Saint Lucia
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VSADC Clashes With SLFA Over Relegation Issues

A fiery impasse is unfolding between the Vempers Sports Athletic Dramatic Club [VSADC] and management of the Saint Lucia Football Association [SLFA] over issues dealing with relegation of the club from the Div. I to Div. II level.

VSADC executive members at the media briefing. From L – R; Mathurin, Anderson and Kirton
VSADC executive members at the media briefing. From L – R; Greg Mathurin, Craig Anderson and Coach Sean Kirton.

This latest action has not gone down well with the VSADC membership, a city-based club that has been at the forefront of local football from earlier times; with several of its former players going on to provide sterling national representation.

The issue stems from a prior notice sent by the SLFA to the club informing that VSADC had breached certain regulations relating to the registration of some of its players in the Division I tournament. Therefore, the SLFA stated, VSADC forfeited its points, a fine was imposed on the club and they were relegated to Div. II.

Within days of this development, VSADC lodged a complaint with the SLFA and requested an opportunity to launch an appeal. The club management confirmed that they replied within the stipulated time of seven days with a proposal of intent to launch an appeal.

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Recently, VSADC’s executive convened a media briefing to express their concerns and objections with the manner in which they say the SLFA management has infringed on their rights.

VSADC’s Vice President Craig Anderson contends that, “the blatant discrimination that we continue to face at the hands of the SLFA”, is worrisome by not facilitating a discourse with the club.

Two other executive members of the club, VSADC’s Assistant Secretary and President of the Castries Football Council (CFC) Greg Mathurin and Coach Sean Kirton also commented on the issue, while seeking justification for its players and membership.

The animosity between the two factions’ dates back a few years ago, when affiliates of the CFC that includes VSADC, sent a ‘Protest Letter’ to FIFA claiming their disenchantment with the SLFA management team and seeking their removal from office.

A protest match was later organized and a group of former national players and other players, marched to the SLFA base to express their objections.

Anderson recalled that before the commencement of last year’s SLFA Div. I competition, VSADC complied with the requisite standards and regulations by submitting, a Provisional List, Consent Form, Uniform Colours List and Registration List to the association.

He recalled that last May, a Transfer Window was opened before commencement of the competition and by June, 2022 the final list of registered players was sent to the SLFA. However, he said, after the list was vetted by the FA, a letter was sent alerting the club that its Kit Manager was not registered in the system – FIFA Connect.

Anderson recalls that during the second transfer window “there were a few transfers in and out of our club” and the club sent in its final registration list. He said the club then questioned the SLFA about the need for an International Transfer Clearance (ITC) for a specific player – Keegan Caul, who had been on a three-month trial with a club in Bulgaria.

Caul is identified as one of the players that VSADC says, the FA pointed out as breaching the rules of the tournament resulting in the forfeiture of points from the club for matches played. He said, the FA requested that VSADC contact the club that Keegan played with, but they did not have correspondence from that club.

“But we had no contact with team, we only had contact with the agent of the player,” Anderson explained. “So, the next best thing for us to do …was to rely on the guidance of the player’s agent, which we did.”

He said, the agent informed them that the Player (Caul) “is able to represent VSADC…so, as a result of this we registered the player, and even so, the player was still appearing on the FIFA Connect App registered to VSADC”.

Anderson further recalled that the tournament went on, and sometime last October, “we received numerous emails from the SLFA informing us of violations, in which a number of our players were not registered and they were not able to play. So, as a result of this we basically forfeited all the points and were fined a sum of $250.00.”

However, in between several postponements and adjournments of a Disciplinary Committee Hearing, VSADC personnel claim that the SLFA’s General Secretary has since failed to provide them with relevant documentation and information necessary to launch their case. The club has since taken up the matter with their legal representatives as they await a response from the SLFA to bring closure to this issue.

Mathurin feels that the association has adopted a very “disrespectful attitude” towards VSADC and some other SLFA affiliates.

The VSADC management argues that the club’s relegation from Div. 1 to Div. II was undertaken “without the natural cause of justice” being implemented.

In the meantime, VSADC is down to compete in the Div. II competition and the club has registered to participate, while they await further clarification on the matter.

Meanwhile, the SLFA has responded to the complainants in a media release,  stating that as a result of the “misinformation as it concerns statements made by VSADC… the Saint Lucia Football Association Inc. would like to set the record straight”.

The statement adds: “The Saint Lucia Football Association Inc. administers over its national championships as well as its participation in regional and international championships. There are protocols that must be followed and implemented by FIFA and CONCACAF to protect the integrity of the various championships.

“The statement that the Saint Lucia Football Association is victimizing the VSDAC is unfounded. The Association has undertaken and will continue to undertake due process in its dealings with the club at every instance. The Saint Lucia Football Association Inc. is cognizant of the anxiety by the club for the appeals hearing and is doing all in its power to cause the hearing to be called at the earliest possible time.”

In this regard, the SLFA Inc. states, it is unable to provide additional information on the matter at this time “as this is an issue which the Appeals Committee is due to preside over at the soonest. We will provide an update as soon as the Appeals Committee makes a declaration after it has ruled.”