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What's the delay

Manoj Kumar
Friday, November 23, 2012

I FIND it a little bemusing that five weeks on, the Ba players who shoved, screamed and had a verbal spat with an assistant referee at the Courts IDC final are still yet to appear before the Fiji FA disciplinary committee.

Instead, Osea Vakatalesau, Avinesh Waran Swamy and Abbu Zaid are in New Zealand playing in the Pacific Cup tournament. And I won't be surprised if this drags on giving them the chance to represent Ba in the Champions League next month.

Maybe after that the committee will get to meet and when that finally happens, I won't be surprised if each of them get away with fines and as little as two to three game bans.

We have seen that happen before and time and time again little has changed. Surprisingly, Suva skipper Simione Maikali finds himself in hot water too.

While we may be way down the ladder on the world rankings given what we offer on-field, off-field we are very much right at the top.

Some of the decision-making at the football headquarters is laughable. The Fiji FA has put an indefinite suspension on players who featured at a New Zealand tournament. Akuila Mataisuva, Valerio Nawatu, Archie Watkins, Eliki Ravosoi, Nitan Kumar and Apisai Smith remain suspended until they appear before the Fiji FA's Board of Control.

However, in the case of Vakatalesau, Zaid and Swamy, they get to keep playing until their fate is decided by the Fiji FA's disciplinary committee. Just how do you justify that? Funny isn't it?

In the case of the New Zealand trip, a circular sent out by Fiji FA on October 11, 2012, informed districts that any players heading for overseas commitments would need to seek prior approval from the parent body.

The tournament in New Zealand started on the 19th. Most players had already arranged their trips and some of them jetted out on the weekend of 13th and 14th October once their teams were eliminated from the IDC in Ba.

This gave them little or no time to seek approval from the Fiji FA. Yes, they erred and should be punished, however, it isn't as bad as the dramatic scenes Swamy, Vakatalesau and Zaid were involved in.

In that case, a match official was harassed and manhandled but the perpetrators are being allowed to play on and their case drag on.

In world football, fair play is preached on a daily basis. What happened on the evening of October 14 was the complete opposite, the worst of it was the fact that a match official was the target. In any other footballing nation, those players would have been dealt with and handed lengthy bans by now.

Here we are left playing the waiting game. Surely there must be a reason behind the delay. Oops, I forgot, the Fiji FA is investigating the involvement of Ba officials in the heated aftermath of the walkout before charges are laid. That's taking almost two months to investigate!

A friend once asked me why I write opinion pieces on local football. This was my reply: "Because the circus never leaves town". I could write a piece every day and still never run out of topics. Often I feel like a clown because no one seems to listen and I think that being silent would probably be better.

Then again I think of that common saying: "Silence will save me from being wrong, but it will also deprive me of the possibility of being right".

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