Hasten the investigations
Burrell urges ISSA to speed up probe in high-scoring schoolboy matches
Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
The Jamaica Football Federation's (JFF) boss, Captain Horace Burrell, is "deeply concerned" following a report into investigations regarding two Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/LIME matches played three weeks ago.
On Wednesday, November 5, in one game at Constant Spring, Jamaica College mauled Denham Town 16-0 - scoring six goals in six minutes added for stoppages.
In the other match, Excelsior High swamped Holy Trinity 12-0 at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex in Trench Town. JC and Excelsior ended on seven points apiece. However, 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.
JC went on to retain the Manning Cup title after a 2-1 win against Charlie Smith last Saturday at the National Stadium.
"We requested and received the report from ISSA on the investigation into the matter. However, we are deeply concerned and hope that they continue the probe urgently," Burrell told The Gleaner from Chile yesterday morning.
"The JFF is concerned that the integrity of the sport should be maintained at all levels. We request that they hasten the investigations," the JFF president emphasised.
Meanwhile, George Forbes, ISSA's competitions officer, said that the investigations conducted by ISSA personnel did not find evidence of 'foul play' into the games.
"The investigations continue," Forbes told The Gleaner yesterday. "We don't have any evidence forthcoming. But we are of the view that something happened. However, we need evidence. We won't close it," he insisted.
"We are quite disappointed, and we don't think that both losing teams played to the best of their ability. The probe continues and we will not close it, but at this time there is no evidence to substantiate that anything untoward happened, and that's where we are," Forbes claimed.
When quizzed why an independent body was not appointed to investigate the matches, Forbes admitted: "We (ISSA) decided to conduct the investigations."
An ISSA report submitted to the JFF, dated November 14, found that both losing teams did not play to the 'best of their ability'.
Parts of the report stated:
"Denham Town High did not field the regular starters and had only three substitutes due to circumstances outlined by the Principal. Based on the referee's report, the performance of Denham Town High after the 87th minute indicated that little or no resistance was offered.
"In the Holy Trinity High vs Excelsior High game, Holy Trinity arrived late for the start of the game. They did not field the regular starters and had only three substitutes. Based on the referee's report, Holy Trinity offered little or no resistance. They also displayed very little effort with respect to putting up a credible challenge.
"Based on our (ISSA) investigation, the games were not played in the true competitive spirit that is consistent with performances at this level of the competition."
Further, it said: "There was no evidence to suggest that there was any collusion on the part of the teams involved. We are, however, deeply concerned that the circumstances under which the games were played might have been perceived that the competition has been brought into disrepute by the actions of the teams involved.
"We will, therefore, continue to investigate the circumstances under which these games were played."