Fri, Aug

W Connection appeal FA Trophy ruling.

Not Taking that

DIRECTV W CONNECTION have already appealed a decision by the Disciplinary Committee of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) to dismiss their protest over North East Stars’ use of striker Gorian Highley in the FA Trophy final on March 29.

W Connection president David John-Williams has formally appealed the decision, sending correspondence and $1,000 in fees to Sheldon Phillips, TTFA general secretary.

W Connection are appealing on the grounds that the TTFA broke its own constitution rules regarding the transfer of players. W Connection sources contend that the issue is not about “Grande Stars” keeping the trophy, but having the TTFA abide by the rules.

It was only yesterday, that the TTFA officially released a decision taken by its Disciplinary Committee which first met on April 22.

“I can confirm that the Disciplinary Committee ruled in favour of North East Stars and rejected the arguments made by W Connection,” Phillips stated in correspondence to the Trinidad Express Newspaper. Further, Phillips also acknowledged that an appeal was filed.

“We received the appeal request yesterday afternoon from W Connection,” Phillips said. “The request will be sent to our Appeals Committee, and they will determine whether there is ground to accept the request.”

Phillips added that both the Disciplinary Committee and Appeals Committee were “independent” of the executive to ensure impartiality.

“We cannot really influence their pace, but we would like to see that a decision is made as soon as possible,” Phillips added.

On March 31, W Connection officially protested Stars’ use of Highley in the FA final, which Stars won 5-4 on spot kicks, following a goalless draw.

Highley, was transferred from Malabar FC, just two day before the FA semi-final. He was registered by the local professional league after the close of the January transfer window, and was allowed to only play in the non-competitive Reserve League, but no other professional league competition this season.

In making its decision, the Disciplinary Committee determined that the FA Trophy had its own rules.

“The competition under reference had its own rules, as a consequence the rules governing the TTFA and the Pro League was null and void,” the Disciplinary Committee’s judgement said. “The Disciplinary Committee notes that while W Connection relied on clause six of the competition rules, it misinterpreted the said rules.”

The Committee determined that Stars should remain as FA champions, firstly based on the fact that both the referee and match commissioner allowed Highley to play, and secondly that Stars head coach Angus Eve “honestly believed” the player to be eligible to contest the final.

Prior to the final, Eve telephoned TTFA official Sharon O’Brien asking if Highley could have played.

“She did advise Mr Angus Eve that the TTFA was only interested in whether the player was registered with the participating club and nothing else,” the Disciplinary Committee’s judgement said.

“The Disciplinary Committee realises there was no precedent under which a similar ruling arose and a decision was made. The Disciplinary Committee therefore relied on the old adage practised, of upholding the decision on the field of play. In the circumstances, the protest is hereby dismissed and the decision is therefore final.”

W Connection’s appeal described both arguments as “nonsense” since neither the referee nor match commissioner had the power to prevent a football match being played in the first place. They also feel that the Pro League is a full affiliate of the TTFA, and the latter is bound by the rules of the international football body FIFA, concerning the transfer of players.

The W Connection appeal quotes FIFA rules 2.5 and 41.3 which allows the TTFA to organise competitions “adopting always rules and regulations set down by FIFA”.

W Connection further argue that the TTFA broke its own constitution which states: “The status of players and provision of transfer shall be regulated by the Executive Committee of the Federation (TTFA), in accordance with common FIFA regulations for the transfer of players.”