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East Mucurapo lose appeal over ineligible player; SSFL Premier Division on tenterhooks

Dark and stormy days could lie ahead for East Mucurapo Secondary’s football team—and they do not involve the inclement weather or their impending North Zone Intercol semifinal against St Anthony’s College.

Mucurapo’s problems could run much deeper than that. The 2014 National Intercol champions are currently holding on to their Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division life by the proverbial thread, after the league’s appeal committee yesterday upheld an earlier decision by the disciplinary committee.

Photo East Mucurapo midfielder Joshua Constantine (centre) shows his studs as he goes for the ball while St Benedict's College midfielder Kristoff Burkett (second from left) has second thoughts during SSFL Premier Division action at Mucurapo Road on 6 October 2016. (Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)
Photo East Mucurapo midfielder Joshua Constantine (centre) shows his studs as he goes for the ball while St Benedict’s College midfielder Kristoff Burkett (second from left) has second thoughts during SSFL Premier Division action at Mucurapo Road on 6 October 2016.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

And the SSFL’s view is that Mucurapo player, Abdus Ramcharan, was ineligible to represent his school.

Ramcharan, a slender and dogged operator at the back, did not meet the SSFL’s pass criteria for aspiring Sixth Form footballers. And now, due to insufficient background checks by team management and school staff—or the combination of both—Mucurapo have lost telling Premier Division points, as their 2-1 win over St Benedict’s College on October 6 was overturned after a protest by the southern outfit.

“The decision of the disciplinary committee has been upheld so it means that the only other option Mucurapo has now is to take it to Arbitration if they are not happy with the decision of the appeal committee,” SSFL Assistant Secretary Admin Gerald Elliot told Wired868.

In an earlier interview, Elliot explained how Mucurapo landed themselves into trouble.

“Contrary to our Rules and Regulations, based on the overtures of the principal, the Ministry [of Education] allowed the boy to go into Form 6 with only three subjects, where he now has to focus on writing the other two subjects probably in January. Our rules clearly state that for you to play the football and [be] entering [into] Form 6, you must have a minimum of four subjects. So it is on that basis the committee ruled the player was ineligible to participate as a player in the league.”

Photo: East Mucurapo substitute Jelani Ferary (#9) tries to drive his shot past the entire Signal Hill squad during SSFL Premier Division action at Moka on 14 September 2016. Signal Hill held on for a 2-1 win. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: East Mucurapo substitute Jelani Ferary (#9) tries to drive his shot past the entire Signal Hill squad during SSFL Premier Division action at Moka on 14 September 2016.
Signal Hill held on for a 2-1 win.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Mucurapo, who finished 10th in the 15-team standings with 15 points, have now dropped to 11th spot with Benedict’s taking their previous place in the table after their successful protest.

As it stands, Mucurapo will remain in the SSFL top flight with Fatima College, Pleasantville Secondary and Queen’s Royal College still staring at relegation.

However, this can change dramatically if Ramcharan is found to have played in other matches for Mucurapo. And, in a previous interview, Mucurapo coach Dale Saunders admitted that the teenaged defender was used on multiple occasions this season.

“[This ruling] also clears the way for the other part of the decision which is [to check] if the boy would have played in any other games,” Elliot said.

The SSFL’s Assistant Secretary Admin did not give a timeline for the league’s final decision on Mucurapo’s fate. But Pleasantville, Fatima and San Juan North Secondary will be watching very keenly.

Photo: Giant East Mucurapo captain Akquinde Marslin (left) tries to turn past a Signal Hill opponent during SSFL Premier Division action at Moka on 14 September 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Giant East Mucurapo captain Akquinde Marslin (left) tries to turn past a Signal Hill opponent during SSFL Premier Division action at Moka on 14 September 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

If it is found that Ramcharan played a part in all of the games which yielded results for “Compre” this season, then Pleasantville and Fatima would make a dramatic ‘U’ turn while San Juan North and Mucurapo will plummet into the relegation zone with QRC.

Saunders said he was shocked to learn of Ramcharan’s ineligibility while team manager Jimmy Arthur was confident that his school had done nothing wrong.

Is Mucurapo’s coach or manager to blame? Or does the buck stop with the school supervisor?

Veteran St Anthony’s College coach Nigel Grosvenor said rules must be followed.

“This situation with Mucurapo is very unfortunate [because] some schools still have this feeling that once the Ministry [of Education] says you’re in the school you’re supposed to play,” Grosvenor told Wired868. “But you must have certain cutoffs and rules and regulations from the league. We have no problems with the Ministry giving a boy a chance [at further schooling] but you must have a cut-off point where the league is concerned.

Photo: East Mucurapo Secondary coach Dale Saunders (centre) gives instructions during SSFL Premier Division action against Signal Hill at Moka on 14 September 2016. Signal Hill won 2-1. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: East Mucurapo Secondary coach Dale Saunders (centre) gives instructions during SSFL Premier Division action against Signal Hill at Moka on 14 September 2016.
Signal Hill won 2-1.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

“What the league has said is that once you’re in Sixth Form, you can get four passes and above. It was five but they dropped it to four passes.

“If you have four passes you can be in Sixth Form and play. This player had three. So what will happen next year? Players would have two and one?”

Grosvenor also offered a few tips for those at the SSFL front office.

“This is a league where we are more or less professional. This is the professional league of secondary school football. The administration must take things seriously. They want us to walk with traveling kits and the ground must be of a certain standard and this and that. Well fine, but the administrators must be professional too.

“They’re supposed to check these things before the season start. You can’t blame the teams and so on. You must check these things. They took things for granted. They gave them the registration forms, and it’s probably too much for one person to check. They must have a committee to check credentials and not just one person. They have to do things a little more professional.”

Photo: St Benedict's College midfielder Jaycee Paras (right) tries to turn on an East Mucurapo Secondary opponent during SSFL Premier Division action at Mucurapo Road on 6 October 2016. (Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)
Photo: St Benedict’s College midfielder Jaycee Paras (right) tries to turn on an East Mucurapo Secondary opponent during SSFL Premier Division action at Mucurapo Road on 6 October 2016.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

Elliot said that, as far as he is aware, East Mucurapo are the only school under investigation for breaching the SSFL’s rules at present.

About Roneil Walcott

Roneil Walcott
Roneil Walcott is an avid sports fan and freelance reporter with a BA in Mass Communication from COSTAATT. Roneil is a former Harvard and St Mary's College cricketer who once had lofty aspirations of bringing joy to sport fans with the West Indies team. Now, his mission is to keep them on the edge of their seats with sharp commentary from off the playing field.

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45 comments

  1. .. It is really disappointing when our educators, principals and secondary schools encourage these boys to lie and cheat.. all in the name of donations for their football programs.. not even a real interest in the future of these young men.. but it also occurs when you put a 10 year old to play with 8 year old children because he’s small in size and no one is checking birth certificates.. all about that win ?

  2. lasana that is how the ncaa does do it in the us you have 2 register with their clearing house before you can be eligible 2 represent your school that is basic common sense oh geeeezzzzz

  3. so when you go 2 register a player you should show a copy of his cxc subjects and his transcripts so that it will comfim the player”s eligibilty

  4. no player should be allowed into form 6 with 4 passes

  5. At least he is attending the school what about those who only goes to school on training and match days and at the end of the season they gone.

  6. For me, the SSFL should be a privilege and not a right for students. They are free to play intramural competition. But I won’t be against rules for being able to play in the SSFL competition.
    I’d admit that my thinking is selfish though. Because I’m thinking about what’s best for local football rather than the students having a gay old time.
    My first rule would be all players should be under 18.
    If you’re 18 and above in school, you should have bigger priorities than Intercol.

  7. The Ministry of Education has no policy on Sports in Schools ,not in relation to teachers,students,finance,infrastructure.

  8. I understand what you meant. What I am saying that I agree with the SSFL on this rule. Even if the Ministry allows you entry there should be some strict academic rules that must be followed. I would even support the SSFL if they implement attendance rules as well

  9. Aaron Pollard..you probably didn’t read what I said… so I’ll say again..I think it’s REDICULOUS that you can enter 6th form with three subjects….rediculous. .but if that’s the MINISTRY’S policy then how can the SSFL set a higher standard to play?…
    How can one be a student of a school but not be allowed to play because of academia when he has met the academic requirement to enter the school?

  10. Shaun I beg to differ. The SSFL and other local secondary school sport leagues have those type of rules to ensure that they eligible players remain students first. Without those rules anyone can be admitted into school without really being a functioning student. There will also be cases where school supervisors allow a student into Form 6 under some frivilous case just to allow the student the opportunity to play sport fully well knowing that the student is not ready for Advanced Level CXC. The NCAA has similar guidelines. You may be accepted into a US University but not eligible to play in the NCAA tournaments. Remember these are supposed to be Students first

  11. I also think the MINISTRY need to monitor these schools over time and follow these guys graduation and performance rates with SANCTIONS for not achieving a minimum standard

  12. The ONLY requirement that the SSFL SHOULD HAVE is whether you attend the school and your age

  13. How can the league have differing rules from the ministry? Now the ministry allowing people into sixth form with three subjects is another issue but as far as I’m concerned once he is a student registered in the school he should be allowed to play

  14. If a team plays an ineligible player then it means they broke the rules to gain an unfair advantage on its opponents. The assumption has to be made that in the games where that unfair advantage was obtained their opponent may have done better if the ‘cheating’ team did not have the ineligible player, The fair thing to do is to either assume that the opponent would have won if the cheating team did not have the advantage or to disqualify the team altogether and discount all games in the league where they played. To do otherwise would be unfair to those teams that played against the ineligible player. In this case the SSFL has specific rules to deal with the situation which is that the opponent is awarded a 3-0 win where a team is found to have fielded an ineligible player. Therefore the league can only do one thing and apply the rules. The hope is that in the future all schools will take elibility rules more seriously,

  15. I feel that there should be dome uniform standard for student eligibility that is set by znd agreed upon by the Ministry of Education as well as Sport via the various individual bodies. There can’t be one requirement for academic competitions, another for football, yet another for cricket and still another for others extracurricular competition. Not that it has ever happened but a student ineligible for football should not be simultaneously eligible for Chess or the Maths Olympiad.

  16. http://www.espnfc.com/world-cup-qualifying-conmebol/story/2986350/bolivia-forfeit-two-world-cup-qualifiers-for-fielding-ineligible-player

    And for those who are unaware of regular protocol for ineligible players you’ll can see that even in WC qualifying once you break the rules you have to face that fate!

  17. You can try to investigate players like Cori Cupid #23 who played this year for Presentation who entered Secondary school in 2008 ! How is he still playing now being his ninth year in school after leaving Trinity Moka ?? San Juan North has a player who again is on his second repeat either coming from an outside school and repeating the form he was previously in then repeating form5 or repeating form 6 Tyrell Cameron!
    Now you’ll saying just relegate Mucurapo along with the two other teams in the cellar positions but rules are rules and if a player is illegible and a team fielded him whether they were aware or not they should lose all the points they gained in those games as natural protocol! Seeing that the committee already made that decision for one school then it should go straight across the board for the rest of schools !

  18. Separate rules for SSFL eligibility probably should mean there are people from League who will confirm I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed for each registration submitted.

  19. What I am saying is that the SSFL needs more human resources to deal with and track eligibility. With a body in place this could have been caught much earlier. Are saying that the SSFL still doesn’t need help?

  20. Aaron what would you do f the Principal sign and stamp a document saying the boy is a genuine student attending school but the Coach has him in his Lifesport program. .

  21. Unfortunate, but I’m sure there’s other situations of this out there

  22. I am pretty certain there have been other schools with this issue..

  23. Who are the Coaches and Administrators? Just asking.

  24. In 2014 I spoke to a top official at the SSFL about this eligibility issue in the newly formed Premier League. I told him that there are rumors of schools knowingly and unknowingly breaking the rules of player eligibility. I offered myself to work (and possibly head) on a committee freely and impartially to assist with this since it was clear that the SSFL didn’t have the man power or the time to manage this process. I told him that the league has to protect itself from these issues….2 years later I am still waiting on a response

  25. I find that others team should not get demoted for mocurapo issue with the player that school should get disqualify i find because they break the rules mocurapo an the last two team on the table should be out some players fight hard not for their school to get demoted an the league has done they do research on mocurapo player an want to demote other other school that fight hard to stay in top flight action

  26. Rules are rules but how did St. Benedict’s know about this player’s eligibility? Why wouldn’t a north zone school have known and protested beforehand? Why wouldn’t the league have advised of the ineligible player within days of being handed his registration form? Something isn’t adding up here..

  27. Well Lasana….time for you to really investigate the SSFL and some schools now….now is the time….and the young man did play against Fatima I have him on video…..

  28. It would be unfair for SJ to be demoted. Simply demote Mucarapo and the bottom 2 and be done with it.

  29. What about students in school being able to play during their second repeat ( either when they transfer at a young age they go back in the same form they was in at their previous school and then repeat form 5 or they repeat both form 5 and form 6) ! From previous rules you should not be able to play football in your second repeat ! From what I was told we may have a couple players in the league that have done that this year ! Shouldpoints also be deducted from these teams for fielding these players in games???

    • Lasana Liburd

      Clearly more vigilance is needed to keep teams honest. I say apply the rules where applicable and then let’s learn from this for next season.