Turmoil as clubs rail against penalties

  • Warped priorities: many clubs had an opportunity to voice their concerns over the licensed coaches’ issue at the BFA’s Congress meeting last Friday at Devonshire Recreation Club, but chose not to. Now they are up in arms about the governing body enforcing a policy that had a deadline of August 31 (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Club presidents called an urgent meeting for last night to address concerns after sanctions were reportedly imposed on 12 of the clubs for not having suitably qualified coaches.

Sources confirmed yesterday that a meeting was planned among the presidents just a week after one president, Jason Wade of Southampton Rangers, had a motion to amend the Bermuda Football Association sanctions rejected at the annual Congress meeting by a vote of 7-6 with nine abstentions.

Mark Wade, the BFA president, subsequently instructed the clubs that “sanctions remain so fines have to be paid within 21 days of receipt”.

Wade reiterated his position on the matter yesterday, after a number of clubs did not make the August 31 deadline to have senior coaches achieve the “B” licence qualification.

“We have e-mailed all the affected clubs and will this afternoon advise all of the teams of what the sanctions were and what tournaments or divisions are impacted,” Wade told The Royal Gazette yesterday.

“I do understand there may be some appeals, so from our perspective we don’t really want to comment beyond confirming that we have sent out e-mails.”

It is understood that points have been deducted from four Premier Division and eight First Division clubs, and may even involve Dudley Eve [Trophy] group matches, which would affect the final standings.

“I don’t have that information in front of me right now,” Wade said.

A First Division club is understood to have been sanctioned for not having a “C”-licensed qualified coach who was also not certified with CPR training.

Yesterday, the clubs were hastily trying to arrange the meeting, although it is not certain if the meeting involved all 21 Premier Division and First Division clubs or just those affected.

Club officials contacted yesterday remained tight-lipped, but one said: “I received a few calls from a few presidents, starting last night, with concerns. As far as I know my club is not on the [sanctions] list.”

Wade is standing by the BFA’s position on the matter, after sufficient time had been given to clubs to have coaches become suitably qualified. “While we are acting on the policy and the sanctions that are contained in it, we wait for any appeals from the clubs,” he said.

“I have had a couple of calls from club presidents and we’re awaiting official communication. We delayed it [sanctions] in order to give the clubs the opportunity to speak to it at the Congress. They also put a motion to the floor at the Congress and that motion was defeated.

“It’s disappointing to have to come to this particular juncture. I’m still a coach at heart and these sorts of things are not something you want to do. The Executive Council is not taking any pleasure in enacting this particular policy and rule, but as an association it is our job; it’s what we’re elected to do.”

Wade added: “I wouldn’t say this is coming from Fifa, but there is the club licensing that has come directly from Fifa. But for coaches and those working with the development of children, there is a standard, and having a minimum standard is best practice.

“We’re always open to our members, so we’re here to listen to any appeals. But we also have to consider the members who have met the standard as well. It’s a ticklish situation and not one that we look forward to having to deal with, but this is what we are elected to do.”