Andre Boucard

VETERAN T&T PLAYER: Andre Boucard

Six weeks after submitting a formal protest to the international football federation (FIFA) regarding the ineligibility of Trinidad and Tobago international Andre Boucard in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in March, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) has not received an official response from the world governing body.

FIFA typically acknowledges receipt of an official protest within 24 hours of its filing date. The consensus, however, is that there is no breach, and that Guyana’s protest is both desperate and frivolous.

Guyana Football Federation General Secretary Ian Alves revealed FIFA’s inaction during an interview with Stabroek Sport. According to Alves, the federation has not received any formal reply from FIFA regarding their protest after six weeks. He added that a timeline for a likely resolution to the protest also has not been issued by the world governing body. Efforts to reach acting TTFA general secretary Amiel Mohammed for a comment proved futile.

Trinidad and Tobago beat Guyana 3-0 in a World Cup qualifying match held in the Dominican Republic on March 25, 2021. Guyana, for its part, sent an official protest to FIFA, despite the fact that Trinidad and Tobago did not use its veteran footballer Boucard in that match. Guyana acted on information provided via digital portal http://insideworldfootball.com that noted that Boucard, at the time of playing a March 28 World Cup qualifier against Puerto Rico, was an athlete agent, and not an active English Association player, making him ineligible.

The publication loosely tried to tie separate issues together on the premise that English FA laws mirrors that of FIFA and that English FA law deemed him ineligible.

However, FIFA regulations governing agents deal strictly with issues between player agents and clubs.

Further, FIFA gives responsibility for the conduct of agents to the Association, in this case the English FA, through Article 15, which states ‘if a players’ agent no longer fulfils the prerequisites for holding a license, the relevant association shall withdraw his license’ - which the English FA subsequently did. The English FA had no further power to act against Boucard since he did not have to be a professional or active player to represent another Association, in this case Trinidad and Tobago.

Meanwhile, president of the Puerto Rican Football Federation (FPF), Iván E. Rivera Gutiérrez has indicated that Puerto Rico also sent a letter to FIFA requesting clarification.

“We allow ourselves to officially request, the necessary information and clarifications be extended to us, without neglecting that it is a situation that warrants the adoption of sanctioning measures and, where appropriate, corrective measures that allow avoiding the repetition of behaviours and negative infringements of prestige of FIFA, its members and football,” wrote Gutiérrez in a letter sent to FIFA.

On March 28, 2021, Puerto Rico drew 1-1 with Trinidad and Tobago in a CONCACAF Qualifier for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup. Consequently, Puerto Rico, with one point and on the verge of being eliminated, are also eying the outcome of the Guyana protest.

“We are awaiting what FIFA’s response will be,” said Rivera Gutiérrez, “We want to know what is the determination that FIFA will take in relation to this case to know the consequences of this, not only in our group, but with the Trinidad and Tobago team.”

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