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Shiva Boys relegated after SSFL rejects identity theft argument for second illegitimate player

Defending champions Shiva Boys Hindu College will be relegated from the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division at the end of the 2017 season, after their latest alleged administrative failing left the “Penal Princes” adrift at the bottom of the 15 team standings.

After hearings at Carapichaima East Secondary yesterday, the SSFL’s Disciplinary and Appeals Committees ruled that Shiva Boys be docked a combined total of 14 points for failing to properly register two players, central midfielder Kierron Mason and left-back Matthew Beal.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College midfielder Kierron Mason in action against Fatima College during SSFL action at Mucurapo Road on 30 September 2017.
(Courtesy Annalisa Caruth/Wired868)

The ruling means Shiva Boys plunge from fourth place to last with a total of just nine points; and they have no chance of avoiding relegation on the closing day of the season tomorrow.

The beneficiaries near the foot of the table are Trinity College Moka and St Benedict’s College, who will both avoid the drop now. At the top of the table, meanwhile, Presentation College (San Fernando) go two points clear after their 3-0 on-the-field loss to Shiva Boys on 14 October became a 3-0 triumph in the boardroom.

Ironically, all three teams with a chance to clinch the title on Saturday—Presentation, St Anthony’s College and Naparima College—all benefitted from protests against Shiva Boys. The defending champions had defeated “Naps” and “Pres” and drawn 2-2 with the “Westmoorings Tigers.”

Today’s boardroom ruling centred on a Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) outing by Mason for Marabella Family Crisis Centre on Saturday 2 September; and a Southern Football Association (SFA) match played by Beal for Siparia Angels on the same day, which was 48 hours after the deadline for SSFL players to stop participating in Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA)-affiliated competitions.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College left-back Matthew Beal (right) tries to hold off Trinity College East player Liu Chin during SSFL action in Trincity on 4 October 2017.
(Copyright Kerlon Orr/CA-images/Wired868)

The SSFL Constitution allows for schoolboys who played outside of the deadline to still be registered for its competition. However, schools must request clearance for such players, complete with the relevant paperwork from the league in question.

According to Article 16 of the SSFL Constitution, failure to do so is punishable by “Loss of points or even suspension from further participation in the League for the remainder of the season, as the Disciplinary Committee may decide.”

The Penal-based school had already lost six points this season after successful protests by Naparima College and St Anthony’s College for the improper use of Mason.

Shiva Boys principal Dexter Sakal, who handles the team’s administrative duties alongside manager Sheldon Maharaj, accepted responsibility for the Mason cock-up—which he said was an honest oversight rather than a deliberate attempt to get an advantage over the rest of the field.

His defence of Beal’s name appearing on a Siparia Angels team sheet on 2 September was far more interesting.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College principal Dexter Sakal (left) poses with a football supporter during SSFL Premier Division action against St Mary’s College at Lachoo Road on 19 October 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Sakal told the Disciplinary Committee that it was a case of identity theft. In an effort to strengthen Shiva Boys’ case, he produced another Siparia team sheet, on 23 September, which suggested that Beal had again represented the SFA team during the schoolboys’ season.

On that same day, though, Beal played for Shiva Boys in Moka where they defeated Trinity College Moka 2-0. And Sakal said the left-back was with the school team from about 11am until 9pm when they got back to Penal.

He said it proved the club was in the wrong.

“When we investigated, we realised that [Siparia Angels] had used another player under his name,” Sakal told Wired868. “The boy told us he didn’t play but we were worried until we saw that team list on 23 September. That proved what the club was doing…”

However, the Disciplinary Committee was not convinced that Sakal’s second team sheet was sufficient evidence to invalidate the first document, which suggested that Beal played for Siparia on 2 September.

There was also the matter of Shiva Boys application for Beal’s clearance from the SFA, which was made on 24 October and suggested that he had not been properly registered prior to that. Or does it?

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College team manager Sheldon Maharaj (centre) enquires about the health of right back Ronald Charles (on ground) while captain Judah Garcia and Tyrell “Sexyman” Baptiste look on during SSFL action against St Mary’s College on 30 October 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

“When we thought he had played, we got [the clearance],” said Sakal. “But then we realised there was an error and we didn’t need clearance. The boy always said that he didn’t play but we didn’t know what to think until we saw the second team list.”

It is uncertain whether Sakal will challenge the Disciplinary Committee’s verdict.

Yesterday, he refused to attend the Appeals Committee’s meeting on Mason on the grounds that it was illegal.

On 17 October, a two-man Disciplinary Committee panel, comprising SSFL general secretary Azaad Khan and North Zone secretary Roger Martin, pardoned Shiva Boys for their improper use of Mason throughout September. The decision was not communicated to the general membership.

The SSFL’s letter to Sakal gave its reasons for not deducting points as the Shiva Boys’ apology and acknowledgement that it had flouted the rules as well as the school’s “attempt to immediately procure the transfer certificate.”

Fatima College and Queen’s Royal College (QRC) subsequently protested the decision not to deduct points from Shiva Boys. But Sakal pointed out that the appeal was lodged more than 72 hours after the verdict and contended that, as a result, it should not have been heard.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College midfielder Kierron Mason (background) converts his penalty kick past Fatima College goalkeeper Jacob Camacho during SSFL action at Mucurapo Road on 30 September 2017.
(Courtesy Annalisa Caruth/Wired868)

“There is […] no justification for considering an appeal that is 72 hours late,” said Sakal. “I have written to the League asking that they provide an explanation but none has been provided.

“Given this situation, I feel that the Executive of the League are acting unlawfully and I will not be coerced into attending any appeal (hearing) that is unconstitutionally convened.”

However, Fatima and QRC countered that the timing of their appeal was no fault of theirs as they were not officially informed of the decision until a week after the fact.

SSFL president William Wallace admitted as much in an interview with Wired868 last month.

“Normally, a protest would come from a school and so when the matter is dealt with both schools—the protesting school and the one facing the protest—would be informed after the hearing,”  Wallace said on 25 October. “In this case, no school protested the matter; it was information that was picked up and dealt with directly by the Committee. So they just informed the school that was involved.

Photo: Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) president William Wallace (centre) greets players before kick off in a SSFL match up between Shiva Boys Hindu College and Naparima College at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 8 September 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

“But now that we have a third party interest, we asked [the Disciplinary Committee] to send [its decision] to everybody, especially the two schools who (had) enquired about the status of the matter.”

Whether or not the Disciplinary Committee’s decision was valid in the first place is also open to debate. There are allegations that, to start with, Martin was not a member of the committee while the question has been asked about whether two persons can legally constitute a quorum.

Arguably, Sakal’s position that he would not appeal the Mason decision could spare the SSFL Executive many blushes.

“I don’t feel I should commit my school to that kind of torture for football,” said Sakal. “Whatever happens, I will leave it there. This is a school and not a football club.

“At some point, I have to say enough is enough with the football and the distractions.”

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College coach Hayden Ryan (centre) poses with school supporters after their 3-0 SSFL Premier Division win over St Mary’s College at Lachoo Road on 19 October 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Yet, in the end, it was the Beal case that proved to be the last nail in Shiva Boys’ coffin.

Even if the SSFL had ruled on behalf of Shiva Boys in all three challenges against Mason, Sakal and Maharaj’s failure to prove the whereabouts of their left-back on 2 September would have sunk them anyway since he played—supposedly without proper clearance—in 10 league matches.

Today’s boardroom decision capped off a bizarre season off the field for the schoolboys league and, unquestionably, the most disastrous title defence in the history of the competition.

Things went awry from Shiva Boys first match as ‘they used Mason off the bench in their 2-1 opening win over Naparima College although he had been registered as a student for barely 48 hours before kick-off.

SSFL rules state that players must be registered for at least 72 hours before they can properly compete.

The bigger problem, though, was that Mason’s TTSL outing for Marabella meant he was still unqualified as a player since proper clearance had not been sought by his school.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College players celebrate during SSFL action against St Mary’s College at the Morne Diablo Recreation Ground in Penal on 30 October 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

By the time Sakal and Maharaj caught on and submitted the appropriate paperwork, Shiva Boys had already played eight matches. So the school was forced to continue from there with zero points and just six matches remaining.

There was still opportunity for coach Hayden Ryan’s team to rescue their Premier Division status for the 2018 season by winning their remaining fixtures.

But then, like a thief in the night, came word of Beal’s registration issues. And Shiva Boys were deep in trouble.

Whispers about Beal’s eligibility, Wired868 is aware, had been making the rounds as far back as Monday 1 October. Somehow, it took the rumours three more weeks to get to Penal.

And, by the time Shiva Boys management team sprang into action and cleared the player on 24 October, there were just four games left, that proved to be insufficient time for the Penal Princes to save themselves from the drop.

Belatedly, Sakal argued that Beal didn’t need clearance at all and was the victim of some devious behaviour by his club, Siparia Angels. But he could not convince the SSFL Disciplinary Committee of the truth of his story.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College defender Matthew Beal (left) runs at St Mary’s College midfielder Justin Keith during SSFL action at the Morne Diablo Recreation Ground in Penal on 30 October 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

There is, though, one sliver of hope.

Last season, San Juan North Secondary were set for demotion—based on the standings—but successfully petitioned their fellow teams to ignore the table and vote for them to stay up; they argued that they had been unfairly penalised owing to post-season boardroom decisions against East Mucurapo Secondary and Presentation which negatively affected their final placing.

Sakal and company can follow suit. They might appeal for the sympathy of their colleagues on the grounds that Shiva Boys never sought to cheat but had simply made a mess of the registration process.

If the first school to get wind of the Beal issue had shared the information with Sakal, the Penal school would be in mid-table today. But this does not change the fact that it was Shiva Boys’ error to begin with.

“This season started really well but then it didn’t go well,” Sakal told Wired868 on Monday 30 October. “We really stumbled this season [with] our off-field challenges which were more than our on-field challenges…

“At the beginning of the season, I said we have such a good team that the only ones who can beat us is ourselves and it turned out so true—not for the boys but the management, who made a couple of errors [that] cost us dearly.”

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College stand-in captain Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel (right) holds on to Carapichaima East attacker Theophilus Bourne during SSFL action at Carapichaima on 28 October 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Should the current table reflect nothing but results on the field of play, Shiva Boys would today be tied with Presentation at the top of the standings and seeking their second successive title with an emphatic win over St Benedict’s on Saturday.

Had they managed it, they would have become only the second school to successfully defend the Premier Division crown, following Naparima’s back-to-back league trophies in 2014 and 2015.

Instead, owing to shoddy administrative work and a controversial team list, Shiva Boys are set to play in the lower division next season.

SSFL Standings (IF the League were decided ONLY on on-the-field results)

(Played-Won-Drew-Lost-Goals For-Goals Against-Points)

  1. Presentation         13-9-2-2-34-14-29
  2. Shiva Boys HC     13-9-2-2-34-15-29
  3. St Anthony’s        13-8-4-1-41-22-25
  4. San Juan N          14-6-6-2-35-16-24
  5. Naparima            13-8-3-2-28-15-24
  6. Fatima                 13-7-1-5-19-18-22
  7. Carapichaima E  14-5-3-6-23-21-18
  8. Trinity East          14-5-3-6-22-21-18
  9. St Mary’s             13-4-4-5-27-27-16
  10. St Augustine       14-5-1-8-26-32-16
  11. QRC                     14-4-3-8-23-30-15
  12. St Benedict’s       13-3-4-6-19-27-13
  13. Trinity Moka         13-3-2-8-15-32-11
  14. Signal Hill             14-2-3-9-13-28-9
  15. Speyside High      14-2-1-11-8497

Current Updated SSFL Standings

(Played-Won-Drew-Lost-Goals For-Goals Against-Points)

  1. Presentation       13-10-2-1-37-1132
  2. St Anthony’s       13-9-3-1-42-20-30
  3. Naparima            13-9-3-1-30-13-30
  4. San Juan N          14-7-5-2-38-16-26
  5. Fatima                 13-8-1-4-21-14-25
  6. Trinity East          14-5-3-6-22-20-18
  7. Carapichaima E   14-5-3-6-23-21-18
  8. QRC                     14-5-3-6-25-25-18
  9. St Mary’s             13-4-4-5-26-27-16
  10. St Augustine       14-5-1-8-26-32-16
  11. Trinity Moka       13-4-2-7-18-30-14
  12. St Benedict’s       13-3-4-6-19-27-13
  13. Speyside High    14-3-1-10-11-4410
  14. Signal Hill           14-2-3-9-13-28-9
  15. Shiva Boys HC    13-3-0-10-10-34-9

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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269 comments

  1. I’d forgotten to add Pres points yesterday to my standings. Even wthout the protests, Presentation would have been joint top of the league right now–and ahead of Shiva Boys by a solitary goal.
    So don’t feel too bad Damian R. Scott, Brian Jordan, Shaun Lynch, Andrew Alden Friday and Brian Manning, Presentation actually DO deserve to be first.

  2. Seriously ??
    Identity theft??
    They couldn’t get legal advise ?

  3. Mission accomplished ssfl naps pay all your well that’s why I can never be a coach or administrator in this dumbass country

  4. The whole football business in our sweet country is corrupted eh, even the over 40 masters tournament and ah wondering when will they ever stop the madness and really start doing the right things for the beautiful game steeuuppss. Them really good yes.

  5. This whole league season should be scrapped, all guilty teams relegated and docked points next season, or debarred from promotion for two years.

  6. I’m appalled and greatly disappointed by some of the comments that reflect a disdain for the rules of the competition….This attitude is certainly a reflection of our lawless society.

  7. So why couldnt intelligent adults do the correct things?

  8. It’s absolutely disgusting to me that SSFL, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Sport, TTFA have allowed this situation to evolve. This is first and foremost about education of our young people. Not just academics, but core values of being a citizen. A team that, on the field, can perform to a level where they are within reach of winning a second consecutive title has instead been demoted to bottom of the table due to, let us say, errors by adults. What does it teach those kids? You play fair, you play hard, you give your best, yet you are stripped of your victory. So what’s the point of all your efforts? What kind of preparation for adult life is that? Instead of providing good examples and role models to carry these kids into adult life, we have educators telling tales, strategically releasing information when it suits them and penalising kids for adults incompetence. Check Ian Wright’s autobiography. His school teacher Mr Pigden was the biggest influence on his career. He went from suffering abuse at home and petty crime to reach his dream. That should be the role of football in schools.

    • The flip side to your argument is it shows kids the importance of understanding and implanting the rules. And that what you don’t know CAN hurt you.

    • It also give the kids a lesson that may not be so obvious to if not a few but all, that working hard for victory not just on the field to win, but also come out of hard times is an import lesson for character development, even if it is not your fault. The saying “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle” is a great message to the boys not only of Shiva Hindu College, but to the entire League. This is their opportunity to put the issues aside forgive and move on to working even harder and not to lose faith in their goals.

  9. that heading bout to beak or not to beal poor young hearts being destroyed without any care in d work these ppl for real right now nah

  10. Ssfl will sell snow cone in hell with d devil

  11. Shiva don’t care about the other 5 successful protests an the 6 points lost but oh gosh boi Stevie Wonder cud see this one ain’t fair…

  12. Investigate all schools but they will not do that because people with the power have an interest in the other schools

  13. I still doh understand why they cant play football outside of the SSFL…I mean they ARE ALLOWED National youth football and lets for argument sake say Tallest had call up one of the SSSF stars..would they be ineligible to come back to their schools?
    when I played school football we ALL PLAYED “big man” football before the league started..we stopped on the urging of the SCHOOL but as far as I know there was no rule about a “cut off” but I could be wrong

  14. Without the administrative errors, Shiva Boys would be three points clear and cruising to the title now. So you have to feel some sympathy for the players.
    If the management had done its checks and submitted paperwork in time, there would have been no issue. Of course, I have to leave room for that issue with Beal, which is weird and unusual but still quite possible.

  15. Congrats ssfl lead hope u all happy now

  16. Can’t understand why teams will use dishonest avenue to win, what are the messages we are sending to our youths! Smh

  17. Honestly I’ve been a avid supporter of ssfl ever since at a young age … i really liked the league… After seeing this madness this season ive lost a lot of interest in it … really disappointed what ive witness … didn’t even go to a game

  18. Brian Manning, you know real Fatima Old Boys like yours truly will be lurking for your comments on Wired 868 tomorrow!

  19. Well, that’s it football expansion and development into rural Penal is over.

  20. Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught. J. C. Watts

  21. “Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.”
    J. C. Watts

  22. This is shit. The SSFL Administrative body on extreme shit.

  23. We hiding until we win. Dem other schools go riot.

  24. Brian Manning, Andrew Alden Friday, Damian R. Scott, Brian Jordan… I find the Pres boys quiet… Allyuh knocking glasses in a room somewhere or wot? Lol.

  25. The league permits illegitimate players to play in 10 games. Illegitimate by the fact that they played in an amatuer competiton before the start of the league. Can someone elaborate on how the registration goes for the pro league? And if schoolboys that play there are without contract or have to cancel their contract before sept 1

  26. Watch nah… at a time like this when so much sponsors are on board for the 1st time in many years, these schools rel effin around inno. Sportmax began coverage last year but like dey want dem cancel fuh nex year? The SSFL have more corruption dan Piarco Airport Inquiry!! Wdmc?!!

  27. At this point I’m all out of words. I will simply continue to push our boys to excel academically as well. I will say also I hope they start reviewing referees they to me did the most harm this season

  28. Finally, it’s over , I hope…

  29. you know how things happen in trini guess a certain school had the info in their back pocket…

  30. Identity theft was their defence!?…LMAO

  31. Rules and regulations should always be met…hats off to ssfl hopefully these instances won’t happen next season

  32. A match on 2 September? Today is 3 November? Two full months later, in the last week of the competition and you now want to penalize people for this?
    That is incompetency and madness rolled into one.
    There needs to be a statute of limitations on these things.
    How the league found out about Beal?

    • NCAA voids championships won going back years. There’s no statute of limitations on cheating

    • Lol. The NCAA does something so we can’t do something different? That’s the difference between first world and third world mentalities. Some people insist on being followers.
      I have no problem with punishing anybody for cheating. But there are two sides to this because this info about who played what club match etc is info that opposing schools have and are holding on to vindictively to use at an “opportune” time. And vindictiveness should also not be rewarded.

    • why should we “do something different”?
      there’s international best practice for NGBs that we can pattern after.
      I just highlighted that there is precedence for accommodating delays in punitive measures against offenders.

    • as for the timing of when people buss the files—if it didn’t have files to buss in the first place…

    • You do something differently when your context demands it. How many times does the NCAA strip a basketball team of a title based on information brought to them in the final weeks of the season by another school that school 1 has a 40 year old freshman with a 1.6 GPA moonlighting in the D league of an NBA team?
      If the type of cheating is different then I would think the remedies need to be different.
      As for the timing… there have been whispers in here of a school having something big to buss on another school for more than a minute now…

    • I totally agree. We have to do work within our framework. Ncaa has and ssfl cant be run the same. Then we can have a rope to keep supporters off the field. If the appeals dont have a deadline teams will use them conveniently like last minute. Its like playing to win vs not to lose…big difference. We want to encourage transparency always so get the info out earlier not later or if in ur favour

    • Isnt there a time deadline for protests?

    • Chabeth Haynes with respect of course I’d like to say that even though I hear your point about the timeliness and perceived intentions of the protest let’s not loose sight of the fact that if these school weren’t BREAKING THE RULES AND WEREN’T BEING BLINDED BY THE WIN BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY philosophy they/ we wouldn’t be here……Remember these kids are Student / Athletes …. Students 1st

  33. the whole SSFL need to be reviewed and let the chips fall where they may.
    who’s to say that these issues were not also in play in previous seasons?
    the schools under the SSFL need to address what their role is in enabling this BS to reach to where it is now.
    Let’s face it: If Shiva was bottom scrapers and everybody beating them then NONE of this was coming out

  34. So what this mean for the boys? Naps or Benedict’s importing a whole new side next year?

  35. Mad season…..”if” only the rules were followed….

  36. Again, all these cock-ups land squarely on the shoulders of the SSFL. How de hell you could have an improperly registered player playing 10 league matches? Who relly running dis ting? Come on man!

  37. Well they finally succeeded.. it actually took them longer than i thought for the to kick Shiva out.. Congrats 1%

  38. btw..whats the rationale for.players not being able to play in amateur competitions during the season?…what?..they concerned about potential to affect schoolwork?…hahahahahahahahahaha..
    well then these guys should have to maintain some sort of minimum grade
    also 19yr olds in form five…well
    also three games a week?

  39. Scotty Ranking

    When a season has more boardroom drama than Bold & Beautiful, things are pretty bad all around for this league. I truly hope that Shiva Boys are able to recover from this setback and return to the Premier League in 2019.

  40. I feel so sorry for the players of Shiva eh. They gave heart and soul and for the admin to let them down in this manner

  41. mannnnnn….doh shit meh up nah hosss! HAHAHAHAHA
    and dahs BEFORE ah eeeem read the ting!
    Lemme put on a kettle for this tea!

  42. stopped reading 3/5 way down.. this whole league need an overhaul