FIFA has retained the services of the renowned Law Offices of Dr Claude H. Denbow S.C. in their dispute with the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) that is now before the Trinidad and Tobago High Court of Justice.

The William Wallace executive, guided by Dr Emir Crowne and Matthew Gayle of New City Chambers, is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent FIFA from interfering or seeking to override the “fair and transparent democratic processes of the TTFA and/or preventing them from removing the executive of duly elected officers from office.”

They are also seeking a permanent injunction against FIFA preventing FIFA and/or its agents from interfering with the day-to-day management of the association, including its bank accounts, website and real property.

They are also seeking damages and costs.

FIFA’s attorneys filed their entry of the appearance in the courts on Tuesday stating their intent to defend their decision to dissolve the TTFA board and appoint a normalisation committee to oversee the running of the TTFA, mere months after the board was voted into office in November 2019.

“We will be responding to the claimant’s case in early court and I am not allowed to discuss our client’s business,” said instructing attorney Donna Denbow,

“It is not our practice to discuss our client’s business in public. We will be putting our case on paper before the judge in early court.”

The matter stems from FIFA’s decision to dissolve the William-Wallace-led board four months after the November-24 elections in which the David John-Williams executive was swept from power.

FIFA, in a letter dated March 17, 2020, notified the TTFA that it was appointing a normalization committee citing the association’s extremely low or non-existent financial management and financial governance.

William Wallace said the decision was befuddling since the bulk of the TTFA’s TT$50 million debt was accrued under the previous administration.

Lawyers representing the ousted executive mentioned this concern in a letter to FIFA on March 20.

“The political backdrop of this matter is not lost on those we represent. The ‘existing debt of at least US$5.5m 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,” the lawyers wrote.

The executive took the matter to the Court for Arbitration for Sport but eventually withdrew over fears over what they described as ‘institutional bias’ in favour of football’s world governing body.

 

Lawyers representing William Wallace and the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) were today granted permission to serve documents o FIFA pertaining to their case against them to be heard in the Trinidad and Tobago High Court.

The Football Association (FA) will face FIFA in court next month to challenge a ruling relating to Chelsea's transfer ban.

Chelsea were punished in February 2019 for breaches of the rules pertaining to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.

Initially barred from making any signings for two transfer windows while also hit with a fine, the Premier League club had their punishments reduced on appeal.

The FA, meanwhile, was fined 510,000 Swiss francs (£391,000 as it processes player registrations. However, an appeal saw the amount lowered to 350,000 Swiss francs by a FIFA committee.

English football's governing body has now escalated the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A hearing is due to take place on June 26.

When contacted by Stats Perform, an FA spokesperson said: "The FA has cooperated fully with FIFA’s investigation. As this is an ongoing legal process it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time."

Women's football can thrive beyond the coronavirus crisis but must avoid the pitfall of overburdening top players, Netherlands head coach Sarina Wiegman has warned.

For leading European stars, the next five years promise to be intense, with a major tournament each year.

The delayed Tokyo Olympics takes place in 2021, with Netherlands defending their European Championship title in 2022, followed by a World Cup in 2023, the Paris Olympics in 2024, and Euro 2025 capping off a hectic period.

Wiegman told Stats Perform: "I think we have a very big challenge, because in theory we have five tournaments in five years in a row, which means we have a challenge to see and work out when the break [can come] for the players and other people who work very intensely in the women’s game."

She welcomed the move to switch the Euro 2021 tournament in England to new 2022 dates, saying: "Then I think we have our own stage, our own platform with the women's game. There's no competition with other football tournaments and I think that's what the women’s game deserves."

That tournament will take place in July, in a year when the men's World Cup is contested across November and December.

And while 50-year-old Wiegman, who led the Dutch to glory at home three years ago, is relishing a European Championship title defence, she is determined to guard the players' welfare.

"We need to take responsibility for players," she said. "We all want to have our top players in the main games, which is the tournaments, which is Champions League, which is top games in competition.

"Players want that too, the fans want that, and the coaches want that.

"But if we keep pushing them and keep giving load on them without any holiday or rest, then we're going to have a problem and a chance of not having the best players at a time when we want them to shine."

Football law-makers have approved FIFA's plan to let teams make up to five substitutions in a match, while VAR could be temporarily dropped by leagues.

It will be at the discretion of each competition whether new guidance is implemented.

FIFA proposed the change from three substitutions to five as a move to protect player welfare in the coronavirus era as football slowly returns to normal.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) gave its nod of approval, but the new law will be applicable only in competitions scheduled to finish by the end of 2020.

VAR could also be temporarily cut, with football re-emerging at a difficult time when it may not always be possible to implement the same technology as before COVID-19 took hold.

IFAB said in a statement on Friday: "For competitions which have either started or are intended to start, but are scheduled to be completed by December 31, 2020, the IFAB has approved FIFA's proposal to introduce a temporary amendment to Law 3 – The Players, which will allow for a maximum of five substitutes to be made per team.

"However, to avoid disruption to the game, each team will only have three opportunities to make substitutions; substitutions may also be made at half-time.

"The temporary amendment comes into force with immediate effect, and has been made as matches may be played in a condensed period in different weather conditions, both of which could have impacts on player welfare.

"The decision on whether to apply this temporary amendment will remain at the discretion of each individual competition organiser, while the IFAB and FIFA will determine at a later stage whether this temporary amendment would need to be extended further (e.g. for competitions due to be completed in 2021)."

The IFAB statement added: "In relation to competitions in which the video assistant referee (VAR) system is implemented, these competitions are permitted to cease its use upon restart at the discretion of each individual competition organiser.

"However, where VAR is used, all aspects of the Laws of the Game and, by extension, the VAR protocol will remain in place."

Lawyers representing the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA)  led by William Wallace have written to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) expressing concern over what they have described as a “number of irregularities which have arisen, irregularities that have caused their clients to believe their right to a fair hearing has been impugned.”

Wallace and his executive have taken FIFA to CAS over the latter’s decision to appoint a normalization committee to oversee the running of the TTFA, which in effect sidelined the Wallace-led executive that was constitutionally elected in November 2009.

Among the concerns to which the lawyers - Dr Emir Crowne and Matthew Gayle - refer arose from correspondence from CAS in which it mentioned hiked costs Wallace and his executive are being compelled to pay in advance of the tribunal hearing while at the same time declaring that FIFA will not pay arbitration costs in advance in matters such as these.

The costs mentioned amount to 40,000 Swiss Francs or approximately US$41,000, which the Wallace-led executive, the Appellants, must pay in full. The lawyers said that they are unsure how CAS facilitates access to justice with such extravagant fees.

According to the correspondence obtained by Sportsmax.TV, CAS indicated that “as a general rule, FIFA does not pay any arbitration costs in advance when it acts as a Respondent in a procedure before CAS, which is admissible to CAS pursuant to Article R64.2 of the Code. This means that, according to the same provision of the Code, the Appellant has to pay the entirety of the advance of costs.”

In response, Dr Emir Crowne penned a letter to CAS on Thursday, May 7, arguing that the costs are unfair “…particularly since the hearing would have likely taken place by video conference and the usual travel costs of the panel and the CAS’ counsel would have been eliminated.

“To that end, we are genuinely unsure how the CAS facilitates access to justice with such extravagant fees. The Appellants are not from the developed world, nor are they as well-financed as the Respondent.”

The lawyers also argue that the matter is made even more alarming since the tribunal accepted without question FIFA’s submission that they wanted the matter heard by three arbitrators, thus tripling the associated costs.

“On its face, therefore, the CAS appears to be a willing participant in the Respondent’s gamesmanship, especially if the CAS had institutional knowledge that the Respondent – an entity with immeasurable financial resources – would not be advancing their share of the arbitration costs,” the lawyers said.

“This is at least an unacceptable display of apparent institutional bias.”

In light of the development, the lawyers revealed that FIFA subsequently issued a letter to the CAS indicating that they (CAS) must suspend FIFA’s response to the Appellants until the Appellants pay the full costs. CAS, they said, has agreed that FIFA should be able to benefit from the extension.

“As it stands, there are very real doubts that the CAS remains an appropriate and fair forum for the resolution of this dispute,” the lawyers concluded.

 

 

 

 

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) is to propose an increase to the number of substitutions allowed in LaLiga matches when the season resumes.

Spain is gradually easing out of lockdown as the country aims to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, with professional football having been suspended since March.

LaLiga confirmed on Monday that teams could return to training this week, with a restart planned for June.

But as football prepares to return, the RFEF – backed by LaLiga – is to request IFAB allow a change to the number of substitutions allowed during a match, with the primary aim of protecting players' health after an unexpected pause in the campaign.

The RFEF, which claims to have the backing of FIFA, is to propose an increase to five changes from three, with the substitutions allowed at three different times throughout a game.

This rule change would apply to all RFEF competitions, including Segunda B and the Tercera, which are set to be settled by promotion play-offs.

"With this proposal, the RFEF wants to go ahead and propose measures that favour the health of footballers," stated president Luis Rubiales.

Bruno Fernandes' transfer to Manchester United from Sporting CP is under investigation by FIFA after Sampdoria launched a claim against the Portuguese club.

Sampdoria's complaint relates to payments they believe they are entitled to following Fernandes' move for an initial £48million (€55m) to Old Trafford in January.

The Portugal midfielder joined Sporting from Sampdoria for €8.5m in June 2017.

Sampdoria's claim concerns Sporting alone, meaning there is no suggestion United are guilty of any impropriety.

In a statement released to Stats Perform. a FIFA spokesperson said: "We can confirm that on 3 April 2020 the Italian club, UC Sampdoria, lodged a claim with FIFA against the Portuguese club, Sporting Clube de Portugal, related to financial obligations set out in the contract corresponding to the transfer of the Portuguese player, Bruno Miguel Borges Fernandes.

"The matter is currently being investigated and consequently we cannot provide further comments."

A report by The Times claimed Sampdoria believe they are entitled to €4.65m under a sell-on clause under the terms of Fernandes' move to Lisbon.

However, the 25-year-old was one of several Sporting players to rescind his contract before re-signing following an incident in May 2018 when fans invaded the club's training ground and attacked members of the squad.

It is thought Sporting believe they no longer have obligations to Sampdoria under the new contract Fernandes signed, given he technically penned that as a free agent to render any sell-on element null and void.

Fernandes has impressed since joining United, scoring two goals and supplying three assists in five Premier League matches before the 2019-20 season was placed on hiatus amid the COVID-19 crisis.

FIFA's top medical officer takes little satisfaction from being the man appealing for restraint from leagues that are desperate to get playing again.

The coronavirus pandemic has crippled football seasons across the globe and severe economic consequences have become inevitable.

There are concerns about clubs going bankrupt and leagues collapsing, with broadcast deals called into question and players left in limbo.

Many stars have taken pay cuts or deferred wages and the 2019-20 campaign in the Netherlands and France has already been abandoned.

Michel D'Hooghe, formerly head of the Belgian football federation and president of Club Brugge, is chair of FIFA's medical committee and has said there should be no return to action before September.

Speaking to Stats Perform, D'Hooghe said of the French league being called off: "I cannot be happy because I am a football man, but I am also a doctor.

"And the doctor in me, seeing what he sees and with his long experience in medicine and in football for over 50 years, I advise everybody whatever is the solution, and in each country it can be different, I advise everybody to be very, very careful.

"I respect all the economic argumentations. I know them: I've been six years chairman of a professional league, I've been 14 years president of the Belgian federation, and I've been six years president of my club, so I know the economics around football, but there is for the moment one other priority and that is health.

"If there is a moment where health should win… this is the moment."

D'Hooghe added: "I am not looking for popularity. I am looking for a realistic approach.

"This is the solution for tomorrow, the care of today, and if we can manage that, if we can respect the rules imposed by the public authorities, I think we will win the fight and I hope it sincerely."

He said it would be "a heavy responsibility" to give football the go-ahead while coronavirus continues to spread and causes thousands of deaths.

D'Hooghe also warned that behind-closed-doors football is a flawed solution to the coronavirus problem, along with any scenario involving groups mingling under present circumstances.

"In my opinion, football has always been a contact sport - the first rule in nearly all the countries coming from the public authorities is: avoid any contact," D'Hooghe said.

"For me, it's difficult to play a football match when you have to stay two metres from each other. This is not a football match.

"This is the first objection. The second objection is that we have to avoid group formations, people coming together.

"Of course the players come together on the field, of course they are together in the dressing room, of course they are together under the showers.

"And of course if you allow people coming to the stadium you have thousands.

"We have some experience of that - always some groups of fans come together, sometimes secretly in places where they can join each other to assist any way to the football match."

As for when it might be sensible for leagues to re-start, D'Hooghe stressed it is too soon to say with any conviction.

"In the meantime we will try to find intermediate solutions to perhaps allow a certain form of playing football and I would be the first one to be happy with that," he said.

"But it must be between some rules and these rules are rather strict for the moment."

Sweden head coach Janne Andersson trusts FIFA and UEFA to come up with appropriate plans over how to restart football following the coronavirus pandemic.

This week, FIFA proposed that teams will be allowed to use five substitutes per match due to a congested schedule when action resumes.

Teams are facing a fixture pile-up when they finally return and FIFA hopes to ease players' workloads by permitting an additional two changes during a match, or six substitutions in total if games go to extra time.

Competitions would have the option to implement the new temporary rule until the end of next season, while it would also apply to national team matches up to and including December 31, 2021.

Andersson is aware tournament organisers like the world governing body and UEFA, who have postponed Euro 2020 until next year, face a challenging task.

"It is not an easy job to fit in the games and tournaments that have been postponed due to the spread of the virus," Andersson told Stats Perform when asked about the five substitutions plan.

"I trust that FIFA and UEFA will find a good way to handle this.

"I am no medical expert and I don't like to speculate. Limiting the virus and the health of people is the most important thing right now. 

"My hope is that we can start playing football as soon as possible."

Sweden qualified for Euro 2020 by finishing second to Spain in Group F, with Andersson acknowledging his team could look very different by June 2021, the revised start time.

"A year is a very long time in football," he said. "A lot of the preparations can be used in 2021 but of course both our team and the teams we are playing can look different in a year. 

"It gives a bit of time to look even closer at details in tactics and we are trying to use this extra time in the best way possible."

On the impact of a busy fixture calendar leading up to the tournament, he added: "I trust that both the players and their clubs will adjust to whatever circumstances the season will be finished in."

Andersson, who took charge of Sweden in the aftermath of Euro 2016, is currently furloughed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added: "I have worked in football for over 30 years. This is the longest break I have ever taken from the game that I love. 

"I am together with my colleagues working on how we can be even better to explain how we want our players to act on the pitch and prepare ourselves for the upcoming games this fall.

"I am no medical expert but I trust the Swedish authorities know what they are doing [with their approach to the lockdown]."

A trial involving a number of leading German football officials is to finish without a verdict due to the statute of limitations expiring, leaving FIFA "deeply disappointed".

Franz Beckenbauer was one of four prominent German football figures investigated regarding allegations related to fraud, linked to payments alleged to have been made when the quartet were on the executive board of the organising committee for the 2006 World Cup.

Beckenbauer was not indicted due to health reasons.

Three German officials - Theo Zwanziger, Horst Schmidt and Wolfgang Niersbach - were due to go on trial, along with former FIFA secretary general Urs Linsi, who is Swiss.

The investigation centred on the use of €7million – later reduced to €6.7m – which was supposed to be used to finance a gala, but was instead, the Swiss attorney general alleged, "to repay a debt that was not owed by the DFB [German Football Association]".

A DFB investigation in February 2016, attempting to explain the payments, linked Beckenbauer - who won the World Cup as a player and as a manager - with former FIFA executive Mohamed bin Hammam and the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who was Adidas chief.

It led to claims the money had been used to purchase votes for the 2006 World Cup, allegations that Beckenbauer strenuously denied. He did accept the use of the funds - for a "FIFA subsidy" - was a mistake.

A statement from Switzerland's Federal Criminal Court confirmed on Tuesday the case could not "be concluded with a judgement" after the statute of limitations expired due to the coronavirus pandemic.

FIFA later insisted it will not give up on justice, with its statement reading: "FIFA is deeply disappointed that the trial related to the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 will not take place because it has now become time barred.

"For its part, FIFA fully cooperated with this investigation over the years, responding to many requests made by the Office of the Attorney General and incurring significant costs and management time in doing so. The fact that the case has now ended without a result of any kind is very worrying, not only for football but also for the administration of justice in Switzerland.

"We hope that the truth around the CHF 10 million payment will one day come to light and that those having committed wrongful acts will be duly sanctioned, if not in Switzerland, then maybe somewhere else.

"For FIFA this case is certainly not over as we cannot and will not accept that a CHF 10 million payment is made from FIFA accounts without a proper reason. Even if this has happened many years ago and was symptomatic for the old FIFA, FIFA's independent ethics committee will continue to investigate on this and other similar matters.

"Furthermore, FIFA will continue to cooperate with all state law enforcement agencies, including those in Switzerland, in the hope and belief that all those responsible for causing harm to football will finally be held to account for their actions and will not be able to hide forever with their ill-gotten gains."

Criminal proceedings for alleged fraud or assistance to fraud in Switzerland cannot be initiated after 15 years have passed.

FIFA's medical chief Michel D'Hooghe believes there should be no football until the start of next season with concerns over a "second attack" of the coronavirus.

The Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 campaigns were ended on Tuesday when French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that professional football will not be able to resume before September.

The Eredivisie has also been cancelled along with the domestic season in Argentina, but they are planning to get under way again in countries such as England, Spain, Germany and Italy.

D'Hooghe is concerned that finances are being put ahead of health.

He told the Daily Telegraph said: "We are all subject to decisions at national level from the public authorities. It is very simple. Football suddenly becomes not the most important thing in life.

"I will be happy if we can start, in a convenient way, the next championship and have nothing before the start of next season.

'If they could start the season 2020-21 at the end of August or beginning of September I would be happy. Then they could eventually avoid a second attack from the virus, which is not impossible.

"Everyone has to be very careful for the moment. I have heard in many countries they are thinking about playing football again, with or without the public.

"In my long career I have seen many situations where there has been a balance between economics and health. Mostly the economics won, whether that was about jetlag or football at altitude or in extreme conditions such as pollution situations.

"If there is one circumstance where medical arguments should win against economical arguments, it is now. It is not a matter of money, it is a matter of life and death. It is very simple."

FIFA has proposed that teams will be allowed to use five substitutes per match due to a congested schedule when competitions resume.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the vast majority of leagues to a halt and the Eredivisie is among those to have been cancelled.

Teams are facing a fixture pile-up when they finally return to action and FIFA hopes to ease players' workload by permitting an additional two changes during a match, or six substitutions in total if games go to extra time.

Organisers would have the option to implement the new temporary rule until the end of next season, while it would also apply to national team matches up to and including December 31, 2021.

A spokesperson for the world governing body said: "When competitions resume, such competitions are likely to face a congested match calendar with a higher-than-normal frequency of matches played in consecutive weeks.

"Safety of the players is one of FIFA's main priority then. One concern in this regard is that the higher-than-normal frequency of matches may increase the risk of potential injuries due to a resulting player overload.

"In light of this and in light of the unique challenge faced globally in delivering competitions according to the originally foreseen calendar, FIFA proposes that a larger number of substitutions be temporarily allowed at the discretion of the relevant competition organiser.

"In competitions where less than five substitutions are currently allowed, each team would now be given the possibility to use up to five substitutions during the match, with the possibility of an additional substitution remaining during extra time, where relevant."

FIFA will distribute $150million to member associations over the next few days as support for the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The world governing body on Friday revealed that operational funding for this year and 2019 will be paid to 211 national governing bodies worldwide.

A second instalment of operational costs for 2020 was due to be handed out in July, but FIFA will make an early payment "to help safeguard football across all member associations".

Each member association will receive $500,000, along with any other remaining funds they were due to receive. 

Full payment is only usually received if certain criteria is met, but FIFA recognised the need to carry out of a financial relief plan quickly amid the COVID-19 crisis 

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: "The pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for the entire football community and, as the world governing body, it is FIFA's duty to be there and support the ones that are facing acute needs.

"This starts by providing immediate financial assistance to our member associations, many of which are experiencing severe financial distress. This is the first step of a far-reaching financial relief plan we are developing to respond to the emergency across the whole football community. 

"Together with our stakeholders, we are we assessing the losses and we are working on the most appropriate and effective tools to implement the other stages of this relief plan."

He added: "I would like to thank the chairpersons of the FIFA Development Committee, Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, and the FIFA Finance Committee, Alejandro Dominguez, for their commitment and urgent approval of these measures by their committees."

First Citizens Bank in Trinidad and Tobago has until Monday, April 27, to say whether anyone has attempted to gain control of the accounts of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA). Should they fail to do so they will be brought before the High Courts of the twin-island republic.

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