Barbados are out of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Football’s governing body FIFA today kicked Barbados out of the tournament after they fielded an ineligible player in their preliminary group match against Aruba on June 14.
Barbados won the match 1-0 at home thanks to a goal from Hadan Holligan.
However, it was subsequently discovered that Holligan should not have played since he was sitting on two previous yellow cards in the same competition and should not have been allowed on the field by the Barbados Football Association (BFA). Holligan was booked in the first round tie versus the United States Virgin Islands and got a second caution in the first leg against Aruba in Oranjestad which Barbados won 2-0.
“The sanction will have immediate effect and as a consequence Aruba will now qualify for the next round,” FIFA said in a statement.
Questions remain as to why BFA officials allowed Holligan, 19, to play despite knowledge of the longstanding FIFA rule, as well as to why Holligan himself took to the field against Aruba though being aware he had received two yellow cards.
As a result FIFA has imposed a fine of about BDS$13,000 on Barbados and the match has been declared a forfeiture to Aruba by a 3-0 goal margin.
Aruba now advances by a 3-2 margin to the 12-team third round of CONCACAF qualifying which will be played between August 31 and September 8. The six pairings will be drawn on July 25 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The winners will advance to a fourth-round group stage where the highest-ranked CONCACAF nations enter.
Barbados become the first ineligible player case of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. In the 2014 qualifying programme, FIFA ordered nine African matches defaulted because of ineligible players.
In the wake of the embarrassing turn of events, BFA general secretary Joyce Stewart has also tendered her resignation with immediate effect. The Canadian Stewart took up the position just under two years ago.