The Barbados Football Association is satisfied there was nothing amiss in Pinelands capitulating to a 21-0 defeat to title contenders University of the West Indies Blackbirds last Sunday fortnight.
In a tight Premier League competition, UWI’s huge goal tally has given them an impressive goal-difference at the top of the 10-team table with 42 points from 17 games with one match to play against fifth-placed Rendezvous when the final round of top flight domestic football is concluded this Sunday. The margin of Pineland’s defeat was the largest in the history of the Digicel-sponsored Premier League competition.
The second-placed Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme are in second place on 41 points with one game to play against third-placed Paradise who are on 34 points and out of the reckoning. A draw for the BDFSP will take them to 42 points while defeat for the Blackbirds will see them remain on 42 with a healthy goal difference after the Pinelands meltdown.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY president of the Barbados Football Association Randy Harris said there was nothing untoward gleaned from Pinelands’ poor showing against UWI. He said the team started with the disadvantage of just having seven players and when their numbers were subsequently increased they were visibly “seen to be trying their best”. Harris said the Pinelands team were tackling and making an effort in the game.
“I don’t believe there was anything underhanded in Pinelands’ heavy loss. They were trying their best but were simply outplayed by the better team,” he said.
Harris said the referee was in control of the game and had the authority to stop the game if he believed something untoward was going on and Pinelands were deliberately gifting the game to their opponents.
“In any game situation where a team appears to be deliberately throwing a game and not making an effort, a referee can use his discretion and blow off the game. But this was not the case in that game,” Harris noted.
Pinelands have been demoted from the Premier League after finishing last having played 17 games, lost 15 and drawn two for two points. After a season to forget, Pinelands were forced to field an under-17 team for their final three to four rounds of matches after most of their main players deserted the team. Among those not playing in the recent rounds have been national player Arantees Lawrence, former national Rommel Burgess, Jamar Perch, Dario Wilson, Lionel Paul and Anthony Nurse.
Pinelands were scheduled to play their final game of the season this Sunday against Weymouth Wales but have forfeited the match and gifted the Wales a 3-0 win and the points.
Harris expressed disappointment in the manner Pinelands had brought their season to an end. He noted that players with a professional and serious mindset play for their team to the end and give of their best at all times.
“Some teams have an amateur approach rather than try to be as professional as possible in the way they do things. You watch football at the professional level or watch people with a professional approach to football and they do not drop out of a team because the team is not doing well. They keep trying and play the season to the end,” he said, noting that leaving a team before a tournament’s conclusion sent the wrong message to both paying fans and sponsors.