The Oganising Committee relying on Article 22 of the GFF rules, has since awarded points to Biko blaming Wallidan for the cause of the circumstances that led to the match being abandoned. However according to Wallidan there are several other options available at the disposal of the Organising Committee which could have served the principle of fair play better than the one they have chosen. Below is Wallidan’s soft -spoken but very assertive explanation of the incident and their intentions:
Last Wednesday we (Wallidan FC) showed up to play our FA Cup fixture against Steve Biko at the KG5 Mini Stadium but unfortunately due to some communication lapses our officer who was on a GFF mission to Dakar left, forgetting to handover the players license cards to the Technical Director.
Upon arrival at the KG5 Mini stadium, we informed the match Commissioner of our dilemma. But when the referee called for inspection of the licenses and we could not produce ours, Steve Biko refused to play despite our plea for their understanding and observance of fair play. Although the Match Commissioner had ordered that the match proceed after consultations with his supervisor, Steve Biko still insisted on not playing. The match was then abandoned.
The matter was presided over by the GFF Organising Committee who yesterday informed Wallidan FC that they have decided to award the 3 points and 2 goals to Steve Biko FC. If this decision stands it would mean the end of Wallidan’s 2015 FA Cup campaign.
The GFF Organising Committee relied on Article 22 of The GFF rules and regulations which states that “In cases where the Organising Committee is satisfied that a match was abandoned owing to the conduct of one team or its club member(s), it shall be empowered to award the points for the match to the opponent”.
After deliberations on this issue the Organising Committee decided that Wallidan’s failure to produce its players license at the required moment led to the abandonment of the game and therefore awarded the points to Steve Biko FC.
In the same GFF rules and regualtions Article 17 in particular stipulates that “In the event of a club failing to keep its engagements, the Committee shall have power to inflict a fine, deduct points from the defaulting team, award the points from the match in question to the opponents, or order the defaulting club to pay any expenses incurred by the opponents or otherwise deal with them appropriately”.
We are of the view that in observance of fair play and a win win situation for both teams, this Article should have been invoked by ordering Wallidan to pay the expenses incurred by Steve Biko FC and the referees rely on Article 23 to order a rematch.
Article 23 provides that “In cases where a match has been abandoned owing to the conduct of both teams or their Club member(s), the Committee shall order a rematch”.
In our opinion Steve Biko FC’s refusal to play after being ordered to do so by the match Commissioner is a severe conduct issue which should have been considered in the Committees deliberations.
We do respect the Organising Committee’s decision but we have reservations. The aim is not to punish. Punishment should be meted out to repeat offenders and in this case we are of the view that the decision taken was too harsh given the circumstances. We know for a fact that if it were Wallidan we would have respected the match Commissioner’s instructions to play and secondly in the spirit of the game of football and good sportsmanship Steve Biko FC should have played and then pursue to verify the identities of Wallidan’s players which was the basis of their refusal to play. The GFF is in possession of all players records so verification of identities of players should not be an issue.
We would like to make it clear that as a team that has been a household name in The Gambia and the sub region for over five decades, which respects football rules n regulations, and embraces good sports values, we take full responsibility for this unfortunate communication lapse on our part and give complete respect to the decision of the Organising Committee.
We will decide as a team whether to exercise our right of appeal which should be lodged not later than today 9th April, 2015 before 6:00pm.
We will keep you posted. Your reactions and opinions are welcome but please in doing so exercise professionalism and respect to both the GFF Organising Committee and Steve Biko FC.
Source: Gambia F League]]>