Cosmos Club is thrilled to be part of the 2019 Capelli Invitational Super Cup Competition after the Barbados Football Association (BFA) reversed a decision that previously barred the St. Peter-based third-division team from participating in the August 18th competition.
In a letter obtained by Barbados TODAY, BFA’s president Randolph Harris wrote to Cosmos management on Wednesday, July 10, inviting them to compete in the Capelli Cup.
BFA’s change of heart came a day after an article published in Barbados TODAY brought to light the plight of the Cosmos team which had cried foul when they met the Capelli Cup criteria for inclusion in the tournament but were not selected. What also made Cosmos management unhappy and complicated the matter further was that another team did not meet the requirement but were selected. That team was headed by a senior BFA official.
In the letter signed by Harris, he made mention of positioning, demographics and club structures as the criteria used for the selection of teams for the tournament.
“All twelve Premier League teams from the 2018-2019 season [were selected]. The top four teams in each zone in Division One, our second highest league (eight teams). The top team in each zone in Division Two (three teams). The overall champion in Third Division after the play-offs (one team).
“Demographics – To give more opportunities to clubs in all areas of Barbados. Club structure, organisation and its ability to meet the strict criteria and regulations of the tournament.
“In choosing the 4th team in zone 1 of the Division one competition, we noted that one of the clubs had defaulted a few games during the season and therefore was not included. Consideration was given to Villa (2nd place in 3rd Division overall) and Cosmos (3rd place overall in Division 3) as a replacement. The WhatsApp message written to the BFA by Cosmos was the determining factor in their non-selection since it indicated that the club would have difficulty attending games on Saturdays as a result of cricket. In light of this, we chose the 2nd place team overall in Division three, Villa United. We have noted your concern, and in the interest of the game, we have decided to invite Cosmos which will now participate as a fifth team in one of the zones,” Harris said.
Now that Cosmos have been selected, manager Steve Cumberbatch said he was happy that commonsense had prevailed in the whole situation.
“After we didn’t hear from them [BFA] we wrote and told them we know they are not going to change their decision, so we want to take the matter to the BOA [Barbados Olympic Association] arbitration. Then they wrote a letter stating that they changed their position and that we are going to be allowed to play in the tournament,” Cumberbatch explained.
Domestic footballers are keen to participate in the tournament as the winning team will receive BDS$50 000, the runners-up $20 000 and the third-placed side $10 000. Additionally, the most valuable player of the tournament will receive a car.
The competition has so far generated significant interest and what were 24 teams have now increased to 25 with the inclusion of Cosmos. The original format sent out by the BFA to all participating teams has two rounds – qualifying and championship.
Now with the addition of Cosmos, it is unsure whether the format will remain the same or BFA will make changes. However, Cumberbatch made it clear that was not Cosmos’ concern. “We want to be in, and that is all that matters.”
If the matter had gone to the BOA for arbitration, that would have made it the second time this year an issue regarding the BFA went before the Olympic committee for adjudication. Recently Corey Barrow, former University of the West Indies Blackbirds striker challenged the 15-year life ban handed down by the BFA and had it reduced to two by the BOA.
With limited time to prepare for the tournament, Cumberbatch explained that even though it was unlikely they would win the competition, they were hoping to gain exposure and experience.
“It is about the experience of the tournament. I am not going to win the tournament because truth be told we are division three, they are premier league. So, the whole thing is to get the boys ready as much as we can for the experience. To see how best we match-up against the rest in the biggest tournament on the island, among the biggest clubs on the island is an achievement so far. So it is just a matter to see how best we could match our skills with the bigger clubs and use it as a gauge to see where we are and where we need to be if we want to reach that level someday,” Cumberbatch said.
Cosmos might have seen the light at the end of the tunnel, but Barbados TODAY understands that former two-time Premier League champions and reigning knockout kings Weymouth Wales have threatened to pull out of the Capelli Cup.
Wales’ management is allegedly peeved that championship money owed to the club by the BFA remains outstanding and the top local club is contemplating forfeiting their place in the lucrative competition.