KSAFA supports Wadada's bid to compete in Jamaica Premier LeagueThursday, October 14, 2021
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Wadada United have found an unlikely ally in the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) in their quest to get the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to overturn a decision to award a spot in the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) for the 2021-22 season to fellow St James club, Montego Bay United (MBU).
Wadada United were supposed to meet MBU at the JFF/Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence on October 6 to decide which of the two would replace UWI FC in the JPL, but the game was called off after the JFF ruled that Wadada United had not completed their registration process by the 5:00 pm October 1 deadline.
As a result of the game being cancelled, MBU, who were relegated after the 2018-19 season after finishing in 11th position, have been promoted to fill the slot for the season that is expected to commence in early December.
Wadada are, however, appealing the decision through Montego Bay-based attorney Charles Sinclair Jr, who wrote to the JFF last week urging them to revisit the decision.
In a strongly-worded letter to the general secretary of the JFF Dalton Wint, dated September 3 and over the signature of President Wayne Shaw, KSAFA warned that the JFF's interpretation of the laws could be flawed and could be seen as choosing favourites.
“The said article was never envisioned or created to deal with the unique problem we are facing now. Hence any application of the said article in this manner may give credence to the belief that this is nothing more than legalistic gymnastics to satisfy special interests,” KSAFA said.
KSAFA was referring to Article 5(1), which it said was their position that “ the matter as reported is wrong or it was incorrectly applied to deal with the filling of a vacant slot for the 2021/22 season.”
According to the JFF's rules Article 5(1) reads in part, “in the case of any withdrawals. The replacement team will be selected from a play-off game between the third-placed team from the most recent JFF Premier League qualifiers play-offs and the 11th-placed team from the most recent Premier League season. The winner should have obtained the requisite club license approval.”
KSAFA argues that “when UWI withdrew from the 2021 season leaving 11 teams the application of the said Article then would have been appropriate. The said article was never envisioned or created to deal with the unique problem we are facing now.”
KSAFA said it is “firm in the belief that the competitions committee in utilising Article 5 (1) in this manner has erred” pointing out that “a strict interpretation” of the rules would mean that if the game had not been played before the start of the just-concluded 2020-2021 season, it would be the 11th-placed team from this season who would be in the play-offs.
However, as none of the teams this year are facing relegation then “it therefore means that only Wadada has a standing once the article is properly read and applied. The eleventh-placed team from the 2018/2019 season of the Premier League, MoBay United, does not have right or standing to participate as there has been an intervening season since their demotion from the 2018/2019 season.”
KSAFA warned the JFF that to go ahead with their ruling could be tantamount to creating a slippery slope.
“We must be faithful to or consistent with the 'rule of law'. An incorrect application of a law or rule has serious implications for future decisions. It may be used as precedent and create chaos,” the letter said. “The decision making body [JFF] must ensure all decisions made are in conformity with our articles or rules per competition. Therefore, in order to avoid any concerns of impropriety or favouritism we strongly recommend without fear or favour that Wadada FC, the third-placed team from the last qualification competition be promoted.”
Meanwhile, Sinclair's letter, which was dated October 5 and also addressed to Wint, said “in reviewing the regulations, it is the opinion of myself and Wadada United Foundation Limited that the decision is wrong and not in keeping with Article 5 of the Regulations. Accordingly, Wadada United Foundation Limited appeals the said decision and requests that the matter be appropriately placed before the Appeals Committee of the JFF for hearing prior to implementation.”
The letter from Sinclair referenced a letter from the JFF to Wadada United which said, “having reviewed the registration process only, Montego Bay United would have fully completed the process, IE: registration of club, administrators, players and officials, therefore in keeping the above mentioned and the regulations, Montego Bay United FC will be the replacement team for UWI as the 12th team for the 2021-2022 Jamaica Premier League (JPL) season.”