A major breach in the agreement by the 2018 Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) triple crown champions Naparima College, has led to the cancellation of the broadcast of its opening match of the season on Wednesday.
The opening match between 'Naps', as they are commonly called, and St Mary's College was scheduled to be broadcasted on Sportsmax, the Caribbean sports cable network at Lewis Street, San Fernando, but the LIVE broadcast was pulled moments before the start, after Guardian Media Sports learnt that Naparima altered the kits of the official uniform provider for the SSFL- Joma, in a move to promote their sponsors.
It is understood that Naparima had secured the sponsorship of Tiger Tank and sought to engraved their logo on the official Joma uniforms provided to them by the SSFL, despite an agreement that Joma is to be the official kit of the tournament.
This new development has caused outraged among members of the schools fraternity Guardian Media learnt, since the southerners received a warning from SSFL officials for using the altered kits at last Saturday's opening Digicel School Cup between them and Presentation College of San Fernando, which they won on penalties 5-4 at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella.
SSFL officials were immediately into an executive meeting today to decide on the way forward, after threats by Sportsmax to not do any matches played by Naparima College. The executive of the SSFL will decide by Monday.
On Monday, Shaka Hislop, the SSFL's ambassador was among those disappointed by the move of the southern school, saying "I am disappointed by the actions of Naps throughout. I felt that their actions were not only self-serving, but were intended to not just confusing, but to deceive. The entire league is going to suffer for it, and not just the premier division of the SSFL, but everything that comes further down, all the younger age groups are also going to face the effects of, in my mind, what was a very poorly perceived, thought-out decision by a single school."
Soon after Williams Wallace, the SSFL president also waded in on the decision of Naparima, saying by next Monday it will be determined what the next step will be.
Wallace who was interviewed on the Digicel-owned Sportsmax after the match yesterday said the matter was discussed among the Championship and Premier Division schools at the executive and general council levels, but Naparima disagreed with it.
"At the end of the day a vote was taken and 25 members voted for the position, as brought forth by the executive, one person voted against and there were three abstentions. The constitution clearly states that all general council decisions are final, and it can only be overruled by the same general council, or by our AGM. So when we left that meeting we felt that all the arm of the organization, and the process that we followed and everything, was all well. Then we heard that Naparima may not follow the position taken by the general council. I thought it was just rumoured, but during yesterday, I realize the rumours were getting more and more, and I decided to reach out to the principal of Naparima. I sent a letter indicating the process that was taken, and it was constitutional, and it was based on the contract by Digicel etc, but there was no response to that."
Wednesday's match between the teams was allowed to be played but the decision of the executive by Monday will determine the fate of the southern champs.
Efforts to contact Naparima's team manager Percy Samlalsingh were unsuccessful.