Barbados Incident Explained

Date Published: 
Trinidad Guardian

The Editor, "Sunday Guardian"

I have been asked so often about the "Charles incident" of the Second Colony match, that I have decided in the interest of football and the public, and in fairness to Charles, to write you on the subject.

I should mention that a penalty against us as a result of incidents had before this been awarded for which we thought, very many of us, a foul would have been awarded in our favour. In this case we were satisfied that the referee as the best judge, and although a little ruffled, the Trinidadians on and off the field accepted his ruling in true sporting spirit.

A short time after the "Charles incident" took place, there was a scrimmage in front of the opponents' goal (really in the penalty area), and aloud appeal for "hands" went up. The players hesitated for an appreciable interval, and then the whistle went. The referee ran to the spot and placed the ball outside the penalty area, indicating a free kick for us. Charles was seen to walk off the field.

He reported to me at once with apologies, and stated that all that took place was that he said, when he saw the referee hesitate to place the ball on the spot, "Mr. Referee, the ball was hands'd there," pointing to the spot, whereupon the referee ordered him to leave the field. Other members of the side admit that Charles said "something like that," but 'claim' to have said about the same thing themselves when they saw themselves a goal down, and being deprived of a penalty.

At half-time I saw Griffith tying on his racing shoes (he refereed with them on) and I addressed him thus: "Say, Herman, for what offence did you put off Charles"?

He answered, "I have no time to bother with this now." I then called Commander Hayward who was near by as a witness, and asked Mr. Griffith, as manager of the Trinidad side, I am asking you as referee, "What was the offence for which you put my man Charles off the field?" He became abusive, so I apologised for the embarrassment my questions caused him and walked off.

In his report to the B.A.F.A., the referee charges Charles with having questioned his decision in these words: "Put the ball yonder." This he constues as 'Violent conduct' in contradistinction to 'ungentlemanly conduct' so as to justify putting Charles off the field.

I may add that he is alleged to have recalled Charles while he was walking off the field. At half-time, as the players were taking the field, he sent a message to Charles that if he apologised to him, he could take the field, and continue to play. Apart from the face that such a line is not permissible under the rules, we were prepared to play with ten men and hold that fort instead.

I think that I should mention that at no time during the match, or, for that matter, during the tour, could the game be described as "rough or dirty." I think it is a matter for pride on both sides that with such provocation the game in question did not degenerate into something other than "football."

Manager, Trinidad Touring Football Side, 1944, Colonial Hospital.