QPCC will continue their campaign for all four Republic Cup National Youth Football League (NYFL) trophies after the Parkites survived a protest by Crown Trace FC against the uniforms worn by the former club’s under-15 team on Tuesday afternoon.
The QPCC U-15s, as the away team, wore at least three different colour bibs on the field at the same time during their 4-2 win over Crown Trace in a quarterfinal affair at the Republic Bank Sports Ground in Barataria.
Crown Trace director and head coach Nicholas Griffith said his players were confused by one of the bibs worn by an opponent and claimed the confusion cost his team a goal scoring opportunity.
However, Gateway Athletics managing director Shem Alexander declared that the competition’s disciplinary committee chairman Michael Ragoonath, the TTFA head of referees, was not sufficiently swayed by Griffith’s argument.
“The decision of the disciplinary committee is that no disciplinary action will be taken in this matter,” stated Alexander. “Additionally, the game between Crown Trace FC and QPCC Boys’ Under 15 will not be replayed.”
The QPCC Under-15 team will now face Union Hall United FC in a semifinal at the Republic Bank Sports Club from 2pm on Saturday 3 June.
Osmond Downer, a former senior Fifa referee and referee assessor at the 1999 Fifa Women’s World Cup final, said he understood the ruling of match referee Tevon La Rose and the disciplinary committee on the QPCC matter.
However, he stressed, that the verdict did not mean QPCC were right.
Downer explained that referees are advised not to abandon games for “simple things”. And, ultimately, La Rose had to decide whether QPCC’s contrasting bibs were affecting the match.
“The referee used his discretion, as he is entitled to so long as the uniforms are not interfering with the game,” said Downer. “[…] Were the colours so different that a player might mistake one player? Did it affect the game?
“[…] If it is not causing confusion, the play can continue… It is the referee’s call!”
As an example of an illegal action that a referee might declare to be “minor”, Downer pointed to Lionel Messi’s second goal of the 2022 Fifa World Cup final.
As Argentina moved into a scoring position, two of their supporters encroached on the field of play. It was illegal and France subsequently protested the result, after Argentina prevailed on kicks from the penalty mark. However, Argentina were allowed to retain the World Cup title.
“The substitute broke the laws of the game by encroaching on the field of play for one of Argentina’s goals,” said Downer, “[…] but the referee did not see it and they must have decided that it was too minor and did not affect the game whatsoever and therefore they allowed the goal to stand.
“[…] The decision stood in spite of the videos [of the Argentina goals].”
Paradoxically, Downer declared that, although QPCC won the protest, they were wrong—and the Crown Trace coach was right, on a point of law.
“According to the strict rule of the law, the regulations of the tournament were certainly broken by Queen’s Park,” said Downer. “They did not abide by the laws of the game or the regulations of the tournament—because it said the games would be played in keeping with the laws of the game, according to Fifa.
“[…] If the committee wanted to really ensure discipline, the committee could have or should have easily ruled that the game be replayed, in keeping with the laws of the game. But the referee used his discretion and I suppose the committee used theirs too.
“But one could wonder if it was a team with a different status, if the committee would have decided differently.”
The NYFL competition continues this weekend, with 16 teams competing for the Under-13, Under-15, Under-17, and Under-20 crowns.
QPCC are the best-represented local club still active with four teams in the competition, while Pro Series, Cox Coaching School, and Premier Sports Club are all challenging silverware in two divisions.
Republic Cup NYFL Semifinal Round
(Saturday 3 June)
FC Ginga vs QPCC, 2pm, Republic Bank Sports Club,
Cardinals FA vs Cox Coaching School, 4pm, Republic Bank Sports Club,
(Sunday 4 June)
Union Hall United FC vs QPCC, 2pm, Republic Bank Sports Club,
Cox Coaching School vs Pro Series, 4pm, Republic Bank Sports Club,
(Saturday 3 June)
QPCC vs Premier Sports Club, 9am, St Mary’s College Grounds;
Pro Series vs Point Fortin Youth Academy, 11am, St Mary’s College Grounds;
(Sunday 4 June)
Defence Force vs Malick Blue Lions, 9am, St Mary’s College Grounds;
Premier Sports Club vs QPCC, 11am, St Mary’s College Grounds.