A challenge to whether Barbados violated FIFA rules by allowing a footballer to play in a match against Guyana when he was not cleared to do so could derail the Bajan Tridents’ progress in the Nations League qualifiers.
Further, if this protest that Guyana reportedly lodged with FIFA is successful the Tridents could be kicked out of this Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) competition and Guyana would move up the standings ladder.
When Barbados and Guyana clashed on Sept. 6 at Lenora, in Guyana, the Tridents fielded England-born Hallam Hope, who scored the island’s two goals in the 2-all drawn match.
But press reports emerging out of Guyana and Barbados within the past week indicate that the Guyana Football Federation is objecting to the presence of Hope in the match wearing the Barbados colours though he was not properly cleared by his British club, Carlisle United, through the British Football Association, and FIFA itself.
Hope, now 24, is born to a Barbadian father and has also played junior level football for England in Under-16, U-17, U-18 and the U-19 matches.
If FIFA accepts the Guyanese protest and awards the South Americans the game, they could move up the ladder from their current four points from one win, a draw and a one loss to six points in this competition.
In this competition the Guyanese currently stand at 15th place but a win over the Bajans by default could place the South Americans on level points with eight of the teams in higher standing.
The Guyanese protest, that the Bajans received no clearance from FIFA and English Football Association to play Hope, could on the other hand be a storm in a teacup as the Barbados Nation Newspaper quoted an unnamed source firing back by insisting that everything was done above board in fielding Hope, whose father is Barbadian.
“A letter was sent to CONCACAF and FIFA because they wanted proof of citizenship and that was given,” the source was reported stating about the arrangements made to ensure the Bajans were in line with the rules before naming Hope to the squad.
Tridents Technical Director, Ahmed Mohammed, who is normally ready to speak on anything and everything, deferred comments to BFA President, Randy Harris, who is off the island and could not be contacted.
According to CONCACAF, this qualifying phase of the 2019–20 Nations League is a one-off tournament among 34 teams that is being played from Sept. 6, 2018, to March 26, 2019. This tournament will determine seeding for the group phase of the inaugural Nations League competition next year, as well as select the remaining 10 teams which will qualify for the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the regional senior men’s football championship.
If the Barbadians brush aside the Guyanese challenge that is reportedly lodged with FIFA, their next match in the competition will be on March 19 against Nicaragua.
As it is now, Barbados is 18th in the competition ratings with four points from one win, one draw and one loss.