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Photo: Referee Hasely Collette (centre) plays peacemaker while then Guaya United captain Ryan Stewart (right) assesses the situation during 2015/16 CNG NSL Premiership Division action at Matura. ...(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) President and FC Santa Rosa coach Keith Look Loy may well find himself in hot water with the Disciplinary Committee of the TTSL. Worse, as a result of his verbal spat with referee Cecile Hinds on 5 November, he may find himself in trouble with the David John-Williams-headed Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).

Both Look Loy and his assistant coach Jovan Rochford were sent off by Hinds during Santa Rosa’s clash with Guaya United, after they reacted angrily to Hinds’ handling of a collision involving Rosa attacker Rashad Griffith and opposing keeper Shane Mattis. On 6 November, Hinds sent a report of the incident to the TTSL’s secretariat and copied other administrators such as TTFA president David John-Williams and the head of the TTFA’s Refereeing Department, Wayne Caesar.

It is not clear why Hinds copied her report on the matter to the TTFA nor is it clear whether the umbrella body proposes to take responsibility for the investigation.

Wired868’s efforts to reach John-Williams for a comment have not so far yielded any fruit.

However, TTFA General Secretary Justin Latapy-George told Wired868 that he is yet to receive a formal report on the incident and he was therefore not at liberty to comment on it.

However, Refereeing Department Head Caesar gave the assurance that it is perfectly normal for an incident report to reach him. He pointed out that he had only recently received an incident report for an FA Trophy match in Tobago.

Wired868 was able to obtain a copy of Hinds’ report, which contains the following excerpt:

“Upon arriving, Mr Rochford began shouting in a loud aggressive tone while using hand gestures saying, ‘So you ain’t see the man on the f@#king ground! […] You is one asshole eh!’

“Mr Keith Look Loy of FC Santa Rosa joined his colleague Jovan Rochford in abusing me by using insulting and offensive language in a very loud and aggressive tone […] He said, ‘Allyuh ain’t good one bit, allyuh is some good for nothings. Yuh ain’t see all them referees ain’t good, only f@#king up the game! Waste ah f@#king time! […] allyuh woman referees ain’t good one bit [not] even them in Tobago.’”

Look Loy did not deny to Wired868 that he had hurled the ‘F’ bomb at Hinds; however, he contended that it was not a personal attack on the referee but a general rant on the state of local refereeing.

Look Loy subsequently issued an apology for his own and his assistant’s actions but he maintains in the missive that his behaviour on 5 November came about because the referee failed to provide to his players the level of protection she should have.

“FC Santa Rosa is of the view that the referee in charge of the match, Cecile Hinds, was dangerously slow in her handling of two head collisions involving Santa Rosa players. The second collision resulted in our player being taken to the hospital unconscious,” Look Loy’s statement reads. “This provoked an undesirable response from Santa Rosa personnel, including its coaches […] FC Santa Rosa disputes certain details of the referee’s incident report but, nonetheless, we wish to apologize to Ms Hinds and to the TTFRA for the insulting language directed to her by myself and Jovan Rochford.”

Like Look Loy, TTSL Secretary Camara David expressed surprise that Hinds had sent her incident report to persons outside of the League since, he told Wired868, the TTSL’s Disciplinary Committee usually handles such issues and the TTFA is without any such committee. He added that he has received no correspondence from the TTFA concerning the pivotal clash which ended 3-1 in favour of Guaya.

Adamant that the matter is not one with which the TTFA should concern itself, the TTSL President stated that there was a Disciplinary Committee protocol in place for dealing with such matters and that and not he or the umbrella body will guide the handling of the issue.

“The TTFA has no part to play in this,” Look Loy said, “and it is a League matter which the TTSL will deal with. We will let the protocol handle itself.”

But the issue appears to be less clear-cut than the TTSL President contends. Article 17.1 of the TTFA Constitution does state that “Each Member shall manage its affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.”

However, if one sees the current situation as a dispute between the Referees Association and the TTSL, that is covered by Article 66.2 of the TTFA Constitution. It says that “TTFA shall have jurisdiction on internal national disputes, i.e. disputes between parties belonging to TTFA. FIFA shall have jurisdiction on international disputes, i.e. disputes between parties belonging to different Associations and/or Confederations.”

Article 18.1, however, is categorical. “Matters in relation to referees, disciplinary issues, anti-doping, club licensing and player registrations (ITC) shall remain,” it says, “under the exclusive jurisdiction of TTFA.”

David pointed out that a three-man TTSL Disciplinary Committee presided over a matter involving Queen’s Park Cricket Club earlier in the season. In that instance, the Committee dealt with referee Joel Cox’s report and fined QPCC player Chad De Freitas TT$500.

De Freitas had got himself into hot water when he picked up a red card for showing dissent in a 2 July game in which his side drew 1-1 with WASA. And the TTSL Secretary sees no reason why the Disciplinary Committee, comprising lawyers Chandelle Delzin, Rhyjell Ellis and Stefan Fabien, should not also preside over the matter involving Hinds and the Santa Rosa coaches. According to David, possible sanctions range from a warning to a fine to a fine plus a ban.

David insists that the Disciplinary Committee is a completely independent body which is not required to take any account of Look Loy’s position as TTSL president.

“These are independent committees so Board members cannot influence decisions,” he told Wired868. “I can have an input or give my opinion but ultimately the decision is up to the Committee.”

Article 8.1 of the TTSL Constitution states: “Members are required to take all reasonable precautions necessary to prevent assaults on players and officials before, during or after matches. Members shall also be held responsible for any misconduct or unsporting conduct of their coaches and other staff.”

By all accounts, the TTSL’s “Clasico” lived up to the billing as, with the Arima Velodrome full of vocal supporters, Guaya’s Carlon “Judgment” Hughes and company did the business on the field, arguably deciding where the TTSL trophy will reside this season. The fans may have witnessed a thrilling spectacle but David feels that football was not the final winner on the day.

“A lot of people have been talking about the game for the wrong reasons,” he said. “All around the world, we see coaches and players get into disagreements with officials but, because of the individual involved, I think this has been blown out of proportion.”

Perhaps the personality is a factor, perhaps not; there certainly is pre-history as well. Look Loy’s displeasure with the standard of local refereeing is no secret. In his team’s penultimate game of the 2015/16 Super League season, the vocal coach stood in firm defence of Rochford—his then captain—after the player was shown a red card for hurling an expletive at referee Gregory Guevarra at the end of a fixture with Club Sando Moruga.

“This is Match 31 and they’re getting that nonsense match after match after match,” Look Loy told Wired868 on 21 January 2016. “By the time you come to the end of the season in a must-win game, he got frustrated and told the referee something.”

So will the TTSL’s Disciplinary Committee deem Look Loy and his apprentice Rochford to have faced extenuating circumstances?

That Committee will have the last word—unless John-Williams’ TTFA decides otherwise.