BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 7, CMC – The Barbados Football Association (BFA) has been slapped with a sanction from CONCACAF for fielding two ineligible players in the country’s opening game against Guyana.
The move has dealt a severe blow to the island’s hopes of qualifying in the Nations League.
Barbados won a hard-fought 2-2 draw in September’s away match in Leonora, but COCACAF overturned the result on Wednesday and awarded the match to Guyana by a 3-0 score-line.
The England-based pair of Hallam Hope and Krystian Pearce, who made their international debut for Barbados in that fixture, are at the center of the controversy.
Hope scored a second half-brace to put Barbados ahead after they had fallen behind to a first-half strike by Trayon Bobb.
Didn’t receive clearance
Guyana football authorities subsequently filed a protest with football’s world governing body, FIFA, contending that Hope had not received the appropriate clearance to represent Barbados.
Following in investigation CONCACAF said its Disciplinary Committee had decided to sanction Barbados over the ineligible players.
“The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) today announced its Disciplinary Committee has decided to sanction the Barbados Football Association, by declaring as a forfeit the CONCACAF Nations League Qualifying match played against Guyana, on September 6, 2018,” a CONCACAF statement said.
“After due examination of the evidence, the Committee determined that the Barbados Football Association infringed the applicable articles of the Tournament Regulations and the Regulations Governing the Application of the FIFA Statutes in relation to the eligibility of players to play for representative teams by fielding ineligible players Hallam Hope and Krystian Pearce.
“In accordance with articles 55 and 31 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, the Barbados Football Association is considered to have lost the match against Guyana by a score of 3-0.”
The duo also played in the Match-Day two fixture against El Salvador in the Central American country in October, when Barbados were defeated 3-0, but CONCACAF said that result would stand.
“The result of the match played against El Salvador on October 13, 2018 is upheld in accordance with article 31 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, with a score of 3-0 in favor of El Salvador,” the statement added.
Hope is a 25-year-old winger who currently plays for English League Two club Carlisle United. He was born in England but qualifies to play for Barbados through his father.
Twenty-eight-year-old defender Pearce represents Mansfield Town, also in League Two. The six-footer, has played for England at the Under-17 and Under-19 level, and qualifies for Barbados duty also through his father.
The decision by CONCACAF to sanction the BFA is a blow to Barbados’ campaign and leaves them with two defeats and a single win – a 3-0 blanking of the US Virgin Islands at the Wildey Astro Turf last month.
Pearce and Hope did not play in that match , where goals from local players Hadan Holligan, Raheim Sargeant and Mario Harte gave the hosts an emphatic victory.
With the Guyana win forfeited, Barbados have dropped to 23rd on three points in the 34-nation competition that serves as a qualifier for the prestigious CONCACAF Gold Cup next year.
They have one remaining match in the series when they host Central American side Nicaragua in a difficult fixture next March.