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Back to square one!

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The more we change the more things remain the same, as we are slowly going back to square one, with the game of the people, football. The problem of players representing more than one team/club is resurging as total liberty is once again being taken.

The wholesale movement of players from one team/club to the other takes place without adhering to the transfer periods and the proper documentation stipulated by the Constitution of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF).{{more}}

It is laughable and almost ludicrous to think that in 2006, a player represented two teams on the same day, at the same field, in the same tournament, playing in two finals.

This occurred in South Leeward recently and was a common practice throughout the duration of that tournament.

The executive of the SVGFF itself lacks the moral authority to dictate to the various leagues when elected members themselves are guilty of flaunting the rules.

Three seasons ago, players started with one club and finished the same tournament playing for another.

Third Vice-President of the SVGFF, Clyde Robinson, when the matter resurged last year, admitted that he gave permission to some players to play in the Barrouallie League of which he was a leading administrator. He sought to clarify the situation and promised its end, but by then the floodgates had been opened.

It was this executive that did not recognise the Marriaqua League in 2004 for the promised $5,000 assistance to the leagues that complied with the rules of the National League.

The various football leagues across the state seem to be totally autonomous; some do not even request the sanctioning of their operations by the SVGFF.

In instances, some teams play in one league as a premier division entity and in another as a first division outfit.

With the absence of a true national competition, the leagues have filled the void, providing the stage for the showcasing of football talent who are then listed for national selection. But this situation cannot be allowed to continue.

The social implications of the leagues add to the identity and transformation of the communities.

Football’s governing body FIFA at its congress in Germany last month, made several rulings including the maximum quota of teams in national competitions.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines may not fall under this requirement, but the semblance of being compliant and in charge of football must be evident by the local body.

I am afraid this is clearly not the case at present.

The National League, though with its teething problems, tried last year, but after one year, this seemed to have been shelved for the proposed “more attractive” inter-league competition.

Getting the sport on a definitive path is as important as getting a home for football. Both are inseparable.

Separation of “sweat leagues” from the serious players must be demarked.

The elite players in the state must be identified and given opportunities to hone their skills in top competitions, instead of being allowed to play in any league they desire.

The ball may lie in the lap of the present executive, but the affiliate clubs and leagues must play their role in stopping the rot and near anarchy in our football.

Caught in the euphoria of the success of Vincy Heat in the World Cup Qualifiers in 2004, 2010 is seen as the year for qualification.

But can we seriously mount a campaign to qualify for the next World Cup with this sort of operation?

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