BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - THE international governing body for football, FIFA, has suspended Trinidad and Tobago from all international-related activities until they get their act together and withdraw the court cases against the body.
Confirmation of the suspension was announced on Thursday (Sept. 24), where the body said that “the Bureau of the FIFA Council today suspended the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) with immediate effect due to grave violations of the FIFA Statutes”.
FIFA said the suspension was prompted by the former leader of the TTFA lodging a claim before a local court in Trinidad and Tobago in order to contest the decision of the FIFA Council to appoint a normalisation committee for the TTFA.
The sport discipline has been in turmoil in the twin-island Republic after claims of irregularities were raised by FIFA in a number of activities, including conflicts of interest.
That prompted the implementation of a normalising committee, which was challenged in a court in Port-of-Spain.
FIFA pushed the Trinidad and Tobago officials to withdraw the case, but it was not done in a timely manner.
“This course of action was in direct breach of Article 59 of the FIFA Statutes, which expressly prohibits recourse to ordinary courts unless specifically provided for in the FIFA regulations.
“A normalisation committee was installed by the FIFA Council after it was established that the former leadership of the TTFA had engaged in various acts of serious mismanagement. The decision of the former leadership to go to a local court to contest the appointment of the normalisation committee jeopardises not only the future of football in Trinidad and Tobago but also endangers the overall global football governance structure, which relies on the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) as the exclusive forum for resolving disputes of this nature.
“The relevant parties were initially given until 16 September to withdraw the case but failed to do so. This deadline was then extended until 23 September, which was not respected either,” FIFA said.
An investigative report carried out by local a television station in Trinidad and Tobago, CNC 3, highlighted serious allegations of mismanagement and wire transfers by the former president of the TTFA, who has bank accounts linked to him in Panama.
That report showed monies moving from various accounts and ending in his account from the TTFA and contractors undertaking work for the Football Association.
FIFA said the suspension would only be lifted when the TTFA fully complies with its obligations as a member of FIFA, including recognising the legitimacy of the appointed normalisation committee and bringing its own statutes into line with those of the international governing body.