Fifa-appointed normalisation committee vice-chair Judy Daniel has passed away at the age of 63.
Daniel, an attorney with extensive experience in environmental law and management and sister of former national table-tennis star Jennylyn Branker, lived in Atlanta, USA.
The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), run by the Robert Hadad-led normalisation committee, expressed its ‘sadness’ on Daniel’s passing via a media statement.
“The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association is saddened by the passing of Ms Judy Daniel, the deputy chair of the Fifa-appointed normalisation committee,” stated the normalisation committee. “Judy died peacefully today in the US in the presence of her relatives and family.
“The members of the TTFA and the normalisation committee extend its deepest condolences to Judy’s family and friends and will remember her as a tireless and devoted friend, who always selflessly gave her best in service of the Association.”
Daniel, a former vice-chair of the board of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), was an unknown quantity in football when she was hired by the Bureau of the Fifa Council on 27 March 2020 as part of a normalisation committee entrusted with running the local game.
The Bureau of the Fifa Council is chaired by Fifa president Gianni Infantino. Daniel, Hadad and ordinary member Nigel Romano controversially replaced the elected TTFA board, which was headed by president William Wallace.
In two years on the job, Judy Daniel never met the media or watched a football game—even when the Men’s National Senior Team played in the United States at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.
However, she was credited with often being a ‘voice of reason’ within the committee at the meetings she attended with staff members or footballers. Sources say she was not afraid to openly contradict Hadad when she felt the situation merited it.
To be properly constituted, the normalisation committee needs between three and five members. Trevor Nicholas Gomez was added to their number on 26 March 2021, which means that, with Daniel’s passing, it has reverted from four to three members.
The normalisation committee chairman generally earns US$6,500 (TT$44,000) per month from Fifa while other committee members collect US$4,000 (TT$27,000) each.
On 24 December 2021, Fifa acknowledged that the Hadad-led normalisation committee had failed to fulfil its mandate in Trinidad and Tobago. However, instead of increasing the committee to five members or replacing the existing members, the world governing body gave Hadad, Daniel, Romano and Gomez a one-year extension.
The work will now continue without Daniel, who has answered to a higher calling.
There has so far been no suggestion of any changes within the normalisation committee as a result of Daniel’s passing, although any material adjustments must receive Fifa approval. Infantino issued a statement of support this evening to local football stakeholders:
“It is with great sadness and deep emotion that I learned of the passing of Ms Judy Daniel, deputy chairwoman of the TTFA normalisation committee. On behalf of the international football community, I would like to express our deepest sympathy to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association, to the members of the TTFA normalisation committee, and to Judy’s family, friends and loved ones. Our thoughts are with you all.
“We hope that our words of support may help bring some peace and solace at this difficult time. Judy will not be forgotten and we will all miss her greatly.”