College League dispute

Arthur Atwell
Date Published: 


Please permit me space in your newspaper to provide some background to the incident which occurred in the Colleges League on Saturday, October 19, 1974 in what was to have been a Q.R.C. — Naparima game, when an S.F.A. official at Skinner Park refused entry to the Q.R.C. bus on the ground that it contained others besides players and officials.

The league games of the C.F.L. are arranged on a home and away basis with the home team — not the league — in charge of all arrangements for the game. Team officials know that there are more in these buses than players but no fuss is ever made about this. Each team knows that whatever consideration is given to its guests, it will in turn receive when it becomes the guests for the return game. If any dispute arose about this matter it could have been settled amicably by the officials of the two teams concerned without the intervention of any S.F.A. official.

Why then the involvement of the S.F.A. official? Skinner Park is the property of the Borough of San Fernando. During the football season Skinner Park is rented from the Borough by the S.F.A. When a team wishes to use the Park during this period, one would imagine that the ground would be sub-let to the team by the S.F.A. and the charges would end there. But no, the matter is not that simple. The team pays the S.F.A. 10% of the gate receipts, and on top of that pays the Borough 12½%.

The argument may be put that the going rate for Skinner Park is 22½% and that this is shared between the Borough and the S.F.A. in the manner already described. This argument holds no water because the going rate for the Queen's Park Oval, a facility at least the equivalent of Skinner Park, is 12½% of gate receipts. On this score, S.F.A. could claim an extra 2½%.

But the charge levied by the Borough, however, over and above that levied by the S.F.A., seems unreasonable and, frankly, extortionist. Under the present scheme, the Borough is an intruder in what should properly be a transaction between an organisation and the S.F.A. It is not at all unlikely that it is the very submission of the teams to such an inequitable arrangement, that has given rise to a situation where an S.F.A. official could assert authority in an area that clearly should have been reserved for amicable settlement between the officials of the two College teams.

Nonetheless, this foolish incident will have served a useful purpose if the Borough were to either provide for the public the principle by which it justifies the 12½% surcharge or cease levying what is clearly a totally unjustified charge.

Arthur Atwell