CONCACAF’s Disciplinary Committee has announced it has found the Barbados Football Association twice fielded ineligible players during 2019-20 CONCACAF Nations League Qualifying.
In an official release, CONCACAF advised that Hallam Hope and Krystian Pearce - both former England youth internationals - were in violation of FIFA statutes governing player eligibility when they were selected to play for Barbados against Guyana in the September round of CNL Qualifying. Hope scored twice in the 2-2 draw in Guyana - that result has now been vacated and Guyana awarded a 3-0 win by forfeit.
Both players also appeared in the October round of CNL Qualifying for Barbados in a 3-0 loss to El Salvador. That result stands since it is identical to the forfeit penalty due El Salvador.
Barbados did not select either player for the November round of CNL Qualifying, so it gets to keep the 3-0 win it recorded over the US Virgin Islands.
The CONCACAF Disciplinary Committee decision sees Guyana bounce back into serious contention for a spot at the 2019 Gold Cup.
The Golden Jaguars should find themselves in the top 10 of the 2019-20 CNL Qualifying table once the forfeit win is processed, with six points and a +10 goal difference. The top 10 teams in the table will win a place at next summer’s Gold Cup and Guyana - with a home game against to Belize to play in the last round of qualifying in March - has a solid shot at making the cut.
Meanwhile, the Barbados Football Association must perhaps look again at its selection procedures. Back in 2015, Barbados was bounced out of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup because it fielded an ineligible player: Hadan Holligan played in a 1-0 win over Aruba for which he ought to have been suspended. Now the BFA has found a new way to forfeit a result in a major qualifying game.
In this latest instance of administrative failure, Barbados loses merely the point gained against Guyana and slips to a -3 goal difference. That point costs the team a mathematical chance at qualifying for Gold Cup - despite home advantage, Barbados is not the favorite to beat Nicaragua in its last CNL Qualifying game in March - and no small amount of whatever reputation for competence the BFA had retained after its last slip-up.