Naparima and St Benedict's Colleges could escape with a mere slap on the wrist, for their parts in breaching an agreement between the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) and its sponsors, particularly its main sponsor Digicel, for the 2019 season.
However, any school found guilty of breaches of rules in the future will be immediately suspended.
On Wednesday the decision by Naps to wear uniforms sporting its personal sponsor Tiger Tanks ahead of the main sponsor of the SSFL Digicel for a match against St Mary's College, caused SportsMax, the Caribbean sports cable television providers, to not honour a commitment to broadcast the match LIVE from Naps grounds at Lewis Street, San Fernando.
And St Benedict's College, which was down to face Trinity College East at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, also altered the Joma uniforms that were agreed upon, to be used during the season.
However, a release by the executive of the schools league stated yesterday that the principals of both schools- Michael Dowlat (Naparima College) and Gregory Quan (St Benedict's) offered apologies at a meeting yesterday, which they were satisfied with.
As such, it said the executive will recommend that no action be taken against the southern schools, although the final decision lies squarely in the hands of the SSFL's general council when the meeting is called on Monday.
According to a release on Thursday - "The Executive of the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) led by its President William Wallace held a meeting today at its head office at the Ato Boldon Stadium to discuss the matter involving Premier Division schools Naparima College and St Benedict’s College as it relates to breach of sponsorship rules specifically branding on playing shirts.
The SSFL members held discussions via a conference call with the principals of Naparima College and St Benedict’s College Dr Michael Dowlath and Gregory Quan Kep respectively.
Both principals issued an unreserved apology during the conference call for their action on Wednesday and have agreed to comply with all rules and regulations of the League going forward.
They have also agreed to issue a public apology to the League, Partners and all Stakeholders on Monday.
Meanwhile, Digicel also issued a release on Thursday which reads: "On the back of a breach in branding guidelines set by the SSFL by Naparima - regrettably SportsMax was forced to pull the broadcast of the game between Naparima College and St. Mary's College. While we realise that this is disappointing to fans of Schoolboy Football, it's important to point out that we take our responsibilities to the SSFL and to its sponsorship partners very seriously and take great pains to ensure full compliance. We would like to thank viewers and sports fans for their understanding in this matter."
The SSFL Executive also agreed to recommend to the General Council that no action be taken against the two schools but any school that breaches these rules in the future will be immediately suspended. However, the final decision will be made when the General Council meets on Monday.
The SSFL and its partners now look forward to an incident-free season of competitive football and Fair Play for 2019."
Naps, Benedict’s apologise for sponsorship breach.
By Joel Bailey (Newsday).
We will comply
THE principals of Naparima College and St Benedict’s College have both issued apologies to the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) executive over breach of sponsorship rules, specifically branding on player shirts.
Both schools caused the ire of the SSFL after fielding uniforms with the logo of school sponsors Tiger Tanks Limited instead of the new Joma uniform with title sponsors Digicel.
In Wednesday’s opening round of the 2019 Premier Division, Naparima played to a 3-0 win over St Mary’s at Lewis Street, San Fernando. However, one of the SSFL sponsors, regional sports cable channel SportsMax, cancelled its feed shortly after the kick-off.
St Benedict’s were beaten 2-1 by Trinity East in their contest at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella.
The SSFL executive, led by president William Wallace, held a meeting at its office, located at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, to discuss Wednesday’s incidents.
The SSFL members also had discussions, via a conference call, with Naps principal Dr Michael Dowlath and St Benedict’s principal Gregory Quan Kep.
According to a SSFL media release, “Both principals issued an unreserved apology during the conference call for their (teams’) action on Wednesday, and have agreed to comply with all the rules and regulations of the League going forward.
“They have also agreed to issue a public apology to the League, partners and all stakeholders on Monday,” the media release continued.
The SSFL executive will make a recommendation to its general council “that no action be taken against the two schools.”
However, according to the media release, “any school that breaches these rules in the future will be immediately suspended.”
The general council is expected to make a final decision on that matter on Monday.
Former national football team goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, who is also the 2019 SSFL Ambassador, said during an interview on CNC3 yesterday, “This agreement (with Digicel and SportsMax) dates back to the signing of SportsMax and SSFL taking up the league and putting it on air. (SportsMax) is now four years into that agreement.
“SportsMax felt that they were taking a chance on the league that nobody else did, and they wanted to protect that investment, in making sure they got full exposure with their sponsorship and agreement.”
Hislop said, “For Naparima to go ahead and do as they did show a brazenness that I think is unbecoming in sports, a level of malintent that I don’t think bodes well for the league.”