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THE principals of Naparima College and St Benedict’s College have both issued apologies to the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) executive over breach of sponsorship rules, specifically branding on player shirts.

Both schools caused the ire of the SSFL after fielding uniforms with the logo of school sponsors Tiger Tanks Limited instead of the new Joma uniform with title sponsors Digicel.

In Wednesday’s opening round of the 2019 Premier Division, Naparima played to a 3-0 win over St Mary’s at Lewis Street, San Fernando. However, one of the SSFL sponsors, regional sports cable channel SportsMax, cancelled its feed shortly after the kick-off.

St Benedict’s were beaten 2-1 by Trinity East in their contest at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella.

The SSFL executive, led by president William Wallace, held a meeting at its office, located at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, to discuss Wednesday’s incidents.

The SSFL members also had discussions, via a conference call, with Naps principal Dr Michael Dowlath and St Benedict’s principal Gregory Quan Kep.

According to a SSFL media release, “Both principals issued an unreserved apology during the conference call for their (teams’) action on Wednesday, and have agreed to comply with all the rules and regulations of the League going forward.

“They have also agreed to issue a public apology to the League, partners and all stakeholders on Monday,” the media release continued.

The SSFL executive will make a recommendation to its general council “that no action be taken against the two schools.”

However, according to the media release, “any school that breaches these rules in the future will be immediately suspended.”

The general council is expected to make a final decision on that matter on Monday.

Former national football team goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, who is also the 2019 SSFL Ambassador, said during an interview on CNC3 yesterday, “This agreement (with Digicel and SportsMax) dates back to the signing of SportsMax and SSFL taking up the league and putting it on air. (SportsMax) is now four years into that agreement.

“SportsMax felt that they were taking a chance on the league that nobody else did, and they wanted to protect that investment, in making sure they got full exposure with their sponsorship and agreement.”

Hislop said, “For Naparima to go ahead and do as they did show a brazenness that I think is unbecoming in sports, a level of malintent that I don’t think bodes well for the league.”


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