T&T attorney Om Lalla has flown to Switzerland to argue the appeal of Soca Warriors captain, Dwight Yorke, who has been slapped with a four-match ban by the world governing body, Fifa, for using abusive language to the referee in the T&T versus El Salvador World Cup match on February 11 this year.
Yorke, arrived in T&T on Monday along with his Sunderland team-mates Carlos Edwards and Kenwyne Jones and Belgium-based Khaleem Hyland ahead of the Concacaf World Cup qualifier with Honduras on Saturday. Lalla will argue that the penalty imposed on Yorke was too harsh and will ask the appeals committee to quash the ban and allow the T&T captain to continue playing for the Soca Warriors in the final phase of qualification for South Africa 2010.
He will submit that to leave Yorke out of the World Cup campaign for four matches, could dent the chances of the Soca Warriors in their quest to qualify for a second consecutive World Cup Final. Yorke’s four-match ban resulted from a report of misconduct submitted by Mexican referee Marc Rodriguez to the Fifa Disciplinary Committee following the T&T match against El Salvador on February 11 at San Salvador’s Estadio Cuscatlan. The decision by Fifa’s Disciplinary Committee on March 13, also resulted in a fine of US$4,200 for Yorke.
According to Lalla’s submission, the red card imposed on Yorke cannot be withdrawn. His one-match suspension will take effect on Saturday when T&T plays Honduras at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. Lalla is seeking to have the ban on the other three World Cup matches lifted. If he is successful tomorrow, Yorke will be able to travel with the Soca Warriors when they play against the United States in the USA next Wednesday night. Should Lalla fail to convince the appeals committee, Yorke will miss the matches against the US, Costa Rica (in Costa Rica— June 6) and Mexico (in Mexico—June 10).
Yorke will not be in Switzerland for tomorrow’s appeal, opting instead to train with the Soca Warriors as the team prepares for Saturday’s crucial match with Honduras. Immediately following the ban, the TTFF filed a notice of appeal with Fifa. Meanwhile, El Salvador was fined US$25,300 for the inability to control its fans during the match. Throughout the match, debris rained on the field and despite three announcements over the public address system exhorting the crowd to stop, the throwing of cups and other missiles continued.
In a release earlier this month from Fifa’s Deputy Secretary to the Disciplinary Committee Wilma Ritter stated: The referee and the match commissioner reported that the player (Yorke) was sent off for using abusive language against the referee. In return, the T&TFF sent its statement which was summarised as follows: ‘The player in his capacity as T&T captain complained to the referee for the safety and security of his players because missiles were being hurled onto the field. Immediately following the final whistle, Yorke approached the referee to inquire why nothing had been done and the referee responded that Yorke was out of order to question him.
Yorke expressed his disagreement with that view and it was while the T&T captain was walking away that the red card was issued. Yorke denied using any obscene language. The T&TFF also sent a video in order to show the incidents that occurred during the match. According to Article 49 par. 1 a of the Fifa Disciplinary Committee, including the automatic suspension in accordance with Article 18 par 4, the overall suspension imposed on any person receiving a direct red card shall be for at least four matches for unsporting conduct towards a match official.