Tabatinga FC were banned for the reminder of the Champions League, expected to conclude today, and for two subsequent RFA-sanctioned tournaments. THE 2018 Rupununi Football Association (RFA) Champions League (CL) winners, Tabatinga Football Club, were favourites to defend their title this year before they were banned and they feel that they were harshly penalised by the Rupununi FA.
The RFA had banned the club’s senior male team late last month prior to the semi-finals of the CL for the reminder of that competition (scheduled to conclude today) and for two subsequent competitions.
Mario Villarroel Lander
Although the FA did not officially disclose the reason for the ban, Chronicle Sport was informed via a letter to the club that the ban was the result after several of the Tabatinga FC members had played for a team called Juventus in the municipality of Bonfim in Brazil (which borders Guyana)
The constitution dictates that players are not supposed to play in unsanctioned competitions, especially outside of their jurisdiction
The club said that the ban was wrongly directed, since senior members claimed the ban should have been directed to the players who travelled and competed without the knowledge of the executives of Tabatinga FC, and not to the club as a whole
President of the FC, Lowrenzo Sampson, said that the RFA acted on emotions and not by the rules that are in place to deal with disciplinary action against clubs
“Our club officials were never given a chance to defend our club. The RFA claims they did an investigation in the matter at hand to which no one from our club was asked any question(s) on the situation â¦ they did not call us to a hearing, they did not even respond to our letter seeking a hearing â¦ the RFA has a disciplinary committee and the matter never went to the committee.”
According to information from the club, they were the ones who brought the infraction to the attention of the FA and sought clarity on the way forward
Captain of the club, Emerick Williams, told Chronicle Sport that he was in Brazil at the competition when he saw four Tabatinga FC players in action. He said that as a former member of Juventus, he was invited to be in a team photo and he accepted, but did not play any game
He said that upon returning to Guyana he informed the club’s executives, who attempted to deal with the issue
“We kept a meeting and then wrote the RFA to inform them what had transpired and asked them about the penalties for these players who played in Bonfim unknown to the club. After we did not get a response, we kept another meeting to sanction the players. We banned them from club activities for the rest of the year and fined them.”
Williams said that the club then received a letter from the FA indicating that the club as a whole had been banned. The club captain said that the banned stemmed from assumptions and not facts, since according to the letter, seen by Chronicle Sport, he was also listed as having played for Juventus in the recent tournament â” an accusation he has vehemently denied
In the letter sent to Sampson, the FA indicated that the club had knowledge of the transgressions of the players
“… after proper investigative methods were carried out, it was concluded that your club Tabatinga FC had full knowledge of some of your senior male players being part of another club…,” both the president and club captain have denied these claims
Sampson added that: “Our club should have had a chance to defend ourselvesâ¦the RFA handed out a declaration form to each club to have their players complete and return so to protect the club, but yet when the players infringe they punish the club. This is very wrong. I donât think the RFA is being led the way it should be.”
When asked for a comment, the RFA declined the Guyana Chronicle’s request, indicating a comment will not be made on the matter at this time.