Arima North Secondary has paid the ultimate price for its use of trio Josiah Joseph, and brothers Leonardo and Leandro Da Costa in the Championship Division of the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL).
Yesterday the SSFL's Credential Committee, after more than a week of deliberations, adjudged that the trio could not play in the League as form four transfer repeat.
The committee which included Azaard Khan, Gerald Elliot and Laurence Seepersad, appeared to have exercised a silent rule which gave it the power to interpret the SSFL rules in incidences such as this one.
The rule regarding repeat states clearly states that students returning to school after the CSEC exams must have at least two subjects. Joseph, a past student of Success Laventille has one, while the Da Costas also possesses a pass each.
Travis Mulraine, the Arima coach argued that the school did not break any rules of the schools league, as the students were taken into form four on a legitimate repeat, aimed at assisting the players to attain their qualifications.
Only recently a former supervisor of the Ministry of Education, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, dismissed talks of a form four repeat, saying there is no such thing. "The only way a student can repeat anywhere in the school system is if he/she has not yet taken the CSEC exam. After that one can only repeat in form five," the source explained.
With the ruling the 'Dial Dynamos', a football giant in the east zone for many years in the top flight, have now had all its points taken away, leaving it on zero points after nine round of matches. The school was comfortably in the second position at the beginning of the week, but SSFL officials have now decided that all its opponents for the season will be awarded three points and 3-0 victories for the illegal use of the players.
Guardian Media Sports learnt that the committee also agreed to keep the students in the school system at form four. However, the decision for them to enter form five next year will rest in the hands of Arima North principal Vishnu Debe to convince Ministry of Education officials to allow them to sit CSEC a second time on a 'special case' scenario.
Otherwise, come next year, the trio will have to seek entry into a private educational institution or to go through the January/June procedure to take the exams on their own.
William Wallace, the SSFL president described the matter like a strange one but insisted his organisation still has to stand firm on its constitution. "All we have done really is stay to our rules. Where our rules are not stated, the SSFL has the right to rule, as stated in our constitution," Wallace noted.
He explained that while the Ministry of Education has the authority to allow students in school at any level and at any length of time, the SSFL is guided by its own laws.
Contacted Mulraine said disappointingly that all his school's hard work has gone down the drain. He blamed it on the reluctance of teachers at the school to take in footballers on repeat, saying one of their best players opted to go to Valencia Secondary because of this situation.
Meanwhile, Holy Cross College, the school that lodged the appeal against Arima, has increased its lead on the standings to 19 points after eight matches, five ahead of its closest rival Malabar on 14 points, with one round of games to go.
Holy Cross is now assured of a place in the Champion of Champions play-off at the end of the season.
Matches where points were deducted:
11/9/18 Arima North vs El Dorado East, the original result was 4-0 Arima. New Result, 3-0 for El Dorado
14/9/18 Malabar Sec vs Arima North, the original result was 5-0 Arima. New Result 3-0 for Malabar
18/9/18 Arima North vs Holy Cross, original result was 3-3. New result 3-0 Holy Cross.
21/9/18 S/Grande Sec vs Arima North. Original result 8-0 for Arima. New result 3-0 Sangre Grande.
25/9/18 Arima North vs El Dorado West. Original Result 3-0 Arima. New result 3-0 El Dorado West.
SOURCE: T&T Guardian