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Football Federation of Belize publicizes list of sanctions against players and teams, falls short of promised investigation into football violence

Posted: Thursday, May 25, 2023. 9:18 am CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) said it was reporting the outcomes of ‘recent brawls and incidents’ in fulfilment of a commitment it made earlier this month but fell short because its report doesn’t mention any of the games it said it would investigate.

“In reference to a Press Release issued on May 16, 2023 where the FFB committed to launching an investigation into the recent brawls and incidents at football matches, the FFB would like to report the outcomes of such incidents,” the FFB said on Wednesday in a social media post.

“The FFB is committed to continue working tirelessly to promote a culture of respect and fair play in football. We will continue publishing the outcomes of such incidents but urge the football community to join us in our efforts to provide a safe and enjoyable football experience for all involved.”

The FFB then posted a list of players and clubs that had been given red cards, expelled from games, and sanctioned with game suspensions and/or fines, but none of these reports refer to games played before May 16 that the FFB said it would investigate. The game reports and sanctions are for games played on May 20 and 21.

Rather than an investigation, the FFB report on incidents is a disclosure of the usual game reports by referees and commissioners that include incidents such as reckless tackles and obscene language towards referees, and the subsequent disciplinary rulings that the FFB does for all its competitions but which it never publishes as it now says it will.

That announcement is welcome because most of the time, the football fans are never advised of the disciplinary actions that are taken against the perpetrating players and clubs. Now, the FFB must continue publishing these reports just as it should disclose other competition information such as lineups, referees, results including goals and minutes, yellow cards, red cards, and attendance to name a few. In fairness, what are normally reported are schedules, game results, scorers, and standings.

The FFB report includes different competitions under its jurisdiction such as the Premier League of Belize, the National Amateur Women’s League, and the U20 Men’s Elite League.

Among the toughest sanctions is a five-game suspension against Port Layola’s Latrell Middleton. The PLB player has been suspended five games in any FFB organized or sanctioned competition ‘for using abusive language to the referee’ in the match against the San Pedro Pirates on May 21. On top of that, his club, Port Layola, suffered a $250 fine for team misconduct.

In reference to the abandoned U20 Men’s Elite League match between Mid-South and Stann Creek following a players fight on May 20, the FFB said the Mid-South team lost the match 3-0 for abandonment. Moreover, the Mid-South team will have to reimburse Stann Creek for their game expenses, plus the National Organizing Committee will consider whether the team will be allowed to participate in future competitions.

The FFB is still owing the investigation on those “acts of violence or aggression within the football community” that it said on May 16, caused them “deep concern” and that they were so “committed to uncovering the full details surrounding these brawls, including the individuals involved and gathering evidence … with the aim of taking appropriate action to ensure such incidents do not recur in the future”.


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