Fifa bullying backfires

On 24 September it seemed that Fifa had won by knockout against the rebellious Trinidad & Tobago FA. 24 hours later the tables were turned.

By Philippe Auclair

It seemed that the long-running feud between the Trinidad & Tobago Football Association (TTFA) and Fifa had come to a conclusion when, on 24 September, Fifa announced that the rebellious Caribbean FA had been suspended. The seven men of the Bureau of the Fifa Council – Gianni Infantino plus the presidents of Fifa's six constituent confederations - explained their decision in those terms: "The suspension was prompted by the former leadership 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. 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".

As in the old fable, the clay pot had been no match for the iron pot: what could break did break, and what could inflict the blow had dealt it. It did not matter that the TTFA had won the case it had brought against Fifa in Trinidad & Tobago's High Court, the supreme legal authority in their own country. In Fifa's eyes, the rule of T&T law did not apply to Fifa, even if the TTFA had been established by an Act of Parliament in the Caribbean nation. Consequently, it did not matter that Justice Gobin had issued a judgement which expressly called into question the overarching power of Fifa over its 211 Member Associations. 

Or rather, it ...

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