Performing that  balancing act
On Target
March 3, 2023

Performing that balancing act

A release last Saturday, February 25, stated that the entire Volcanoes Football Club would be debarred from participating in all Football activities organized or supported by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation(SVGFF).

This was part of the several point decision handed down by the Disciplinary Committee of the SVGFF, following an incident at the Victoria Park on February 8, this year, involving the club and the SV United.

As such this suspension affects the male senior team, the senior female team, as well as the club’s other age group teams.

Furthermore, no member of the team registered to the 2022/2023 National Club Championships can be transferred to any other club during the two- year suspension period.

There are also add ons, as the club has been fined $3,000, while four players along with team manager, Kendal John, were given bans spanning between two and ten years.

Additionally, the club, via written correspondence, must show remorse by apologizing to the St Vincent and the Grenadines Referees Association, whist the club must engage in Conflict Resolution activities.

However, the list of punishments has been a topical issue among football lovers and those who follow events on social media and main stream media.

Much of the debate though has been about the extent of the ban, and not the fact that the players who were deemed guilty of misconduct during the match, were culpable.

Therefore, the consensus among persons who have voiced their opinions on the matter, is that the punishment is excessive and at the worst, inconsiderate.

Hence, the comparison is being made of the three -year ban meted out to a player last November, who bloodied a referee with his fist, causing lacerations to the official’s face.

Relatedly, the offending club was fined $1,000 and given a suspended one-year ban, while the player in question was called on to compensate the referee for the medical expenses he incurred as a result of his injuries.

Many are of the opinion that the punishment then to the Greiggs team and player was the benchmark.

This has some credence, as in the normal course of the law, precedence is the guide.

This column strongly believes in punishment befitting the crime, but will hasten to add that the slate of punishment handed to Volcanoes, is excessive.

It cannot be reasoned that the Disciplinary Committee of the SVGFF is sending a strong message to our footballers, by making “ Peter pay for Paul and Paul pay for all”.

Indeed not all of the players who were on the field at the time were party to the events that unfolded on the night.

Is it then, that the Disciplinary Committee tried to overcompensate for maybe thinking that they erred on the judgement conditions given to the Greiggs player?

But beyond the bans, suspensions, fines and other stipulations, the Volcanoes club and its roster of players will be denied playing the sport at an organized fashion for the next two years.

As it stands, should the suspension be upheld, the country will not have the services of a few promising young players, as well as some senior female players.

Fighting fire with fire is not always the appropriate approach when dealing with matters involving some teenagers, especially the young males.

For many of them, playing Football is their only pathway to recognition and outlets for exhale of their bottled -up frustrations and social battles.

Cognisance of the peculiar circumstances, subjects’ background and socio- cultural upbringing are considerations when we dissect some behaviours.

Our country at this time is grappling with the rise in violent criminal activities, hence we have to handle with care the delicate circumstances when they come face to face.

Football clubs are sometimes the best socialization group for a number of these young men, who thrive on the love, attention and appreciation they receive from their teammates, management personnel, team supporters and well -wishers.

A relook may be needed for the various Disciplinary Committees that are in operation for the different sporting disciplines to take another look at their punitive options.

It will not be a bad idea to have mandatory community service, counselling sessions, as well as anger management sessions as corrective measures, rather than the imposition of bans.

This is not to say that the sporting authorities must soften their stance on ill-discipline but alternative means can be employed incrementally, depending on the severity of the offences.

Taking one from one, will always be zero.