GFF seeking FIFA’s advice on case involving Shaquille Agard
By Rawle Toney
The Guyana Football Federation (GFF), said the case regarding the eligibility of Shaquille Agard is now with FIFA, with the Federation reaching out to the sport’s World Governing body for advice on how to proceed.
Agard, after playing seven of Fruta Conquerors eight games in the STAG Elite League was forced to sit on the side-lines since according to the GFF, one of the eight participating teams protested on the grounds that he was illegally being used by the Tucville-based team.
News Room Sports had reached out the GFF and after almost an entire week, the Federation said that they take “full responsibility for the challenges experienced by some of the players involved in the Stag Elite League Finale, including Mr. Shaquille Agard”
The GFF reasoned that “the International Transfer Matching System (ITMS) is a relatively new system in Guyana and while ‘teething’ errors are being experienced, every measure is being taken by the GFF to build the capacity of key stakeholders including the clubs and staff of the Federation to effectively manage the system”.
The ITMS is a regulated online platform that manages all international transfers of professional male football players in accordance with FIFA Regulations. The platform also supports the request for approval to FIFA for the “first registration” of minors (under 18) and the international transfer processes involving minors.
Under the ITMS, clubs are required to enter standardized data, such as a player’s identity and transfer agreement details, agreed transfer fees and intermediary involvement.
Based on the information in ITMS, member associations use the system to request and deliver international transfer certificates (ITC) electronically. The ITC allows the transfer of a player’s registration from one member association to another.
It is not known if the GFF or Fruta Conquerors had followed the correct procedure as per ITMS which is only used during the International Transfer window period.
A source close the situation said that GFF pointed out the Fruta Conquerors that Agard was coming from an amateur league, Canada’s League-1 Ontario and as such, doesn’t need to be in the ITMS since the league was seen as an amateur.
But, League1 Ontario (L1O) is described as a semi-professional league in Ontario, Canada, and is sanctioned by the Canadian Soccer Association and the Ontario Soccer Association as a Division III league in the Canadian soccer league system.
Slingerz FC had faced a similar situation with their attempt to use Brandon Beresford and had to enter the US based midfield player through the ITMS since he was moving from playing under US-Soccer to the GFF.
“It is important to note that the GFF is neither making an objection nor double-checking Mr. Agard’s status to play for Fruta Conquerors. Additionally, the GFF has since met with a representative of the team in question and the club has proffered their reason for the player being eligible to play in Guyana. Thus, time was given for the club in question to produce evidence needed to counter the protest” the GFF said.
It’s appalling that despite the GFF’s competition’s director being exposed to several training on the use of the ITMS, that clubs in the STAG Elite League continue to suffer from haphazard administration by those with specific responsibilities at the GFF.