Former national coach believes Grenades erred in not pursuing challenge against FA decision

Outspoken coach and a member of the Liberta Sports Club, Rowan Benjamin.
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By Neto Baptiste

Outspoken coach and a member of the Liberta Sports Club, Rowan Benjamin, has expressed disappointment over a decision by the Grenades Football Club to drop its challenged  against an October 2020 decision by the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) to not crown champions across its three divisions.

The FA, in October last year announced that it was forced to rule it’s 2019/20 domestic season null and void thus erasing all results already yielded prior to the permanent stoppage of play due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

But general secretary of the Grenades FC, Edson Joseph, said on Monday that the club has decided not to pursue the matter further.

“As clubs, when there is an opportunity to try to make a change, we collapse because clearly, Jennings [Grenades] has a case, constitutionally they have a big case. The thing is that the ABFA could have just gone back and awarded Grenades the championship. One or maybe two clubs might have been upset but they are not going and changing anything else,” he said. 

The FA, however, used the standings from the voided league to elevate a total of 12 teams, six from the First Division and six from the Second Division as part of efforts to “restructure” the leagues. Grenades then argued that the same principal should be applied in crowing champions across all three divisions.

Benjamin believes that Grenades has a strong case given what he believes to be possible conflict of interest with the involvement of some executive members in the decision-making process.

“Constitutionally, as he put it in his letter, too many of the persons that make the decision — that major decision — are part of the process. Gwen Salmon [head of the competitions committee] is the head of Hoppers and she sat in that meeting [with the clubs] and said Jennings should not get that [championship] and the constitution clearly states this, that you cannot be a part of the debate if there is a conflict of interest and to me, that is conflict of interest,” he said.

The 2019/20 domestic season was halted in March last year with just two round of matches left in the competition. Grenades, on 31 points, was two points ahead of Greenbay Hoppers both after 16 matches.

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