Sidebar

07
Fri, Oct
21 New Articles

Typography

In certain sports blood and violence is expected, but often it occurs within the confines of a ring or a cage. But those elements found their way onto the field in the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) in what can only be described as an act of football hooliganism.

Sports Minister Anil Roberts condemned the incident, which he described as a “blemish” on T&T’s proud history of sportsmanship. On November 26, football fan Godfrey Adams, 53, of Penal, breached security at the stadium during the Coca Cola InterCol South Zone final between Presentation College, San Fernando, and Shiva Boys’ Hindu College and struck linesman Kevin Charles on the head with a glass bottle.
 
Appearing in court, he pleaded guilty to wounding Charles and was fined $2,500 and ordered to pay $9,000 in compensation. Shiva Boys went on to win the match in the replay on December 1 at the stadium.
 
Adams’ reaction to a decision Charles made on the field shocked many. But Osmond Downer, a former FIFA and Concacaf Referees' instructor, in an interview following the incident, said he believed the incident was just a reflection of what was happening within the society.
 
“I consider it a lack of or breakdown in respect for authority. Up to some years ago, people would respect the referee, because he or she represented authority. “Now there is a breakdown in that and it is just an overflow from society. It is a societal problem, not only in football. It is a problem even in schools,” Downer said.
 
Charles, speaking with the T&T Guardian after the court matter, said during the seven years he had been a referee he had faced abuse on the field, but it was the first time it had escalated to violence. He also stood by the decision that sparked the attack.
 
The people of T&T, by nature, are passionate sports enthusiasts, but that exuberance rarely translates into violence. But in other countries around the world, such as England, violence at sporting events is or has been a major problem.
 
Violence has erupted in the streets, at stadiums and even in pubs, and has led to death in many cases. In February, that violence found its way to Egypt, where more than 70 people were killed in clashes at a league match between the Al Masry and Al-Ahly clubs.
 
Media reports stated that Al-Masry fans invaded the pitch after a surprise 3-1 win over Cairo club Al-Ahly and violence ensued. Fortunately T&T has been relatively immune to such acts over the years. T&T Football Federation (TTFF) president Raymond Tim Kee and SSFL president Ewing Davis both believe that the incident was a one-off event.
 
Tim Kee said the TTFF has disciplinary policies in place to deal with violence, as stipulated by football’s world governing body, FIFA. However, Tim Kee admitted, “Nothing could be 100 per cent airtight when dealing with people.”
 
Tim Kee said SSFL followed the police recommendation of seven officers and hired an additional 15 security officers for the event. “They were ultra-cautious. There were 22 officers at the match. The most we could do is provide security. The SSFL did what they were supposed to do,” Tim Kee said.
 
Davis said measures were being put in place to ensure the incident was not repeated. Robin Murray, PRO of the T&T Referees Association, said adequate security had to be provided at events so there would not be a repeat of the violent outburst.
 
“It really puts a damper over the game itself. It is a secondary-school game that would have had kids under 16 and 17 looking on at this. It is not nice,” Murray said.