TRINIDAD and Tobago will be barred from the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers if the suspension recently imposed by FIFA on the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) is not lifted by December 18.
The TTFA was suspended by the world football governing body last month, after missing a deadline to withdraw a case brought against the association in the Trinidad and Tobago High Court.
The dispute arose earlier this year, after FIFA’s decision to dissolve a-then four-month-old TTFA board and install a normalisation committee to run the affairs of the country’s football. The deposed William Wallace-led executive has refused to recognise the committee.
The suspension immediately deprived the country of its full member benefits as part of the association, and also impacts its ability to take part in international competitions.
Earlier this month, CONCACAF announced that the country would remain a part of the CONCACAF Gold Cup draw, but would be replaced by Antigua if the matter was not resolved by the identical date of December 18. FIFA re-asserted its position in a letter to the Normalisation Committee on Tuesday.
FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura, in the letter to Normalisation Committee chairman Robert Hadad, reminded him of the suspension and the possibility of missing the CONCACAF Qualifiers if the suspension is not lifted, saying: “By way of this communication, we inform you that FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 World Cup Qualifiers for the CONCACAF region (hereinafter: CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers) are scheduled to begin in March 2021.
The organisation of such competition entails complex logistical and operational matters intensified by the COVID-19 crisis. In view of this, please note that FIFA has decided that in order to ensure the proper preparation and planning of the participant teams, if the suspension imposed on the TTFA is not lifted by 18:00hrs CET (18:00hrs TT time) on December 18 2020, we have no choice but to exclude the TTFA from participating in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers,., the letter stated.
“As a result of the suspension of the TTFA’s membership of FIFA, the Normalisation Committee which was appointed by FIFA has necessarily ceased all operational and management functions over the TTFA.
However, we want to highlight that the only legitimate leadership of the TTFA, recognised by FIFA and CONCACAF, is the one led by Mr Robert Hadad. Having said this, any communication from FIFA with TTFA will continue to be exclusively with Mr Robert Hadad.”
According to FIFA, TTFA must meet three conditions before they are re-admitted to global football.
The TTFA complies with the terms and conditions of its membership of FIFA as set out under the FIFA Statutes, including in particular Article 59 of the FIFA Statutes;
The TTFA acknowledges and confirms FIFA’s power and authority to appoint a Normalisation Committee subject only to the right of the TTFA to appeal such a decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport;
The TTFA Statutes are amended to ensure that all type of disputes may only be submitted to the established dispute resolution forum at CAS. The suspension will immediately impact the country’s participation in the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers.