lawyers have also suggested that FIFA is engaging in bully and delay tactics.

On March 17, FIFA sent a letter to the TTFA advising them that they were appointing a Normalization Committee to oversee the operations of the association over what it described as its extremely low or non-existent financial management and financial governance.

However, in a letter dated Friday, March 20, and addressed to Sofia Malizia of Member Associations Services at FIFA, Matthew Gayle, one of the attorneys representing the William-Wallace executive, questioned the motives behind the move by football’s governing body.

“The political backdrop of this matter is not lost on those we represent,” Gayle wrote. “The ‘existing debt of at least USD 5.5’ was wholly accumulated under, or as a consequence of actions taken during the previous TTFA administration.

“That notwithstanding, FIFA stood idly by and took no punitive steps whatsoever. Now, in the face of a new administration with less than three months substantive tenure, which now threatens to uncover the rank impropriety of the previous administration by installing a regime of financial probity, the FIFA steps in an attempt to prevent this.

“It is passing strange that you purport to have installed Tyril Patrick, the accountant who oversaw at least in part the amassing of the very debt that the FIFA now complains of.”

Gayle also sent correspondence to Patrick indicating that his appointment to oversee the work of the Normalization Committee was invalid.

“The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association is a sovereign body established by an Act of Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago by way of Act 17 of 1982, The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (Incorporation) Act, 1982.

Pursuant to Section 4 of the Act, the affairs of the association are to be managed by the General Council.

The letter stated that in accordance with the constitution, democratic elections were held on November 24, 2019, at which William Wallace and members of his executive were elected.

“The duly elected executive or any individual member may only demit office by operation of the constitution of the TTFA, which makes no allowance for the appointment of yourself or any other person to ‘oversee’ the day to day affairs of the TTFA as the FIFA letter purports to do or in any other capacity in place of the duly elected executive.

“It is, therefore, our client’s respectful view that the FIFA letter is null, void and no legal effect. It is not in any way binding on them.”

Patrick is to respond to the letter by Monday, March 23, 2020.

 In reply to FIFA’s letter to the TTFA,  on March 18, the lawyers from New City Chambers drafted a letter over the signature of Dr Emir Crowne to Sofia Malizia indicating that they were representing the TTFA executive.

In her response on Friday morning, March 20, Ms Malizia said: “Before engaging in any communications with you, we request to be provided with a duly signed power of attorney identifying your clients and clearly authorizing you to act on their behalf in the present matter.”

Mr Gayle took umbrage with the response and replied accordingly in his letter to her on Friday.

“Dr Crowne’s email could not have been any clearer as to the precise identity of who we represent and the capacity in which we act on their behalf. Further details and specifics of our retainer are subject to legal professional privilege and shall not be unlawfully disclosed by either of us,” Mr Gayle wrote.

 “I respectfully suggest that, instead of concerning yourself with the manner and form of our retainer, you address your mind forthwith to the concerns we have previously raised. We do not intend to engage in such collateral issues, while the substantive remains to be addressed by you since the morning of the 18th March 2020, it is our respectful view is that this is little more than a delaying tactic on the part of the FIFA.”

 In the said letter, he also demanded the withdrawal of the letter FIFA sent to the TTFA informing of the appointment of the Normalization Committee.

 “We have been retained to defend the interests of Trinidad and Tobago football against such rank corrupt, unjust, bullyboy tactics.

 “It is therefore appropriate at this juncture for you to indicate forthwith that the letter dated 17th March 2020 under the hand of Fatma Samoura has been withdrawn in toto.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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