Hadan Holligan trying to make room as Mario Harte (left) makes his move on the outside against Aruba. (FP)
BARBADOS HAVE BEEN booted out of the FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
They have paid the penalty for playing an ineligible player in the return leg of their second round qualifier against Aruba at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex on June 14.
Winger Hadan Holligan had two previous yellow cards and should have missed the match. Ironically, Holligan scored the only goal of the game and gave the home team a 3-0 aggregate after they had won the first leg 2-0 in Aruba on June 10.
A release on FIFA’s website declared that Barbados had forfeited the game and awarded a 3-0 victory to Aruba as well, giving the Dutchmen the upper hand to reach the next round.
Barbados were also fined 6000 Swiss Francs (BDS$12 947.57) for the costly error.
The release said the FIFA Disciplinary Committee considered the Barbados Football Association (BFA) liable for having breached Article 55 Paragraph 1 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC) and Article 8 of the regulations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
In giving its verdict, the Disciplinary Committee referred to the wording of Article 55 of the FDC which sets a clear sanction for any breach of eligibility rules.
The sanction takes immediate effect and Aruba have qualified for the next round.
The ruling comes is a big blow as the team had played as many as four warm up games in preparation for the qualifiers and this was unprecedented in local football.
Barbados lost the opening match of the first qualifier against United States Virgin Islands 1-0 at the National Stadium but hammered their opponents 4-0 away from home to advance.
The Bajans continued their good showing on the road by beating Aruba 2-0 in the first match of the second round qualifier.
However, the mistake with Holligan has cost them a place in the third round.
During the public debate on the issue, many wondered where the buck should stop for the big over sight and if heads should roll.
President of the Barbados Football Association Randy Harris took full responsibility for the error and offered to resign but his resignation wasn’t accepted by the association’s executive. (AT)