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Brown hits back at BFA

Quit post: respected coach Brown has left his National Academy role at the BFA

Dennis Brown has hit out at the Bermuda Football Association for questioning his “professionalism and commitment” and said he felt disrespected by the suspension that led to his resignation as a National Academy coach.

Brown said he had no choice but to resign on Monday after his appeal against a two-month suspension for a “breach of contract” was upheld by the Player Development Committee.

The Bermuda Under-15 and Under-17 coach was punished by the BFA for a last-minute withdrawal from travelling to Trinidad for the Caribbean Under-17 Championship in September.

Brown said he had valid reasons for pulling out of the trip — the day after the team left the island — and said he believes he has been “made a scapegoat” for the team failing to advance to the next stage of the competition.

Bermuda, who were coached by Ray Jones in Brown’s absence, finished bottom of group A after losing 6-2 to Jamaica, 3-2 to Trinidad and 5-0 to Haiti.

The BFA issued a statement yesterday in response to Brown’s resignation, which was revealed on Islandstats.com.

The statement said that the circumstances surrounding his withdrawal “left much to be desired” and that he could consider himself fortunate not to have been fired.

In response Brown accused the BFA of being disorganised and said the main reason he did not travel with the team was because the tournament clashed with the second phase of his Uefa B licence course.

“To question my professionalism and commitment when I’ve never even missed a training session is unbelievable,” Brown told The Royal Gazette. “I had these guys training mornings, evenings, weekends, four days a week — they can never question my commitment.

“Once Maurice Lowe [the BFA technical development officer] found out that the B licence and the CFU tournament were clashing he should have had a plan B in case I couldn’t go.

“I asked him three times, ‘Maurice, what’s happening?’ and he said, ‘You’ll be OK’.

“When Donald Park [the head of coaching education at the Scottish FA, who conducted the course] came here, the BFA made some provisions and brought some of my sessions forward so I could go [to the tournament] early.

“Although Donald Park said I was OK, I was not satisfied with some of my sessions and I wanted to stay here and hear all of the information in preparation for the final assessment in October. That, together with my minibus — which was on Hamilton Dock and had to be cleared — meant I couldn’t go.

“The only thing I would have done differently is contact the players [to explain his decision] but they had already left. That’s my only regret.”

The BFA also said it was disappointed that Brown did not communicate with the team or staff prior to their departure or at any point during the tournament. This “apparent lack of remorse or concern for the players” was another defining factor in the PDC’s decision to turn down his appeal.

“To me, it looks like they’re trying to make me a scapegoat for the team not being successful,” Brown added. “If the team would have won, would we still be in this position?

“They’re saying I didn’t contact the assistant coach [Jones] — well, come on, when are people going to take responsibility for their own downfall.”

Brown, a former Somerset Trojans and Devonshire Cougars coach, said he was called into a meeting with Lowe and Mark Wade, the BFA president, in November in which they informed him of his suspension.

It was hoped, according to the BFA, that Brown would resume his coaching responsibilities and help mentor the coaches of the women’s programme upon completion of his ban.

“Once I got into the meeting they started questioning me about why I didn’t travel,” said Brown, the president of the Bermuda Brazilian Football School and Robin Hood under-14 coach. “Naturally I was a little angry in some of my responses as I didn’t know the agenda of the meeting.

“I sent an appeals letter on December 23 and got a reply this week saying the decision had been made without me being present.

“It’s total disrespect for somebody who’s been in the programme for over 35 years.

“I only resigned after I got the appeals letter. I was willing to bite the bullet for the sake of the players in this country.

“It isn’t about me, it’s about improving football in this country. But if the coaches can’t humble themselves and work together, football in Bermuda will not go where it needs to go.”

Brown said he was also disappointed that the BFA cited two other occasions he withdrew from overseas tournaments — the Open Cup Tournament in Alabama in April 2015 and the Mexico 5 Nations Tournament in July 2015.

He said he missed the first trip because of work commitments and the second because he had already to committed a BBFS camp in Maryland.

Despite his perceived mistreatment, Brown has not ruled out working for the BFA in the future.

“I need to take a break from all that.” he said. “I’ll never say never and down the road anything is possible.”

For the BFA statement, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”