Booted Camperdown seek ISSA clarification on transfer rulesWednesday, December 08, 2021
BY JOB NELSON
Camperdown High head coach Donovan Lofters is imploring the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) to clarify the transfer rules of the Manning Cup which were used to expel the school from the competition on Tuesday.
ISSA's transfer rules state that athletes, having represented a school in a sport, must sit out a year before they are eligible to represent another institution, to which they have transferred to, in that particular sport.
On Tuesday, ISSA disqualified Camperdown and Tivoli Gardens High from this season's Manning Cup competition over what it said was the use of ineligible players.
Lofters told OBSERVER ONLINE that the situation with Camperdown arose as a result of several of their players registering at football academies last year when the Manning Cup competition was cancelled because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, noting that the players – who had attended the school before the crisis – had sought to remain active in the sport during the break.
The Camperdown coach said ISSA's transfer rules kicked in because of the players registering with the football academies and as a result were judged to be ineligible.
But, according to Lofters, the rules are ambiguous, which makes it open for different interpretations. He said the leadership of the school believed that it was not a transfer situation as the boys were not at an institution participating in any of ISSA's competition.
“The youths were trying to keep themselves occupied during the pandemic last year and then when they realised that Manning Cup will be played this year, they found themselves back home to their schools,” he told OBSERVER ONLINE, adding that “These are players who want to make football a career. They are not going to sit out a year and watch football. They want to be participating in the sport, so they found a way to continue their football journey.”
According to Lofters, the situation is even more confusing as the school submitted 30 names to ISSA, which checked the statuses of the boys, accepted 25 and provided them with identification cards to participate in the competition.
'Other schools committed similar violations'
What's more, Lofters claimed that several other schools that remain in the competition have committed the same violations that were used against Camperdown. He named several players at other schools who he claimed were at the same academies his players attended. The schools of these players are still in the Manning Cup but Lofters said he does not want to disrupt the competition because his aim is to always “give the youths a chance to continue their football career”.
However, ISSA has since dismissed the allegation.
In a news release, the organisation stated, "ISSA wishes to indicate that all allegations of breaches brought to our attention (formally or otherwise) prior to and subsequent to yesterday's announcement have been checked for veracity and at this point we are satisfied that none of these expressed allegations are of any merit."
Camperdown topped Group B in the preliminary round of the competition, and before the expulsion, were drawn with Kingston College, Kingston Technical and Charlie Smith in the quarter-final group.
Tivoli Gardens were also in Group B and finished second and would have contested the other quarter-finals group, which also has defending champions Jamaica College, Mona High and St Catherine High.
Camperdown and Tivoli were replaced by Excelsior and St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) as respective winners and runners up of Group B and took their places in the different quarter-finals group.
Lofters said he is disappointed that the work that the Camperdown have put in has not borne fruit, as he said his players were just starting to play an attractive brand of football and were going forward confidently.
He said the players are dejected, with many now voicing intentions of moving on from schoolboy football despite their eligibility to play in the competition again next year.