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Oops… UTT top table but Cunupia win NSL Championship due to overlooked rule

In a scenario that could be likened to the Miss Universe debacle involving host and comedian Steve Harvey last year, the National Super League (NSL) administrators were forced to backtrack on their initial announcement of the Championship Division’s winner.

And, three days after the final ball was kicked, Cunupia FC replaced the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) as the official Championship king and sole promoted team to the Premiership Division, which is effectively the country’s second division.

Photo: Cunupia attacker Eduardo Guedes, one of two Brazilians in their squad, celebrates his strike against Prisons FC in 2015 CNG Super League action at the Youth Training Facility, Arouca. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Cunupia attacker Eduardo Guedes, one of two Brazilians in their squad, celebrates his strike against Prisons FC in 2015 CNG Super League action at the Youth Training Facility, Arouca.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

On Saturday, UTT and Cunupia both finished the Championship season with 32 points. However, UTT, who are coached by former Strike Squad captain Clayton “JB” Morris, had a superior goal differential.

All Sport Promotions representative Richard Piper sent out a congratulatory message to the UTT players and staff following their weekend 2-1 victory over Tobago outfit Youth Stars.

“Special Congratulations to Team UTT on their first Championship Division title which affords them automatic promotion to the Premiership Division next season,” said Piper, via e-mail at 7.49pm on Saturday 3 December. “Hats off to [coach] Clayton “JB” Morris, [manager] Nicholas Lochan and the rest of their entire organization.”

The first sign of trouble for UTT came just after noon on Sunday 4 December, as Cunupia coach Michael De Four sent a follow-up email, which pointed to a rule that appeared to be overlooked by all parties.

Article 17, section 4 of the Super League’s Rules and Regulations states: “Ranking shall be determined by the greater number of points in all the matches. If two or more teams are equal on the basis of the above criterion, their ranking shall be determined as follows…”

Photo: Cunpia FC coach Michael De Four. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Cunpia FC coach Michael De Four.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

And Article 17, Section 4 ‘B’ further states that the ranking be decided by: “Greater number of points obtained in the matches between the teams concerned.”

Cunupia FC trumped UTT 2-1 in their first meeting on 20 August, while the teams battled to a 1-1 draw in the return fixture on 19 November.

And, after discussions between the tournament organisers, All Sport Promotion, and the Super League’s Technical Director, Wayne Caesar, a new champion was announced.

“The Technical Director today declared officially, Cunupia Football Club as the winners of the 2016 NSL Championship Division,” stated the All Sport release. “There was some confusion over the weekend when a release on the final round of matches congratulated UTT on becoming champions, but this was not verified by the Technical Director, Wayne Caesar at that time.”

All Sport further explained that head-to-head criteria has been the League’s second tiebreaker—after points—since an amendment in 2005 and has not been altered since.

Photo: UTT midfielder Ricaldo Castellano (centre) holds off a QPCC opponent during 2015 CNG NSL Championship Division action at UTT Grounds, Arima. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: UTT midfielder Ricaldo Castellano (centre) holds off a QPCC opponent during 2015 CNG NSL Championship Division action at UTT Grounds, Arima.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

UTT coach, Morris, offered no comment on the about-turn, other than to say that the team’s lawyers will look into the matter today.

In the Premiership Division, there were a couple of surprises too, although none could top what occurred in the Championship.

The top-of-the-table pair of Sports and Games FC Santa Rosa and Defence Force both stumbled, as Rosa fell to a 4-2 defeat to Matura Re United, while Defence Force drew 2-2 with Petrotrin Palo Seco.

The Keith Look Loy-coached Santa Rosa team would have clinched the Premiership crown with a victory, but Matura did not want any champagne popping on their watch as they whipped the leaders at the Larry Gomes Stadium. The hosts stormed into a 3-nil inside 50 minutes and, although Rosa registered two quick strikes from Rashad Griffith and Keston Henry, an 82nd minute goal by Kerin Vincent effectively killed off the contest.

The Army/Coast Guard combination did little to help their case for a title defence in Palo Seco, as they conceded two late goals before being held to a stalemate by Petrotrin. Just like they did against Siparia Spurs on 27 November, last season’s Premiership champs let a vital lead slip at the death.

Photo: Defence Force midfielder Josimar Belgrave (right) tries to elude a Tobago FC Phoenix 1976 player during 2015/16 CNG National Super League action at the Canaan Recreation Grounds, Tobago. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Defence Force midfielder Josimar Belgrave (right) tries to elude a Tobago FC Phoenix 1976 player during 2015/16 CNG National Super League action at the Canaan Recreation Grounds, Tobago.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Perhaps the title has slipped out of their grasps too.

On Sunday 11 December the Army/Coast Guard combination will host Guaya United, the team they narrowly edged to last year’s Premiership crown. The feisty Guaya crew will surely make life difficult for the hosts.

Meanwhile, a win for Santa Rosa against Real Maracas will give the “Rosa Nation” a Christmas title to cherish.

At the foot of the table, last season’s Championship winners Queen’s Park Cricket Club, showed their intent to stay in the top flight as they defeated fellow strugglers Marabella Family Crisis Centre a 2-0 margin at Guaracara Park.

The bottom-two clubs will be relegated to the Championship, and QPCC’s crucial away win sees them jump to 12th spot in the 14-team table with 25 points.

Bethel, who are the current Super League Knockout champs, dropped into the relegation zone after being on the wrong end of a 6-1 beating by WASA FC in St Joseph. Bethel are in 13th spot with 23 points while the Championship-bound Marabella sit in last spot with 17 points.

Photo: Bethel United defender and former Trinidad and Tobago Senior National Team player. (Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)
Photo: Bethel United defender and former Trinidad and Tobago Senior National Team player.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

Full NSL release:

(Cunupia  declared winners of the Super League Championship Division)

The Technical Director today declared officially, Cunupia Football Club as the winners of the 2016 NSL Championship Division.

There was some confusion over the weekend when a release on the final round of matches congratulated UTT on becoming champions, but this was not verified by the Technical Director, Wayne Caesar, at that time.

Cunupia and UTT both secured 32 points during the league season, with UTT having a better goal difference. However since 2005, the National Super League changed its regulations after a final round game the previous year had yielded 21 goals. The clubs and then technical director, agreed on the change from 2005 giving as the second tie breaker, head to head (meaning results of the games between the two teams tied at the end of the league).

Goal Difference has been the 5th tie breaker since then. There has been no revision of the regulations since 2005 nor has the NSL been required to use the tie break system. These regulations are contained in article 17 of the TTFA National Super League rules and regulations.

There was no query raised on the tie break system at the traditional start of season briefing, this year.

Meanwhile the National Super League also advises that there is one outstanding matter to be determined by the TTFA Disciplinary committee which may impact on the third place in this year’s competition. This is a matter between Saddle Hill Hotspurs and Petit Valley/Diego Martin United FC.

The management of the NSL congratulates Cunupia FC and apologises unreservedly to UTT for frustrating their hopes of a first league title.

Photo: National Super League logo.
Photo: National Super League logo.

NSL Championship Division Results 

(Wednesday 30 November)

UTT 8 (Kevaughn Connell 8, 32, 55, Dillon Bartholomew 17, 37, 73, Theon James 23, Shaquille Smith 84), Saddle Hill Hotspur 3 (Stern John 58, Andre Rampersad 80, Hector Sam 82) at UTT, O’Meara;

Barrackpore United SC 5 (Jesse Downing 3, 12, Mikheil Peters 56, Anton Charles 83, Renaldo Jack 85), Prisons FC 2 (Andy Alves 45, 87) at Barrackpore Recreation Ground;

(Saturday 3 December)

Youth Stars 1 (Akeel Sterling 11), UTT 2 (Dillon Bartholomew 3, Shaquille Smith 63) at Cyd Gray Complex, Roxborough;

TT Prisons 5 (Anthony Parris 30, Andy Alves 57, Roland Walcott Jr 65, Kerry Frederick 73, 81), Central 500 Spartans 2 (Keron Alexander 15, Donavon Derrick 74) at YTC, Arouca;

Saddle Hill Hotspur vs Petit Valley/Diego Martin United;

*–Game was abandoned in the 73rd minute of play with Petit Valley/Diego Martin United FC leading 4-3;

Barrackpore United SC were on a Bye.

Photo: Guaya United captain Erskine Johnson (right) tries in vain to stop a cross from reaching Matura ReUnited goal scorer Dorian Robinson during 2015/16 CNG NSL Premiership Division action in Matura. (Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/WIred868)
Photo: Guaya United captain Erskine Johnson (right) tries in vain to stop a cross from reaching Matura ReUnited goal scorer Dorian Robinson during 2015/16 CNG NSL Premiership Division action in Matura.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/WIred868)

NSL Premiership Division results 

(Sunday 4 December)

Guaya United 3 (Jody Allsop 39, Kevin Jagdeosingh 45, 78), Siparia Spurs 1 (Andy London 21) at New Lands Ground, Guayaguayare;

WASA FC 6 (Own Goal 18, Nathan Julien 40, Kirth Hutchinson 42, Gary Glasgow 52, Dwight Crichlow 65, Glen Walker 90), Bethel United 1 (Akeel Scott 61) at WASA St Joseph;

Club Sando Moruga 2 (Kyle Morgan 90+1, Nigel John 90+3), 1976 FC Phoenix 2 (Dominique Kerr 2, 75) at Grand Chemin Recreation Ground;

Real Maracas 1 (Marvin Oliver 58), Police 0 at Maracas Valley Recreation Ground;

Matura Re United 4 (Shervin Charles 32, Joel Hoyte 36, Kerin Vincent 49, 82), Sports and Games FC Santa Rosa 2 (Rashad Griffith 57, Keston Henry 61) at Larry Gomes Stadium;

Petrotrin Palo Seco 2 (Tigana Sparks 80, Brent Garcia 82), Defence Force 2 (Stephan Antoine 23, Akil Morris 35) at Palo Seco Velodrome;

Marabella Family Crisis Centre 0, QPCC 2 (Jared Bennett 19, Kevaughn John 76) at Guaracara Park;

Photo: Prisons FC's Lance Haynes (left) tries to escape from Petrotrin Palo Seco's Wilian Garcia in 2015 CNG NSL KO semifinal action. (Courtesy Kerlon Orr/Wired868)
Photo: Prisons FC’s Lance Haynes (left) tries to escape from Petrotrin Palo Seco’s Wilian Garcia in 2015 CNG NSL KO semifinal action.
(Courtesy Kerlon Orr/Wired868)

Upcoming NSL Premiership Division Fixtures 

(Sunday 11 December)

Police FC vs QPCC, 3:30pm, St James Barracks;

1976 FC Phoenix vs Marabella Family Crisis Centre, 5pm;

Bethel United vs Club Sando Moruga, 6pm, Mount Gomery Recreation Ground;

Sports and Games FC Santa Rosa vs Real Maracas, 5pm, Marvin Lee Stadium;

Siparia Spurs vs Matura Re United, 5pm, Irwin Park, Siparia;

Defence Force vs Guaya United, 3:30pm, Defence Force Headquarters, Chaguaramas;

WASA FC vs Petrotrin Palo Seco, 3:30pm, WASA, St Joseph.

AboutR.Walcott

R.Walcott
Roneil Walcott is a Journalism and Public Relations student at COSTAATT and a freelancer at Wired868. Walcott is an avid sports fan and former Harvard Cricket Clinic member and ex-St. Mary’s College cricket player.

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34 comments

  1. I blame the administrators fully for this mess. As everyone from njisane to hart to thema… Amateurs running sports on a part time basis and making decisions that affect athletes adversely with no repercussions

  2. All this is bullshit firstly taking away our points and goals now to this, I am totally disgusted by this amature league and officials.

  3. Zayah Mejias Theon James Dwayne Nicome Stefon Barca Pierre Kevaughn Connell

  4. ..OOPS. To forestall the independently organized meeting of Super League clubs on 14 December, the TTFA has just invited clubs to a meeting to discuss “the future of the league” on 13 December. LOL. The game goes on..

  5. ..Exactly. A TEN-year precedent..

  6. ..I have no horse in this race, but All Sport Promotions has mismanaged this situation and in the process made itself appear to be guided by anti-UTT bias. (PLEASE note that I am NOT saying they hold any such bias. Rather, their actions lead some to conclude such). Let me explain. This begins with the “withdrawal” of Carenage United from the league with merely two matches left. At that point ASP decided to “delete” the points won by any team against Carenage in the competition’s second round. UTT was adversely affected by this as its points and goals against that club were removed from the league standings. I intervened by advising ASP that both English FL regulations AND the TTFA constitution state that a member may “resign” ONLY at the end of the current season and ONLY after fulfilling all obligations to the parent body. I made the point, therefore, that Carenage should be considered a league member until the season ended and that their remaining opponents should be awarded the standard three goals and three points for a default. ASP promptly restored the second round record of all Carenage opponents. Now comes this. ASP states that use of the “head to head” rule has been in effect since 2005. When I queried last evening why clubs tied on points have been separated by goal difference ever since 2005 in the IN-SEASON and final standings, including last season when my club FC Santa Rosa was was declared seventh behind WASA FC (both having 40 points but WASA having a +2 superior goal difference) I was advised this was an error. This makes every final standings since 2005 that has separated teams on the basis of goal difference – ALL TEN OF THEM – null and void. This head to head rule was so esoteric that not even league administrators applied it for TEN seasons. My REAL point here (and to ASP) is that league rues should not have been concocted and introduced in the dark – for whatever reason. In FIFA, and across the world of football, tied teams are separated by goal difference. If there are suspicions of match fixing – that is what we have match commissioner and referee reports for. In any event, the proper procedure is to discuss any change of regulation wit the clubs. Finally, I consider this mess more evidence of the need for the Super League clubs to self-organize into a proper TTFA-affiliated league, as the competition is now, and has always been, merely a competition (like the FA Cup, which we will not have this season, but that is another issue) – and not a legally constituted league. Steps are now underway to correct this and the clubs have a meeting scheduled for 14 December to adopt a proposed constitution..

  7. How come two teams being relegated but only one being promoted? They changing the number of teams in the league or is it to make room for PFL teams on the way down?

  8. Scotty Ranking

    In which serious football league does head-to-head results count more than goal difference and goals scored? Wow … I guess people are content to win by anomaly rather than ability.

  9. Steve Harvey announced the winner

    • Lol. I feel for UTT. Clearly they didn’t know what the criteria was.

    • It was a little shady that they score that many goals in the penultimate game though, armed with knowing Cunupia’s goal difference already

    • That’s why the better decider in these situations is head to head results. .. If head to head even then check goal difference

    • Or they simply but pedal to the floor. Manchester United get five a couple times. Roma got seven from Barca.
      I can’t judge just based on the score line.
      And I won’t believe that World Cup winner Stern John helped throw a third division football match.

    • Yes… we put pedal to the floor! Rain fell day before & that day and any coach/player who knows UTT’s field knows it takes lots of adjusting to when wet. We knew Saddle Hill would be caught by surprise on a weekday match. Last year when we were pushing for prize money as 3rd placed, in same penultimate game we did the same to 2015 Champs Queen’s Park FC with a 7-1 win [same conditions]

    • ..Head to head tells the story of two matches between the clubs. Goal difference tells the story of the entire season and confirms which was the more consistent team..

    • Kion S Williams btw utt defeated that same saddle hill team 5-2 first round could have Easley been 8 too

    • Kevaughn bro, I’m not questioning yours or the teams integrity and everyone know that it have no money in local football so match fixing is not in the equation. What I was trying to point out is that knowing in advance how many goals you need to score would give a team an advantage in how to approach a game. While I know it is tough to lose the title in this way, the league needs to recognize that there is a reason the last games are all played at the same time. Congrats on the hattrick and the good season all the same

    • Keith Look Loy I think Spain use head to head and Italy use a playoff when teams tied on points. So everybody has their own method of deciding. At least it better than not having a tiebreaker a la Sangre Grande Regional Corporation

    • ..I hear you. But that is not my point. I am saying 1) the tie breaker rule should be introduced after discussion by all, not hidden in the dark, and 2) for the entire life of the NSL, even after the supposed introduction of this head to head rule in 2005, ties have always been broken by goal dofference. The league administrators never applied the head to head. To call it up after twelve years is a joke..

    • Kion S Williams well then you should word your sentences more appropriately, ‘shady’ sounds like you are suggesting some kind of dishonesty on my teams part. Also at no time utt had any advantage, our goals and points were taken away and we were force to play a game during the week. Since I know the game of football coming down to the later stages in all leagues teams push harder knowing every goal counts. It So happen that saddle hill get a nice licking and it’s ‘shady’ lol anyways atleast we could agree on one thing a good season ??Kion S Williams