The Lamin Sports Committee has replied to the letter received from the Super Nawettan Committee that awarded three points to Manjai and levied a fine on the West Coast Region village team.
In a response letter copied to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, National Sports Council, Chairperson of The Gambia Football Association Normalization Committee and the media, the Lamin Sports Committee through its Secretary General, Abdoulie N. Baacha expressed its utmost disappointment at the decision and unfair treatment by the committee against the defending champions.
Below is the full text of the letter:
Reference is sought from your letter dated 11th December 2012 on the above caption. Accordingly, I wish to express our deep disappointment on the myopic and satirical judgment accorded to the incident by the Super Nawetaan Committee.
However, we never alleged that three players of Manjai Cards were invalid as advanced in your letter. The complaint expounded that during our scheduled game against Manjai, on Saturday 8th December 2012, the Lamin team arrived at the field on time and got their players satisfactorily inspected by the Manjai team, Referee and the Match Commissioner during the usual pre-match player inspection. On the flip side, when it was time to get the Manjai players inspected; their behavior turned iffy as three of their starting lined up players with jersey number7, 9 and 17 were without identification cards to proof they are licensed to take part in the game.
Sir, this act contravenes articles 3.1.2 and 3.1.3 of the rules and regulations of the GFA recognize Nawetaan Zones that we presume also governs the Super Nawetaan proceedings because we were not supplied with any Super Nawetaan Rules. These articles state that "3.1.2 Players must produce their licenses for verification at the entrance and before every match and 3.1.3 Players who fails to produce their licenses for verification will not be allowed to take part in that particular match".
Further quoting FIFA on Match Commissioner's role on verification of the players' identification article 4.1 paragraph 2;"The Players who are entitled to take part in the match shall turn to show their passports (and players' licenses, if any) for verification. Should a player not be in possession of a passport, or if it has expired or has obviously been tampered with, he shall not be allowed to take part in the match. Identity cards or other similar documents cannot be used as a replacement for a passport. This decision is final"
Therefore, if these articles are anything to go by; the players in question should not have even been allowed entry to the football field unless they bought tickets as spectators. Secondly, even if they were allowed entry due to lapses at the gate they should have waited until their cards were made available because none of the aforementioned articles mentioned taking photographs as a second option. Despite this contradiction, the Manjai officials still insisted that without the three players in the starting lined up their team wouldn't take part in the game.
Increasingly, when the players' cards were tendered at 17:06 Pm, they were different in colour with the rest of the cards presented earlier on and above all the images of the players on the cards were not clearly visible. As a result of these ramifications, Lamin insisted that the players in question must produce proper licenses or else should not be allowed to play. In this regard, the referee had to call off the game.
Sir, it is the responsibility of the Match Commissioner to enforce the laws governing the tournament and not to distract them. How can a match that supposed to kick off officially by 4:00 Pm as stipulated in the fixtures be delayed up to 17:06 Pm just because a particular team has defied the rules and justice is denied to take its course.
Moreover, the so called spirit of fair play that your Committee alleged us of violating is fictitious and a mare lip service delivery by your Committee. Your Committee has never in anyway manifested the tenants of fair play since the beginning of the entire Super Nawetaan proceedings. If fair play is anything to go by, how can Lamin the defending champions be scheduled to play all her contenders in their zones except Barra, Essau Mayaba team (BEM). This could have been avoided if all games were scheduled on neutral grounds and get the financial burden of transporting Lamin players and fans to and from match venues mitigated.
Sir, it is not logical to accuse Lamin for vandalizing the entrance gate of Manjai football ground and levy a fine of D500:00 (five hundred dalasi). When the referee blew his whistle to call the game off, the ticket selling outlets were swarmed with spectators from all round the coast claiming D10:00(ten dalasi) tickets paid at the entrance. But none of the spectators was able to recover anything instead many got smacked by the P.I.U officers who were trying to restore peace and stability. In such a confused situation, how can you conclude that the culprits were Laminarians and took the irrational decision of fining us? ; This is embarrassing.
Sir, your Committee should rescind the decision taken to award Manjai three points and two goals and the fine levied on Lamin. The decision is erroneous and it can ignite disunity and hooliganism among zones and put the continuity of the Super Nawetaan championship at stake. Lamin deserves the three point and two goals and no fine if impartial judgment should be given its due.
While I look forward to your fair judgment on the case, I remain.