Barbados’ Hallam Hope eligibility questioned by the GFF
By Rawle Toney
While it might be mathematically improbable for Guyana to qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, thanks to Barbados’ Hallam Hope, the Golden Jaguars might be roaring at the June 15 – July 7 tournament.
Barbados and Guyana played to a 2 – 2 draw at the Leonora Track and Field Centre on September 6, with Hope netting both goals for the ‘Bajans’.
However, it was later revealed that the Carlisle United and former Bury FC forward did not had the proper clearance from FIFA and the English FA represent the Land of the Flying Fish.
A source close to the Barbados Football Association (BFA) and the Barbados National team, revealed that the 24-year-old Hope, who had represented England at the U16, U17, U18 and the U19 level and has a case similarly to that of Guyana’s Matthew Briggs.
On March 29, 2015, Guyana faced Grenada in an International Friendly at the Guyana National Stadium, where Matthew Briggs, the youngest player to feature in the English Premier (with Fulham in May 2007), made his debut for the ‘Golden Jaguars’.
Guyana won the game 2 – 0 thanks a double from Pernell Schultz (18th and 38th), while Briggs was impressive in the defence.
However, things took an interesting turn when FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee had ruled that it had conducted an investigation of the participation Briggs in what they deemed an “A” friendly match.
The Committee met on October 9, 2015 and deliberated over the matter before handing down the sanction, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) was liable for the violation of art. 5 of the Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes as well as art. 55 par 2 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code for having fielded the player Matthew Briggs without holding the Guyanese nationality.
Guyana would later lose the match by forfeit (3-0), citing article of the FIFA Disciplinary Code. In addition the Federation was ordered to pay a fine to the amount of 4,000 Swiss Francs.
The GFF was also ordered to take all appropriate measures in order to guarantee that the FIFA regulations are strictly complied with.
Similarly, the source told Chronicle Sport, that Barbados, like the GFF at the time which was under the rule of the Clinton Urling-led Normalisation Committee, had breached FIFA’s Code with regards to a player’s eligibility.
Meanwhile a source within the GFF related that an appeal was filed in the appropriate time and manner and when contacted on Friday, president Wayne Forde, refused to comment on the mater, only stating that Federation will make a statement in a near future.
The Golden Jaguars following their 2-1 defeat to French Guiana in the November 20 CONCACAF Nations League qualifier tournament, saw their Gold Cup hopes came crashing down.
Jules Haabo netted on both sides of the half for French Guiana, while Guyana’s lone goal came from captain Neil Danns in a result which changed the tide for both teams; in the case of Guyana, for the worse.
The win pushed French Guiana (six points) to 11th on the 34-team standing; one spot out of qualification, while Guyana (four points) drifted five places out (15th).
Guyana will play Belize on March 23, 2019 at the Leonora Track and Field Centre in a game with crucial implications.
Curacao (1), Haiti (2), Cuba (3), Canada (4), Jamaica (5) and Martinique (6) are the top six teams in the tournament, having picked up full points from their three matches played.
Bermuda (7), St Kitts and Nevis (8), Dominican Republic (9) and Nicaragua (10) are the other teams in the top ten; all having six points, picking one loss from three games.
Guyana are positioned behind French Guiana (11), their next opponents Belize (12), El Salvador (13) and Montserrat (14) who are all on six points and the results from their next game will determine Johnson’s future.
The Guyanese players, fans and other stakeholders, will be paying keen attention on the outcome of the case, since a positive one, coupled with a win over Belize next year, could will see history being created.