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FIFA fines SVGFF over player breach

FIFA fines SVGFF over player breach


The St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF) has been fined US$5,000 by the disciplinary committee of FIFA for fielding overseas based player Gavin James in the World Cup qualifiers June 10 and 14 against Guyana.

According to reports, in addition to the US$5,000 fine, the local federation also has to {{more}}come up with US$1,000 for legal costs.

However general secretary of SVGFF Trevor Huggins remains tight-lipped about the correspondence from FIFA, in which the penalties were outlined. When SEARCHLIGHT contacted him last Wednesday, he said he did not have the correspondence in his possession. He, however, revealed that such correspondence had indeed been received by his secretariat by courier and that the SVGFF had been fined. When we checked with him again yesterday, Huggins said he would seek permission from president of the SVGFF Venold Coombs to make the letter available.

Despite the unavailability of the correspondence, reports are that FIFA did not detail on what grounds St Vincent and the Grenadines was able to advance in the competition, despite being fined.

A letter dated July 29 from FIFA’s director of legal affairs Marco Villiger to general secretary of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Richard Groden said: “…after careful examination of all the requested information and documentation, it was considered that no further intervention was necessary in such context.”

The GFF had filed the report with FIFA after the June 14 qualifier.

Coombs, on various occasions, had boasted that it was through his proactive nature that several lines of defence were mounted. He, therefore, proclaimed himself the “tactician” who crafted St Vincent and the Grenadines’ progress.

The GFF had argued that the SVGFF had contravened article 19.3 governing the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers. “The only document considered to be valid proof of a player’s identity and nationality shall be a passport that explicitly states the player’s day, month and year of birth. Identity cards or other supporting official documents shall not be accepted as a valid means of identification. The participating member associations shall present each player’s valid national passport for the country of the participating member association to the FIFA Match Commissioner on the day before the match. A player without a valid passport shall not be entitled to play,” the article states.

In the two qualifying matches, James’ British passport, which had been stamped by the local immigration authorities saying that he was eligible for an SVG passport, was presented to the match commissioners.

The first leg drew 2-2 here at the Arnos Vale Playing Field on June 10, then in the second leg, they drew 4-4 when the two teams met June 14 at the Guyana National Stadium.

St Vincent and the Grenadines, however, prevailed on the away goals rule and a place in the third round, which was followed by the GFF’s protest.

The GFF has since filed an appeal against FIFA’s decision.

When FIFA made the draw July 23 in Petersburg, Russia, the third round pairing put St Vincent and the Grenadines against Aruba, September 4 and 8.