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HOT SPOT – Whither Super Cup final?

Ezra Stuart

HOT SPOT – Whither Super Cup final?

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EVER SINCE BNB St Catherine complained that the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) had rescinded the decision of the Complaints and Disputes Committee and ordered a replay of the Sagicor Super Cup semi-final with Sagicor UWI for last Easter Monday, I have been keeping my cool.
But since a new domestic season has started without the completion of last year’s premier one-day competition, I think it is fitting to raise the issue again.
This is especially so considering the deafening silence by cricket commentators, broadcasters and other respected award-winning journalists after the replay did not materialise.
The first round of matches in the 2011 Sagicor Super Cup is scheduled for Sunday but fans seeking to get the real cricket news have been kept in the dark about the status of the final of the 2010 competition.
Surely, the BCA can’t be serious about proceeding with a new competition without trying to end last year’s tournament, which was mired in controversy over the use of a Venom brand ball by the St Catherine team.
Thus, it is surprising that the BCA board, in upholding a subsequent appeal by UWI to that decision, treated the St Catherine Club with such scant respect by not giving a single reason for its judgement.
It was like a principal inflicting punishment to a student without telling him about his wrongdoing or the rule he had broken.
Such contemptuous behaviour by the BCA should not be condoned and its ordinary members should ask for an explanation, as transparency must be observed. But this dispute matter should’ve been settled a long time ago.
Quite appropriately, the Complaints and Disciplinary Committee gave chapter and verse in a six-page statement, noting that the match-winners, St Catherine, had clearly not broken any of the playing conditions or rules of cricket.
At that stage, the UWI officials should’ve eaten humble pie and allowed cricket to be the winner.
Suffice to say, they may feel justified that their appeal has been upheld even though the BCA has failed in its duty to reveal the grounds for its ruling.  
There are some interesting summations in the six-page report of the Complaints Committee.
Wasn’t it pointed out by one of the umpires that other teams in the same competition had used that similar type of ball, provided to them by the BCA?
Didn’t another umpire also reveal that he personally collected the same type of balls from the BCA office on behalf of his club?
And did a high-ranking BCA official not admit that the cricket association ran out of its BCA-stamped balls and distributed the same Venom balls to some clubs?
Wasn’t it also proven that the same balls are stored in the BCA’s office?
Surely, had St Catherine breached the playing conditions and rules, the match should have been rewarded to UWI.
To order a replay seems to suggest that some sort of compromise was made.
Even so, had the evidence been inconclusive and it could not be proven that the ball wasn’t obtained from the BCA, shouldn’t the original result stand?
Why must the winning team be penalised if there is no guilty verdict? But what is disturbing and downright disgusting is that the BCA, in their letter to St Catherine’s president Mac Fingall, chose not to say why they made the verdict to uphold UWI’s appeal and go against the decision taken by their own independent Complaints and Disputes Committee.
Whereas the BCA has continued to snub the media by not providing the necessary details of what should be an important matter, the dispute has now gone to arbitration and may not be settled anytime soon as the appointed arbiter will now have to go through the hearing process from scratch.
But this matter should never have reached that stage, as to non-legal luminaries it appeared a simple right or wrong case in determining whether the controversial Venom ball which was used by St Catherine and also in the other semi-final, was indeed supplied by the BCA as stipulated in the playing conditions for that competition.
At the BCA Awards Ceremony at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre just before the 2011 season started, no prizes were given out for this competition and not a single word was said to this effect.
It was as if the competition never existed, as neither the president nor chairman of the awards committee mentioned anything about it. Only when the citation for one of the awardees was being done by the master of ceremonies, was a passing reference made.
The delay in playing the final will adversely affect the two teams who reached the final by defeating their opponents on the field of play.
The Barbados Youth will also be affected, as three of the leading players – all-rounders Roston Chase and Kyle Mayers, and left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican – have moved on to clubs while a fourth, left-arm seamer Ravenna Persaud is now enrolled with the Barbados Defence Force’s Sports Programme.
In essence, they are no longer a part of that team. While they should still be eligible to play, it would mean they would now be representing two teams. 
While one would like to see the reduction in protests, a higher hearing fee of $500 should not be used as a deterrent, especially if clubs strongly believe that they need to have some form of redress.
Just imagine that in the playing conditions it is stated that “if, after the hearing, the Complaints and Disputes Committee is of the view that the protest was justified, irrespective of its success the committee may, in its discretion, recommend a refund of part or all of the hearing fee”.