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Belize pulls out of French Guiana Nations League match over flight issues

Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2019. 4:50 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Jaguars are grounded, preparing for what should have been their second match of the CONCACAF Nations League, after today’s game with French Guiana could not proceed due to flight issues.

The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) wrote on Wednesday that the team could not fly to Cayenne as planned due to repeated significant issues with its charter flights.

The first flight was shelved last week after the aircraft was damaged while being sheltered from then Tropical Storm Dorian. A subsequent charter aircraft, it said was not able to secure landing permits to touch in French Guiana.

FFB President Sergio Chuc, speaking with BBN by telephone, said flight plans were upended by the passage of now Hurricane Dorian, but as late as Tuesday players were told to get ready to leave by 4 am as the clearance was being sought. But the clearance never came and by Wednesday evening, even with the last scramblings by CONCACAF itself, there was no way to get the team there and back on time. He added that not even the assigned referees had made it to Cayenne as of this morning.

The Federation said it already booked accommodations for the team in Cayenne and helped them gotten their visas in Guatemala City, which has a French embassy (Belize only has a consulate).

So where does this leave us? Chuc told us Grenada is booked to arrive on Saturday ahead of Sunday afternoon’s match and that will proceed. Belize does risk a potential fine or forfeit by the CONCACAF Disciplinary Committee which will rule next week, but it is more likely the game will simply be rescheduled.

Either way, Chuc says the Jaguars are determined to bag all three points on home ground in Belmopan, and the French Guianese return match is scheduled for November.

But with fans’ plans at home and abroad scuppered, there was backlash on social media today with the Federation accused of not planning properly and dragging Belize’s name into disrepute.


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