Rangers booted out of cup
Southampton Rangers have been kicked out of the FA Cup competition and deducted a league point for noncompliance with Bermuda Football Association rules.
The Premier Division club had the sanction imposed for failure to pay their annual BFA membership fee.
Rangers appealed against the sanction as they felt that the “procedure used was unfair”.
However, the BFA Appeal Committee upheld the sanction after it was “decided unanimously” that the appeal was without merit”.
It is the second time within a year that Rangers have been booted out of the FA Cup and deducted league points.
In January of last year they were stripped of their 4-2 win over St David’s and kicked out of the competition for bringing on a substitute who was not listed on the teamsheet.
The club then had their 5-0 league win over X-Roads wiped out and deducted a further point for fielding an ineligible player last September. A report of the BFA Appeal Committee’s decision regarding the appeal against the sanction, a copy of which The Royal Gazette has obtained, the BFA Appeal Committee read: “On or about the 1st November, the club appealed and submitted his reasons for the appeal as follows:
• The procedure used was unfair.
On the 18th November 2019, during the Hearing of the Appeal, the appellant admitted that they had not paid their membership fees, but relied on the fact that they had agreed a payment plan dated the 24th September, 2019, which expressly stated that ‘in the event that Southampton Rangers fail to make any payments in line with the agreed terms or fails to make contact prior to the due date when payment cannot be made, the Bermuda Football Association will exercise the right to apply any sanctions as per the BFA Statutes’.
On 8th January, 2020, the Appeals Committee heard from Kim Richards, treasurer, and David Sabir, general secretary. The following chronology was established:
• The payment agreement was signed by Southampton Rangers on 24th September 2019;
• On 7th October, Southampton Rangers was advised via e-mail of the potential sanctions for non-payment at 1.14pm;
• Within 20 minutes, Southampton Rangers replied seeking clarity, and relied on the payment plan;
• At some time between 1.36pm and 1.59pm on the 7th October, 2019, the president of Southampton Rangers, Mr Wade [Jason Wade] and the general secretary, Mr Sabir, had a telephone conversation. It is clear from the e-mail of Mr Wade at 1.59pm, that by that time he understood that the payment plan was null and void. Mr Wade states, ‘We would be in a position to send this balance by Wednesday of this week’. Which would have been the 9th October, 2019;
• On 8th October, Mr Wade’s e-mail was acknowledged and the BFA members assumed payment would be forthcoming as stated by Mr Wade.
• On October 13th, the FA Cup first round commenced.
• On 16th October, 2019, payment had not yet been received. Contact was made with Mr Wade, who at that time reverted to his original position to rely upon the payment plan. He was advised that the plan was not signed by a representative of the BFA, and that it was rescinded;
• On 24th October, a meeting was held with Southampton Rangers, and they paid the outstanding sum;
• On 31st October, 2019, the BFA informed Southampton Rangers that the sanctions would be imposed.
The report added: “Upon hearing both sides, it was decided unanimously that the appeal was without merit, in particular the committee found that Rangers having been advised on the 7th October, 2019, that the Payment Agreement was not valid, they offered to pay the outstanding sum on the 9th October, 2019. The BFA was prepared to accept payment up to the 16th October, notwithstanding the FA tournament began on the 13th October, 2019.
“The results of the appeal lodged by the appellant is as follows: All grounds rejected.
“The sanctions are upheld, and the one-point deduction as instituted on September 30th and that Southampton Rangers is not allowed to participate in the FA Cup is confirmed.”
Meanwhile, Jason Wade, the Rangers president, maintains that his club have been treated unfairly and disputes certain points that the BFA Appeal Committee highlighted in their report.
He believes that the matter could have been quickly resolved had his club been advised from the outset that the payment agreement was unconstitutional and the membership fee had to be paid by the original deadline.
“The reason why the fees weren’t paid is because of what the treasurer did,” Wade said. “The treasurer created this.
“She sent us an e-mail in October stating the contract is null and void because it goes against the constitution. But she created it and the reason we didn’t pay is because she agreed to this contract.”
Wade now intends to have the dispute reviewed by the Bermuda Alternative Dispute Resolution.
He added: “The club will be launching an appeal to the Bermuda Alternative Dispute Resolution committee with the hope that this matter can be resolved in amicable fashion.”
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