Suspended national footballer Mario Williams has apologised to the Barbados Football Association (BFA) for breaching its regulations.
Last Wednesday, Williams and fellow national representatives, captain Mario Harte and Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme midfielder Renaldo Trim, were issued suspension letters by the BFA for playing in an unsanctioned tournament after they were warned not to. BDFSP defender Ricardio Morris was also suspended over his behaviour at training.
A source close to the situation informed NATIONSPORT that the players were disciplined for playing in the New Orleans and Gully Hill tournaments after they were warned about it, as well as neglecting national duties.
In a letter bearing yesterday’s date, and addressed to BFA general secretary Edwyn Wood – a copy of which was acquired by NATIONSPORT – the management of Paradise Football Club and Williams, a striker for the team, issued an apology for his disrespect towards the association’s position as it pertains to out of season tournaments.
The letter, which was signed by general secretary of the club Kerry Catlyn, read in part: “Mr Williams has admitted that he made a mistake and is willing to bear any consequences that have occurred. We are hereby seeking some leniency in this matter, as it is the first time that he has gone against the rules.
“In going forward, the Paradise Football Club has always tried to maintain a high standard for its players and respect for all those in authority.”
According to BFA rules, players who participate in unsanctioned tournaments could be subjected to disciplinary action.
Traditionally, Paradise are one of the better organised clubs and boast a complement of nine teams.
When contacted, president of Paradise, Adrian Donovan, said that he had no issue with the punishment meted out to one of his players, as priority must always be given to the national team.
“We were aware that some of our players were playing in out of season competitions, which is the norm during the period before January and the official start of the domestic football season. It is a case where players hope they are not seen, and nothing is done about them playing in these unsanctioned competitions.
“As a management team we had discussions with the player in question, and we thought it best to issue a statement,” he said in a telephone interview.
Donovan added that while players made some extra money in these unsanctioned tournaments, he hoped that many of them would desist from doing so, as it sometimes resulted in injury.
“While the players make some money in playing some of these out of season competitions, it also brings about injuries.
“Right now we are in the process of treating some of our players who will not be able to start this new season after participating in these out of season tournaments, which resulted in injury and it is highly unlikely they will be fit come kick-off time,” he said.
Efforts to reach BFA officials for comment were unsuccessful up to press time, after NATIONSPORT was informed that president Randy Harris is off island, Wood was unavailable for comment, and efforts to reach technical director Ahmed Mohamed were unsuccessful. (RA)