Opinions / Analysis
We find ourselves yet again with another botched suspension, and in this case, it proves that the Fijian League can’t read or interpret its own rules and regulations.
It can be argued a three year suspension handed to Tailevu Naitasiri striker Mohammed Imtiaz Khan for a shove on referee's assistant after being flashed his second yellow is not a decision to be championed.
Let's be perfectly clear on a point that any form of assault, verbal or physical on match officials must be taken seriously and a due process followed within the confines of the disciplinary polices.
The punishment needs to be via precedent and moral standing.
What is so wrong with this and a few other cases is that there is a trend and one that has that element of likability attached against the perpetrators. This ‘likeability’ phenomenon is rife and getting noticed.
You would think a 15 some year league would get the feel of its fair disciplinary footing by now than you are in for a surprise.
Article 14, reads the term 'team' defines for all the team officials, team players and fans of the team.
And the penalty on violation as stipulated for abuse in any language toward any league or game officials, physical abuse of the referees or league officials clearly calls for a minimum fine of $300 and as deem fit by the governance and minimum of one calendar year suspension plus a $700 team fine.
What is beyond me is the connotation ‘as deem fit,’ which is startling and in Khan’s case how fitting was it to hand the player the suspension outside their own manifestation.
If this latest incident is right for argument, roll back to 2008 when the league handed Fijian soccer great and now the Nations Cup soccer team coach Ivor Evans a 5 year suspension (2008-2012).
Add to the misery the $5000 bond that was later reduced to $3000.
How fair was that? Was the suspension in any way justifiable? Remember Evans had to waste away a great deal of prime playing days because some people thought he was a ‘nuisance’ on and off the field or was he?
Nuisance? sure every player at times over react when certain calls don't go their way and if it's this reaction that had the league lable him 'niusance' than these people don't know the experience of being a soccer player and what it takes to be a winner.
Having been around the sport like I have, I can vouch for the sensation that he is anything but, he takes a winning attitude to the ball park and at his age would make a bazaar match worth watching even if there wasn't the slightest reason to play for.
If raising the voice on his players, telling the league officials where they belong and intimidating the opposition fueled the honchos the need to put him away for 5 years then certainly it was irrational. I blame the fiercest competitor’s suspension on agenda.
What is strange but yet true is that the very people who didn’t stand his sight and had him whisked away by security personnel on a number of occasions back-flipped and embraced him to lead the Nation Cup team as coach years' on.
Evans, who has left a trail of many firsts in Fiji and with the Vancouver 86ers and the Whitecaps needs to understand off all things the word ‘use’, he doesn’t need the FSLGV and he will never be able to change the way they feel about him.
A single run in with the law and board won't even think twice about his contribution as the 'deem fit' cliche' will come full circle for the repeated offender.
Now consider the same 'deem fit’ clause, with Labasa’s Umesh Naidu’s suspension.
The egregious hit on Tanoa’s Rizal Ganief required ten stitches to patch the wound.
Tanoa FC manager Praveen Adrakar told Sportsone in 2013 the injury almost ended their star player’s career; it copped Naidu a mere 6 games.
Don’t you think this Naidu should have been put away for a few seasons, I guess the ‘deem fit’ didn’t fit his profile or did it.
Adrakar took the aim at the FSLGV, called the suspension as too lenient and added it as the dark day for soccer were yet to come.
It appears the suspensions are based on platitude and not principle; it certainly tilts that way if you closely read into the criterion being applied.
I'm also of the belief the insider mongering and cohesion top down is the contributing factor to many suspensions and actions as these have people, teams and fans loose interest of the beautiful game.
The Premier League of England and many other soccer bodies around the world, view all evidence, far and few and with the help of the modern day technology such as video footings and with help of the referees report render the disciplinary action by the books unlike the FSLGV that holds referees report as supreme cover for their decisions.
In hindsight, the best thing would be to call witness, players and seeks fans account of the fact for a fine tooth comb investigation, but that would be too much work on the part of the governance.
These referees’ report is a template of art to convince people of the expeditious business but much less, it is nothing more than a deterrent for teams and players to lodge a legitimate rebuttal.
The Khan suspension is one such proof of how a few who’s who of the soccer were consulted for opinion before the final verdict came down. So then the lingering question is where did that 'deem fit' approach go.
It could also be argued the entire suspension was too short, but then why Evans was thrown the book and Naidu got off easy.
Was it due to his name, reputation on the pitch, or because of the likability factor? The debate could be made worse for many more reasons.
Khan admitted the wrong doing and he can't be spared suspension, said it all happened in the spur of the moment, there no excuse for attacking a match official.
What cannot be debated, however, are the written rules that Fijian Soccer League of Greater Vancouver has implemented for its own benefit, and how they failed to acknowledge them.