Rules are rules!
ISSA defends decision to boot Camperdown, Tivoli from Manning Cup
KEITH WELLINGTON, president of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), has come out swinging at the suggestion that the expulsion of Camperdown and Tivoli high schools from the Digicel Manning Cup was, perhaps, an incorrect decision.
According to Wellington, the eligibility rule is clear and that Camperdown and Tivoli Gardens high schools were in breach for the duration of the just-concluded first round.
Following a virtual meeting yesterday, both Camperdown, one of the teams of the tournament so far, and Tivoli, who were advancing to the second round for the first time in nearly a decade, were notified they would no longer be allowed to take part in the competition.
However, Camperdown’s coach, Donovan Lofters, believes ISSA has erred.
According to Lofters, there was no transfer in his camp, saying the player in question had left Camperdown to spend a year at a football academy abroad before returning for the start of this school year.
Lofters said the assumption was that the nature of the year off the student took to go to the academy could not be counted as a transfer and therefore there was no requirement to sit out a year.
“As far as we know the last school he attended was Camperdown because those academies are not schools.
“So when coming back (the assumption is that) they are not required to sit out or anything once they are coming back to their school. But now we are hearing they should sit out.
“All the coaches I have spoken to view it the way I view it. But ISSA says as long as they are over 15 [years old] before September they have to sit out a year,” he said.
But acccording to Wellington, the coaches were part of a pre-competition meeting, where that specific rule was brought forward and discussed.
“August 31st of this year they were not students of the respective schools. If they registered after (September), they either had to be eligible for sixth form or sit out a year. They weren’t eligible for sixth form so they had to sit out, which did not happen,” he said.
“The rule is clear. The fact is they were not students before September, and having been admitted in September, with both being over age16, they had to sit out,” he said.
According to Wellington, despite Lofter’s disapproval of the decision, Camperdown’s principal has acknowledged and accepted the breach.
“It is a very straightforward rule. It can’t be that it wasn’t clear when we have it in black and white and had a pre-competition meeting where that specific question was asked and addressed.
“Even if he (Lofters) was not in the meeting, the meeting was recorded and sent to all schools. I went back and listened to the tape just to make sure we did not misguide anybody on this specific scenario,” he stated.
Nevertheless, Lofter believes the governing body erred in the verification process and insists a system should be in place to pick up these things.
“They did not pick it up because they send me the IDs saying that they are good to go. So ISSA should have a system that pick up these things,” he insisted.
However, he admitted that the school must take some blame.
“The school let me down also. They should understand the rule so they can protect the kids, coaches and everybody,” he added
Meanwhile, Tivoli assistant coach, Jermaine ‘teddy’ Johnson, put the mishap down to the inexperience of himself and coach Christopher Nicholas, who are in their first coaching stints.
“It’s disappointing that we didn’t get it right at first. But it is inexperience as first-time coaches.
“We just have to learn from this and get it right next time,” he said.
“We are really disappointed. We were looking to the challenge. But they said the player was supposed to sit out a year and that is where it went wrong. We just have to stay positive and know we have a good team next year,” he stated.
Both Camperdown and Tivoli qualified automatically for the second stage of the competition, finishing first and second, respectively, in Group B. They will be replaced by Excelsior and St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS).
The Manning Cup continues on Friday with a Stadium East double-header featuring STATHS going up against St Catherine High School at 1:00 p.m. and Jamaica College versus Mona High at 3:00.
Teams in the Manning Cup quarter-final round
Group A Winner Jamaica College
Group A 2nd Place Kingston Technical
Group B Winner Excelsior High
Group B 2nd Place St Andrew Technical
Group C Winner Kingston College
Group C 2nd Place Mona High
Best 3rd Place St Catherine High
Next Best 3rd Place Charlie Smith High