Roberts blames Golding
President of Arnett Gardens FC Patrick Roberts says that new Member of Parliament (MP) for South St Andrew, Mark Golding has influenced the club's players to call for his removal after a petition demanding his resignation was submitted by members of the team.
The petition, which was sent to the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) pointed to unpaid salaries while noting a lack of confidence in Roberts' ability to effectively lead the club, while calling for Golding to take control.
"It was a petition that was circulated to the players asking for KSAFA's intervention to axe me as president, signed by around 25 players. I don't know who penned that petition," an irate Roberts told The Gleaner yesterday.
"It is clear as crystal that he (Golding) is behind it. He had said that if the administration of the club stepped away, he would take over. They want to get me out through a back-door deal," he said. "This is one of the saddest days in club football in Jamaica. This is dishonesty and brings my integrity into question. How can you get rid of the leadership of an organisation by using a petition?" Roberts said.
"The players are saying that the MP is telling them that if they sign the petition, he would come forth and pay them the two months owed. They were promised that the MP would come in on one condition and that is if Mr Bennett and I step down. Mr Bennett has resigned, so the issue is with Patrick Roberts, and that is the reason for the petition," he outlined.
Situation not unique
"Arnett Gardens is not unique in their financial crisis. Anybody can come in and say I have the resources to pay salaries, but get rid of the people at the helm. It is not a 10 months crisis, the obligation is only for the last two months," Roberts added.
"We have paid them to December and took them to the club championship which had a budget of over $6 million. We participated and qualified for the final round to be played in Jamaica in May. If that was not in place, it would mean that we could have paid the two months salary owed to the players," he said further.
"We had to make an administrative decision. Paying them and not going to the Club Championship is a US$40,000 fine. If I find the money and pay up the two months owed that petition would be null and void," Roberts also said.
"It is a disrespectful and dangerous move that put the sport of football in disrepute. It is a dangerous precedence. I am the president for 18 years and have unwavering support for over 18 years, It means that you are coming in heartless as MP for only three months. We are at the heights of the Club Championship, so I will step away at the end of the current season. I will tender my resignation at the end of the season, so work with it," he said.