The football season just ended had much for which to be remembered. Defending champions Village Superstars FC did not make it to the Super 4. Conaree FC played convincingly to reach the Super 4 for a third time. St Pauls led all the way from the front. Newtown rode a wave of luck tinged with hard work and prevailed.
But the season had some unusual moments. The customary final 4 planning meeting between the FA and the participating clubs did not occur. Months earlier, in October 2011, the FA issued the Rules and Regulation for the 2011-12 season, without any consultation with member clubs, on the Friday afternoon (October 14, 2011), the day before the official start of the season. That pre-start of season consultative meeting, among other things, provided an opportunity for clubs to vent important concerns and the FA to present proposed changes in the Rules and Regulations and the Laws of the Games, the latter as advised by FIFA.
Representatives of clubs who attended the pre-start of 2009-10 season meeting would recall that the Management of the FA presented changes to the Rules and Regulations. One of the proposed changes was that teams entering the Super 4 would carry forward points gained in head to head match-ups. This means that if Team 1 played team 5 in 3 rounds of matches and Team 1 won every time, then Team 1 will enter the Super 4 with 9 points and Team 5 with no points. A similar proposal was again proposed by Management at the start of the 2010-11 season. On both occasions, every club present voted down the proposal, except Newtown, which argued very strongly in favour of adopting the change.
Then the 2011-12 season. No meeting was convened with the clubs, and the Rules and Regulations (changed as they are) were simply dispatched by the General Secretary to member clubs via email, hours before the start of the season. The applicable rule (page 2 of the Rules and Regulations) reads:
“The top four (4) teams at the end of the three (3) rounds will then enter into a group of four (4) called the Final Four. Each team will carry the number of points earned from head to head match-ups with the other Final Four Teams from the matches in the regular season.”
The final paragraph (on the final page) of the Rules and Regulations reads:
“THESE RULES WERE RATIFIED BY THE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE OF THE ST. KITTS AND NEVIS FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION ON SATURDAY October 14th 2011 AND SHALL BECOME EFFECTIVE ON 15TH DAY OF OCTOBER 2011.”
When the Super 4 for the 2011-12 season ended, the points standing from that event only was:
Conaree FC 7 points
Newtown FC 5 points
St Pauls FC 3 points
Garden Hotspurs FC 1 point
If the Rules and Regulations issued by the FA under the signatures of its President and General Secretary had been followed, the points standing at the end of the Super 4 would have read:
Conaree FC 22 points
St Pauls FC 18 points
Newtown FC 13 points
Garden Hotspurs FC 12 points
On that basis, the best of three finals for the championship would have been played between Conaree and St Pauls. But that did not happen.
The Rules and Regulations issued by the FA at the start of the season governs all proceedings thereafter. Its authority is supreme. It cannot be wished away or covered over. That view was argued and firmly established several years ago in the now famous St Kitts-Nevis Olympic Committee 2005 ruling in the case SKNFA v The Clubs. If so, then who in the FA has responsibility for ensuring that the Rules and Regulations, issued by that body, are fairly and justly applied?
A grave injustice has been perpetuated against football by the very persons charged with administering the game. The guard should always be in full command of all his senses, and not be so intoxicated with passion as to permit unauthorised access.
This violation of the supreme document governing the football league is unprecedented and unacceptable. Did those charged with administering the Rules and Regulation forget them? If so, does a failure of such proportion amount to gross neglect of the very thing that makes football what it is, its rules? If they did not forget then is it that the rules were conveniently ignored to favor the team which both the President and General Secretary left a few years ago to take up executive positions at the FA?
In the final analysis, the questions that must be asked are: was the Super 2 finals valid? Did Newtown have to win at all costs?