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GFF takes case against FIFA to Court of Arbitration for Sport

Sanjeev Datadin

Attorney-at-Law Sanjeev J. Datadin

The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) has taken its case against world governing body FIFA and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF) to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on the eligibility of Garvin James who played for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines National Team in the World Cup Qualification match against Guyana which was played at the Providence Stadium June 14.

Through Attorney-at-Law Sanjeev J. Datadin, the GFF filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland on Thursday September 3.

According to a release from the GFF, the Federation contends that James was not the holder of a St. Vincent and the Grenadines Passport at the time the game was played as required by Article 19(3) of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Regulations.

At the time of the game James was the holder of a United Kingdom Passport. He had a stamp inserted in the passport indicating he was a citizen of St. Vincent and the Grenadines by descent.

This, according to the GFF, is a violation of the said Article 19(3), which recognises a passport as the only form of valid proof acceptable.

FIFA’s Disciplinary Code Article 55 (1) states that “if a player takes part in an official match despite being ineligible, his team will be sanctioned by forfeiting the match and paying a minimum fine of CHF 6,000.”

If the GFF challenge is successful it would mean the Guyana Team would advance in place of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The score in the match played between Guyana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines ended in a 4-4 draw with the latter team advancing on the away goals rule.

The playing of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines versus Aruba on September 4 – 8 is no bar to the imposition of a penalty by CAS on the St. Vincent & Grenadines team and for Guyana’s team to rejoin the competition.

On June 16, the GFF had filed a complaint to FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee and was informed on July 29 by the Disciplinary Committee that, “after careful examination of all the requested information and documentation, it was considered that no further intervention was necessary in such context”.

The GFF then followed up with an appeal to FIFA’s Appeal Committee but was once again notified that it was not a party to the relevant proceedings and would therefore not be eligible to appeal.

FIFA further added that an appeal was lodged against a letter issued on July 29 by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and not against a decision of the Committee.

The CAS appeal is expected to heard and determined shortly.

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