Defending champions Grand Bassa County and four-time winner Nimba County are expected to replay today at 3:30p.m., at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium following a ruling by the Protest and Grievance Committee.
The decision was reached yesterday at the Ministry’s 19th Street office following an advice from the Protest and Ethnics Committee of the Liberia Football Association (LFA).
According to Cllr. Moiffie Kanneh’s Committee a replay of the match (between Grand Bassa and Nimba) must take place on grounds that both parties were in violation and that the suspended player (Jerry Wleh) be barred from the tournament and further actions be meted out against him for knowingly deceiving the organizer and the county.
The ruling also suggested that the LFA must establish to the organizer whether or not players William Freeman and Zizue Kollie are qualified to participate in the tournament based on allegations that they play in the upper division, contravening the Rules and Regulations of the National County Sports Meet.
According to the protest, on Thursday, Nimba County’s Administrative Manager Musa Kromah complained in a letter to the Ministry of Youth and Sports that Grand Bassa County played with four illegal players which included Trokon Jackson, Sekou Bayoh, Jerry Wleh and William Freeman.
Nimba County argued that Trokon Jackson, with jersey number 22, is registered with a playing Card# 12, with his name on the game sheet listed as Zizue Kollie, who was a 1st division player; and that William Freeman played for Gardnersville FC in the 1st division league.
The protest further said that goalie Sekou Blayoh, wearing jersey # 1, is a national team player who also playsfor Mighty Barrolle in the 2nd division, and Jerry Wleh, wearing jersey # 3, was banned by the Liberia Football Association for double registration with ELWA United and Hope FC.
The Kanneh Committee said that the LFA indicated that player William Freeman was not inspected on the referee’s date sheet; that player # 22 Zizue (Trokon Jackson) was inspected but was a reserve player and so did not form part of the game; that Trokon Jackson, whose playing card was seized and submitted to the LFA as part of the protested names, was not found on the referee’s game sheet; that the player wearing jersey # 3, Jerry Wleh, was inspected and actively participated in the match and player wearing jersey # 1; and that Sekou Bayoh was inspected and featured in the match.
Accordingly, based on the records from LFA and its subsequent findings, player Jerry Wleh is charged with misconduct for registering with two teams, ELWA United and New Hope, in the 2014/2015 LFA National League.
The LFA said further that Grand Bassa cannot be held to have violated the Regulations on Players’ Eligibility for the National County Sports Meet for player Sekou Bayoh because he wasn’t fielded on the turf though he was dressed.
Howbeit, the Committee argued that Nimba County’s protest was unclear, which contravenes 18.0 Article XVI, which reads: “Protests, grievances and complaints from a match must be registered on the report sheet before, during and immediately after the match, counter-signed by the opposing team’s captain, followed by a formal letter within two (2) hours. A non-refundable fee of L$7,000 shall be payable; investigation shall be carried out immediately (preliminary rounds), from the quarter finals thru finals, within 24 hours.”
The Committee said it established that Nimba County’s protest was not filed according to the rules, and as such, must suffer the consequences thereof and its complaint considered null and void.
“Subsequently, it is clearly established that both counties failed to adhere to the rules and regulations governing this tournament by grossly violating every aspect,” Chairman Kanneh said.
“The principal essence of this tournament is to promote peace, harmony and fair play which are fundamental for all sporting activities universally. It will be unfair to reprimand one county when both counties are in gross violation.”
However, Senators Prince Y. Johnson, Thomas Grupee, Rep. R. Matenokay Tingban, Mr. Harrison Karnwea and Dr. Frederick Norkeh of Nimba County have expressed disappointment over the Committee’s decision on Nimba’s protest, but said they are constrained to accept the verdict.
Grand Bassa County District # 3 Representative Gabriel Smith and the County Sports Steering Committee chairman Levi Dermie have threatened to appeal against the replay. But up to press time, Bassa has not filed any additional protest.