By Wleh Bedell
The Liberia Football Association (LFA) 2017 national league is over with LISCR FC emerging as champions, courtesy of a 12 point deduction from FC Fassell after investigation by the LFA Grievance Committee ruled in favor of LISCR that filed a protest against FC Fassel Though they LISCR did not benefit from points deducted from Fassell directly, the fact that they were in second spot behind the then league leaders made things relatively easy for them as the catapulted to the top of the tree to win the championship.
The season was not without controversy as the protest that led to 12 points deduction from Fassell sparked huge debate as there were contrasting views on the matter, but with the rules being the rules, the pendulum turned in LISCR favor and are now the new champions of the LFA elite league.
LISCR had filed a protest against three players of FC Fassell; Jeremy Sengbe, John Jasay and Alvin Mcornel who according to the communication from LISCR to the FA failed to serve suspension as a result of cards received in previous matches. And with the league raging on and connoisseurs giving their views on the issue, there were many itching to know the outcome of such protest. To prove their case, the shipping boys LISCR produced the cards tally sheet from the Liberia Football Association. In the end, Fassell FC lost 12 points and LISCR got such salient document should not really be the cardinal issue as in the end, Fassell were ruled against by the FA with only player Sengbe at the apex or crux of the ruling from the local football house. Fassell later took an APPEAL contesting the ruling, but it soon went in oblivion for ecstasy to be in the camp of LISCR as they won their third top flight crown, their first in four years.
But, while the champions are now known after months of bickering which even led Fassell to declare themselves as champions after walking away with free three points due to relegated outfit ELWA not showing up for their final match. The FA though which has the final saying declared LISCR as champions.
The championship saga is over but another issue seems to be looming which could spark controversy and bring the LFA under the spotlight. This has to do with LPRC Oilers COMPLAINT filed on July 20 against FC Fassell for fielding an illegitimate player, Alvin MCcornel against them on July 2, at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in a match Oilers lost 1-0. The Oilers as per the league table at the end of the season are placed in tenth place which is an indication they are in the relegation zone and as it stands as they are one of three teams to be dropped to the Second Division.
However, judging from the protest filed by LISCR which they won submitting the LFA Cards Tally Sheet to authenticate their claim, is just the same sheet the Oilers also have and have since submitted same to the LFA to verify their claim also.
On the sheet, it is glaring that FC Fassell engaged in cheating as they fielded player MCcornel who was serving a three game ban.
It can be recollected that on April 23, 2017, MCcornel received a straight red card in his side 3-2 loss to Nimba United at the ATS. Thus, he was suspended for the next three games as per the rules of the LFA league relative to a player receiving a straight red card. MCcornel missed the next match against LISCR on May 14, was surprisingly fielded in the next match against Barrolle, May 31, Fassell vs Barrack Young Controllers ( BYC), June 11, Jubilee vs Fassell, June 19, Fassell vs Keitrace, June 24 and Fassell vs Oilers on July 2, 2017. Thus, just like LISCR, the Oilers claims are genuine and if LISCR won a protest based on evidence of the LFA own cards tally sheet, then the COMPLAINT must be ruled in the Oilers favor in getting three points.
This means, Mighty Barrolle who ended the league with two points above the Oilers as a result of benefitting from three points from the LISCR protest that caused a 12 point deduction from Fassell will be relegated with the Oilers restoring parity on the log to move to ninth place with a point over the Rollers. The Oilers after securing a solitary goal win against Barrolle on July 24, left the relegation zone with a point over their opponents, but the three points received from the mammoth 12 points deducted from Fassell has placed them above the Oil boys.
Indeed, this is a litmus test for the LFA and if the Oilers cannot win the complaint, then the local football house must reverse its decision and declare FC Fassell as champions of 2017.
An attempt to deprive the Oilers three points in the midst of key evidence will be described as a football faux pas, one of sheer absurdity, the raising of eyebrows, sparking of controversy, a shame, football witch hunt and a very inconsistent nature.
The Oilers no doubt deserve a top flight stay and the LFA must be intrepid in ensuring the Oilers win the Complaint as the evidence is clear as a sunny day.