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Guaya United vs Defence Force at Guayaguayare Recreation Ground on Sunday, May 28th 2023.
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T&T Football Association (TTFA) has been asked to offer a public apology to T&T Premier Football League's (TTPFL) Tier 2 campaigners Guaya United FC for their involvement in the south-east club not contesting the Big 6 Play-Off, which is in the final stage.

The apology was decided on by a request from Guaya manager and owner Randy Hagley on Saturday at the TTFA's annual general meeting (AGM).

Guaya footballers thought they had sewn up the sixth-place spot in Tier 2, which would have automatically earned them a place in the Big 6 based on the FIFA head-to-head rule, as both they and Harlem Strikers were locked on the same points and goal difference. However, the Strikers lodged an appeal on Guaya's use of striker Derron John, who was among the goalscorers in their final match with Bethel SC which ended 4-2 in Guaya's favour. Hagley assured the members his team's transfer of John from San Juan Jabloteh was done successfully within the official Domestic Registration Window of July 27 to August 17, and it was the embattled football association that erred in the process.

The TTFA, through a Special Disciplinary Committee, on September 16 issued a letter to Guaya in which it admitted to having made a mistake in the process.

The letter stated: "The Committee was presented with an incident involving a transfer of a player namely Derron John, from San Juan Jabloteh to Guaya United. The dispute arises as Guaya United requested the transfer of Mr John after the closure of the Domestic Registration Window 'transfer window' and the T&T Football Association, in error and without the requisite approval to satisfy the provisions of Article 10.3 of the TTPFL Regulations, 2023. Following the transfer, Mr John went on to play a TTPFL Tier 2 match for Guaya United against Bethel SC where he went on to score the decisive goal propelling Guaya United to the Playoffs on goal difference."

Osmond Downer, president of the T&T Football Referees Association raised the issue at the AGM and it was agreed that the TTFA had legitimised the transfer. As a result, it was decided by the memberships that Guaya should be compensated for their loss.

Nigel Romano, the member of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee chaired the meeting and was said to have agreed that the football association was in the wrong regarding the improper transfer of John.

Guardian Media Sports also learned that Romano agreed that Guaya should be compensated.

Hagley said he was asked what sort of compensation he wanted and he said, that while he was disappointed with the recent developments and felt that his team does not want to play in the league anymore, he would, in the interest of not stopping the league, ask for a public apology from the TTFA.

As such, it was decided by the members that Downer would draft out the apology this week for approval by the members for the football association to issue for public consumption.

Hagley said he was pleased by the way things went at the meeting and congratulated Romano, whom he said showed total fairness.

"I feel at ease now because I know Guaya United did nothing wrong. Based on discussions of a possible legal process, it was determined that a court of law would have stopped the final from being played.

"However, this is not what I want, I want to see football taking place, and besides that, the matter is already far gone. The only way I would have asked for the league to be stopped is if Harlem Strikers was in the final because they were not the ones to lodge the protest," Hagley explained.

The Guaya manager in giving a recount of what transpired said: "All the info regarding the transfer of John was sent to Jabloteh by mid-July. It was approved by Jabloteh in early August and was sent again for approval by the TTFA well before the close of the window. We got approval for the player on August 6, the same day we were scheduled to play Bethel SC, so we did nothing wrong," Hagley said.

Meanwhile, the third and fourth-place play-off in tier 2 was set to be decided yesterday at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar, Arima between Queen's Park and Harlem Strikers.

The final is set for tomorrow at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago, between FC Phoenix and Petit Valley Diego Martin United.


SOURCE: T&T Guardian