It is now over five months since the new football season in St. Kitts and Nevis should have started, but again, controversy and internal wrangling have led to another extended delay.
This time, according to some sources, it is connected with protest action being mounted by three of the country’s top Premier Division football clubs, two of which have in the past, been national champions.
Six months ago, the St. Pauls Football Club, along with the Garden Hotspurs Football Club and the Conaree Football Club, took joint action to request the management of the St. Kitts and Nevis Football Association, SKNFA, to address, what they claimed were breaches in the Rules & Regulations of 2011-12, which were dated 14th October, 2011, and signed by the President of the SKNFA and the General Secretary; Mr. Anthony Johnson and Stanley Jacobs, respectively. The document was also said to have been ratified by the Executive Committee of the SKNFA.
Officials of the three teams have pointed out that the breach in the rules occurred at the end of the 2012 Final 4 Playoffs, when the management committee, they allege, failed to apply the appropriate rule to determine which two teams would be eligible to play in the Finals of the Premier Division Championships.
It is claimed by the leaders of the clubs from St. Pauls, Conaree and Spurs, that the rules required the management to add points earned in “head to head” match-ups, in the regular season, to points earned in the Final 4, and to permit the two teams with the most points, to compete in the Final 2. It is being charged that the management failed to comply with that rule; resulting in Conaree FC and Newton FC playing in the Finals, instead of Conaree and St. Pauls.
In protest, a number of letters were written to the SKNFA, with the last being on 25th October, 2012, “urging a speedy and amicable resolution” but the teams complain that the association management “has demonstrated little appetite for such”. They say that to date they have had no response from the management of the SKNFA. In comparison, the teams claim, that in the past, similar matters were easily dispensed of by previous football administrations.
The whole row has delayed the start of the new Premier Division season. “Never before in the history of football in St. Kitts has no football been played between September and December. Football fans and supporters are growing weary with each passing day. This situation is rightfully a source of much concern, “said the joint statement from the three teams.
The clubs said that they have written to the Football Association but on this occasion have copied it to the Caribbean Football Union, to offer the following for consideration:
- A three person arbitration panel be appointed.
- The members of the panel be appointed thus: our clubs appoint one, the FA appoints another and the St. Kitts-Nevis Bar Association appoints the chairman.
- The St. Kitts-Nevis Bar Association to provide the rules and procedures for the conduct of the arbitration.
- The panel acts to resolve the matter with due urgency.
- Both parties agree to be bound by the decision of the arbitration panel.
The three clubs have already indicated that they plan to appoint a local person of outstanding capacity and reputation. The local Bar Association, said the teams, is well position to provide one of its distinguished members to serve as chairman.
The teams say that they reaffirm their commitment to the principles of fair play, responsible membership and good governance and therefore demand that the SKNFA move expeditiously to deal with the matter so that the football loving public and players can once again enjoy “the beautiful game.”
The statement was signed by the three presidents of the clubs: Timothy Morton-Conaree; Dabo “Ras Dabo” Penny-Garden Hotspurs and: Donald Freeman-St. Pauls.
There has been no formal reaction from the SKNFA, since the release of the statement from the member clubs.