THE Guyana Football Federation (GFF) confirmed that they have launched a protest to FIFA after realising that St Vincent and Grenadines fielded a player who was not the holder of a passport from the Island.
The Golden Jaguars drew 4-4 with the ‘Vincy Heat’ at the Guyana National Stadium last Sunday but were knocked out of the 2018 World Cup Qualifier tournament since the visitors had the superior goal difference, thanks to the ‘away goals’ rule.
However, after the loss, Chronicle Sport was made to understand that the GFF had gotten a tip that Garvin James, the St Vincent and the Grenadines striker, was used though he was not a holder of a Vincentian passport which is a clear violation of FIFA’s laws that govern a player’s eligibility to represent his country.
James was born in England and plays for the Flackwell Heath Football Club.
“Yes, we did write to FIFA, telling them of our findings and protested the result. As far as I’m aware, we haven’t received a response as yet,” said the GFF’s Marketing and Communications director Rawle Toney when contacted yesterday, after this newspaper failed to reach Normalisation Committee Chairman Clinton Urling for a comment on the issue.
Toney, when asked what prompted the GFF to lodge a protest, noted, “Well the GFF believes that it has a case based on the rules of FIFA which clearly state that the only identification accepted as a proof of citizenship is a player’s passport. Four of our players had to miss the first leg of the qualifier because they were not citizens of Guyana and only were allowed to play when that happened and their passports were granted.”
FIFA regulations for the 2018 programme say that only passports are “valid proof of a player’s identity and nationality.” Each player’s passport must be shown to FIFA’s match delegate the day before kickoff.
The new rule states: “Identity cards or other supporting official documents shall not be accepted” and history has shown that seven different African teams fielded ineligible players in qualifying group matches for the 2014 World Cup, forcing FIFA to award 3-0 wins to their opponents.
If GFF is successful, the result will be reversed, a fine will be imposed on the St Vincent Football Association and the Golden Jaguars will be awarded the victory with a 3-0 scoreline and would advance to the next round of qualification.