'It is farcical' ISSA launches probe after lopsided JC, Excelsior wins. JFF demands report by Monday morning
Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Captain Horace Burrell, says there could be serious implications if investigations reveal any case of match-fixing in two Inter-Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA)/LIME Manning Cup football games on Tuesday.
In one game at Constant Spring, Jamaica College mauled Denham Town 16-0 - scoring six times in six minutes added for stoppages.
In the other match, Excelsior swamped Holy Trinity 12-0. Jamaica College and Excelsior ended on seven points apiece. However, defending champions JC advanced to the semi-finals on a superior goal difference. JC scored 18 goals and conceded one, while Excelsior scored 15 times and had one goal against.
"The JFF is concerned and we have formally requested a response from the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) on what took place and circumstances surrounding the games. It is very unusual," Burrell told The Gleaner yesterday afternoon.
"We are not implying anything, but we await a report from ISSA that should be on the desk of the JFF's general secretary (Raymond Grant) early Monday morning," a serious-sounding Burrell disclosed.
The JFF president, a long-serving and influential member of FIFA's disciplinary committee, pointed out that only days ago a seminar looking at match fixing was held here involving law enforcement and other stakeholders, as he stressed the serious nature of match-fixing, which has led to the imprisonment of persons who have been found to violate fair play.
George Forbes, ISSA's competition's officer, lambasted the margins from what appeared to be competitive second-round fixtures among some of the competition's top teams as "farcical" and informed that they had launched a probe.
"It is farcical," Forbes told The Gleaner yesterday. "We have launched an investigation into the conduct of the teams. We want to know what happened, then action will be taken, if necessary," he added.
"Almost everybody at ISSA will be investigators. I have heard things that won't be disclosed at this point. We are leaving no stone unturned. It is embarrassing," Forbes said.
"We have asked the schools involved to do their own investigations and we will also do our own. We are not happy, the stakeholders are not happy, the sponsors are not happy and the supporters are not happy," he remarked.
"I find the results very strange as this is in the second round. Holy Trinity had a chance to qualify to the semi-finals, if JC were to draw and they had won. I don't think the scores are justified," Forbes insisted.
Forbes said that with three teams in Group I having to battle for one spot, ISSA had brought the games forward and instead of playing a double-header at one venue, opted to play the games simultaneously at two different venues.
"In the interest of fair play and to give JC and Holy Trinity, the LIME Super Cup finalists, a day earlier to prepare," Forbes said of the alterations they made to the fixtures.
"However, while the JC versus Denham Town game started at 3 p.m., the other game started at 3:15 p.m. as the referees for that game were involved in a minor motor vehicle accident on their way to the Anthony Spaulding Complex," Forbes disclosed.
"They (Holy Trinity) were said to be tardy in getting ready for the game," he also noted.
Meanwhile, Carlo Redwood, vice-president of marketing at title sponsors LIME, indicated via email that its an ISSA matter.
"We (LIME) generally do not comment on the outcome of matches. Competitions by their very nature will deliver mixed results. Any adjudication of match results rests with the governing body, ISSA," he said.