'This impasse has crippled football'- former T&T goalkeeper calls for end to 'nonsensical', 'debilitating' TFFA lawsuit

By Sports Desk October 13, 2020

Former Trinidad and Tobago international Kelvin Jack has called for an end to the ‘toxicity’ currently surrounding the nation’s football, beginning with a decision to withdraw the case against FIFA and a return to the international football fold.

The twin-island republic was suspended from international football last month, after disputing FIFA’s right to dissolve the country’s football federation and implement a normalisation committee.  Deposed Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) President William Wallace and his executive took the issue to the country’s High Court, which is expressly forbidden by FIFA’s statues.

In a strange twist of events, the United TTFA executive had agreed to withdraw the case as per the wishes of the wider membership but missed filing the application by the FIFA deadline.  The decision was subsequently taken to revive the case before the court.

While admitting that he felt a huge amount of sympathy for the deposed board, Jack insisted that the current actions taken by the United TTFA are detrimental to the sport.

“When Fifa appointed the normalisation committee, my first reaction was one of genuine surprise. I made that known to the president William Wallace and to [United TTFA member and technical committee chairman] Keith Look Loy.  I was empathetic towards the situation they were put in. I was particularly irked because I felt they only just assumed office but were then being forced out,” Jack said in a release first published in its entirety on Wired868.

The former goalkeeper, who was appointed men’s National Senior Team goalkeeping coach by the United TTFA, made it clear, however, that he did not see the need for the current course of action to continue.

“…this impasse that has crippled football. In my opinion, the ongoing court action is nonsensical and has a debilitating effect on Trinidad and Tobago football. The court action should be discontinued immediately,” he added.

Jack also took issue with some of the arguments he claims are used to support the continuance of the TTFA’s legal action.

“I have analysed the various arguments for the continued progression of this court action. From the supposed invasion of Trinidad and Tobago sovereignty to no football is being played right now because of the global pandemic, to the view by some that Trinidad and Tobago wouldn’t qualify for the 2022 World Cup anyway,” he said.

“These reasons are weak and incredibly disrespectful to the players, fans, potential sponsors, coaches, and referees.”

The player, who pointed out that he himself used the failed 2002 qualification bid to prepare for the success of 2006, admitted that he could not fathom a workable long-term plan being put forward by the TTFA, under the current circumstances.

“Maybe there is a plan? How will development programs be funded? How will salaries be paid? How will the players gain valuable international experience? How will our women’s team close the gap on our international rivals? How will our aspiring international referees develop?

Committed die-hard fans will be starved of watching their beloved national teams play in tournaments,” Jack went on.

“There are 211 countries that adhere to Fifa statutes; we are one. If we are truly honest we must realise we cannot, on one hand, utilise all the provisions of Fifa—for example, receive funding and playing in international tournaments—but then frown when one of the very statutes which we agreed to, the implementation of a normalisation committee, is used by Fifa.

If we detest the role of a normalisation committee in the Fifa statutes so vociferously, why did we join Fifa in the first place? Shouldn’t we have objected to the statutes all those years ago, or at the very least inform Fifa that we do not agree with the role of a normalisation committee—as we believe our sovereignty as an independent country supersedes their statutes?”

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