Rodney Defends ABCA Appeal Decision

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President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), Leon Rodney, has sought to clarify the body’s recent decision to uphold the June ruling of match officials awarding the Two Day Finals to Empire Nation. 
Rodney, who spoke on the good Morning Jojo Sports show, said the association is not in a position to change any decision made by the match officials. 
“The umpires themselves did, I don’t want to call it an investigation, and who did the investigation or whatever was no lesser person than Mr. Joe Wilson who is an international umpire, Enoch Lewis who is the president of the Leeward Islands Cricket Board, you had lawyer Ralph Francis and [former assistant superintendent of police] Mr. Nuffield Burnette,” he said. 
“They sent out a report and asked that the report be shared with us and it was the same thing upholding the decision,” he added.  
Stating that the match officials may have erred in not dialoguing with the Liberta Blackhawks captain, Rodney maintained that in a situation like that the ultimate decision should be made by those in charge of the match. 
“The rules say that somebody is not supposed to bat before a certain time, but somewhere in the rules also says that in the opinion of the umpires, given whatever reasoning he chooses to accept, which the umpires accepted. However, the blunder came when he probably did not pass on whatever he accepted to his colleagues,” he said. 
“I know that people are saying that it is because he [Leon Rodney] is close to Empire but I would not damage my integrity for no decision against one team or the other because of anything like that,” the cricket boss added. 
In July, the cricket association’s disciplinary committee announced that Empire Nation had been awarded the match based on the report written by the officials when the incident occurred in June.
In a recent interview, President of the Liberta Sports Club, Kenneth Benjamin, said the Blackhawks were never given an opportunity to present their argument to any of the committees that deliberated on the matter, suggesting that the recent announcement must have been in error. 
Rodney disputed the claim, adding he hopes this experience serves as a learning one going forward. 
“When we started doing what we were doing to get to the bottom of where we were and to get there, we invited the captains [of Blackhawks and Empire] to come and visit us and Liberta Sports Club clearly wrote us and said the captain would not attend so what we did, we sent all the documentation to our people because there are different ways of doing things and the administrators of the rules who did that on the day, rightfully or wrongfully, they administrate the rules,” he said. 
“As a matter of a fact, we want to encourage and recommend to teams that instead of bringing the game into disrepute, consider that stuff that says protest,” he added. 
Reports are that Blackhawks had queried the legitimacy of allowing one Empire Nation player, Damian Lowenfield, to bat at number three in the order, after the said player had left the match because of work commitments after batting on the previous day.
Blackhawks argued that, in accordance with the laws of the game, Lowenfield was only eligible to bat after five wickets had fallen. Empire were reportedly 77 for three at the time of the dispute.
Blackhawks were ahead on first innings when the incident occurred.

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