An official of the Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Association Football [CONCACAF] has ruled that the suspension of the current Marchand Football League [MFL] by the St Lucia Football Association [SLFA] Inc. is constitutionally legal and timely.
At a meeting held on January 5th, Marco Leal, CONCACAF Chief Officer addressed the gathering that consisted of an SLFA official and MFL representatives. He laid out several factors that arose from the situation and pointers to rectify the matter.
Last year, in the run up to this development, the SLFA had informed the Interim MFL body that they had no lawful authority to hold general elections after the resignation of several former MFL executive members.
However, the MFL failed to heed those instructions and instead, went ahead to convene general elections and subsequently, a new MFL executive was elected.
The SLFA did not recognize the latter process, which they deemed to be unconstitutional and the MFL was suspended from participating in league competitions.
Present at the latest meeting with the CONCACAF official were Victor Reid – SLFA General Secretary, and MFL representatives Sabina Kirton, Kurt Weeks, and Dr. Owen Gabriel.
Leal noted that, though the issue in focus was “an internal matter” under the remit and authority of the SLFA and under normal circumstances, CONCACAF nor FIFA would not normally be involved, nonetheless, “CONCACAF thought it best for it to deescalate the situation”.
Said Leal, “CONCACAF observed that the situation had escalated and decided that it would provide some insight to both parties on the issue for their understanding, consideration and action.”
The CONCACAF official noted that he had possession of “all the relevant documentation pertaining to the issue” and that he had the privilege of studying these and coming to a conclusion based on best practice, legality and the past experiences of FIFA and CONCACAF.
In his judgment, Leal ruled: “That the mass resignations of the Executive Committee members of the Marchand Football League meant that the Executive Committee lacked the Legal Standing to take decisions as it could not constitute a quorum according to the League statutes and therefore was unable to continue to administer and take decisions in relation to the Marchand Football League.”
Also, he added, “That the caution to desist as instructed by the General Secretary of the Saint Lucia Football Association Inc. was timely and legal, and should have been heeded.”
Leal further note that in the absence of a quorum for the MFL at the time, “which consists of four executive members was nonexistent and meant that the persons left on the executive committee had no legal standing to take decisions on behalf of the Marchand League.
“That under such conditions, the Member Association, as the governing body of the League assumes responsibility for its member League. By extension, it meant that the Saint Lucia Football Association Inc. under such circumstances assumes jurisdiction over the member league to develop the way forward for it.”
He added that, “the call for and the election of an interim executive committee could not have been undertaken and that the existing interim executive committee is without Legal Standing.”
Leal stated that, the MFL Constitution does not make provision for the holding of a Congress to be requested by its members and even if this was possible, “the absence of a valid executive committee would negate the composition of the congress. Consequently, the current interim executive committee could not facilitate such a meeting.”
He asserted that: “The Suspension by the Executive Committee of the Saint Lucia Football Association Inc. is valid and that this suspension would now have to be taken to the next Ordinary Congress for its consideration for further sanctions or abandonment according to the Association Statues.”
Leal adds that, “irrespective of any perceived reasons” given by the MFL Interim Committee, the group appointed cannot be recognized by the SLFA.
He urged the SLFA “to begin the process of reintegrating” the MFL into the fold of league affiliates, as the orgnisation has the “legal mandate” to develop the Road Map to reintegrate the League.
Leal explained that the SLFA Inc. “has the authority or legal standing to develop regulations for implementation by its member leagues from time to time and that it has the authority to cause its member leagues to adopt and comply with the respective specific regulations.”
Leal reiterated that, it was now left to SLFA to address the situation “with the development, articulation of and dissemination of the appropriate ROAD MAP to bring the impasse to a logical conclusion.”