‘Who can we trust?’ asks TT coach Fenwick


Jonathan Ramnanansingh

45 Minutes Ago

NATIONAL men’s football coach Terry Fenwick believes United TTFA’s decision to renew its legal fight with FIFA will bring further detriment to the administration of local football.

Fenwick, who was appointed coach by ousted TT Football Association (TTFA) president William Wallace and his executive in December 2019, has dubbed this move by the former regime as “poor” and “unprofessional”.

On Thursday, FIFA indefinitely suspended the TTFA for failing to withdraw its case against the sport’s governing body before their 3 pm (TT time) deadline on September 23.

Wallace and his executive were contesting, in the TT High Court, FIFA’s decision to remove them from the helm of local football, in March, and appoint a normalisation committee, led by businessman Robert Hadad, to run the affairs of local football.

After several warnings from FIFA, that TT could be sanctioned for their persistence to contest its decision in a local court, and not the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the global governing body stood true to their word and suspended the TTFA, even though Wallace’s team withdrew their case, two minutes past the 3 pm deadline.

On Friday, however, the ousted administration sought to withdraw its withdrawal of the lawsuit and file an injunction of FIFA’s suspension at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) – the same judicial system shunned upon by Wallace in the early stages of its legal battle.

“FIFA gave the Wallace’s team plenty of warning,” said Fenwick. “They are very good at carving out rules and regulations but when it comes to abiding by the timeframes that were given by the court, they’ve not done it themselves.

“That, for me, is very poor and unprofessional. They’re playing games with the livelihoods of young, senior and national coaches. I could never agree with that,” stated the former England defender.

Without proper leadership and the inability to participate in FIFA-sanctioned tournaments, Fenwick remains uncertain on the future of TT football. According to him, players, coaches and fans are now searching blindly for answers to the current fiasco which has brought the sport to a virtual standstill.

“Who can we trust? Who can we believe in? There is a clear lack of leadership across the board and that’s leaving all of the sport’s stakeholders in limbo and unsure of what will happen next,” he added.

Amidst the suspension, Hadad revealed, on Friday, that TT will be included in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup draw which is set to take place on September 28.

After an “emergency meeting”, on Thursday night, Concacaf issued a statement declaring that TT would only be able to participate in the competition if the suspension imposed on the TTFA is lifted by 5 pm on December 18.

If the ban is not lifted, TT will be replaced by Antigua/Barbuda.

“It’s a lot of mixed emotions now. We all want to be involved in the Gold Cup and World Cup qualifiers. A suspension of any sort serves no good to TT football. The sport is already suffering and under pressure.

“The TT Pro League and Super League are already non-existent (owing to covid19 restrictions). Money is hard to come by and we just don’t know where to look. The rest of the world is playing football while we are not,” he continued.

Since Wednesday’s suspension, several foreign and locally-based national players have been reaching out to their coach querying the repercussions of FIFA’s indefinite ban on their professional careers.

According to the 60-year old former San Juan Jabloteh and Central FC coach, he is sometimes lost for words trying to explain the possible outcomes, of this FIFA sanction, to the national players.

“All of my local and international players are reaching out to me. It’s not very nice. What can I communicate to them? They’re seeing everything for themselves and wondering what the hell’s going on. They want to play, to represent their country.

He concluded, “In the meantime, I will certainly be trying to get my players out to training again, trying to lift our spirits and give them a bit of hope.”

Story appeared first at newsday.co.tt

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