THE Football Federation of Brunei Darussalam (FFBD) has issued a statement to clarify their import ban rule for the 2010/11 DST Group Brunei Premier League (BPL), stating that they were only following the rules.
The import ban rule, which was confirmed in late February, states that "this season no import players will be allowed, including those that hold green identification cards".
This has led to former Projek Ikan Pusu striker, Nelson Fitzgerald, being denied a spot to play for a BPL I side as he currently holds a green identification card.
He had sent in an appeal to have the ruling overturned earlier this month but was informed that it was unsuccessful.
The FFBD issued a statement to The Brunei Times yesterday and elaborated that they were just following the Fifa (the Federation of International Football Associations) ruling, whilst the international ban on Brunei Darussalam is still in force.
"The rule banning import players was introduced by FFBD this season only and the rule was always meant to be further reviewed at the end of the season," said the statement
"The rule was introduced to ensure a more level playing field amongst the participating teams, since other clubs are not able to employ imports due to financial constraints as well as the current ban of Brunei Darussalam from international competitions imposed by Fifa," it added.
"This Fifa rule means that no foreign players holding International Transfer Certificates (ITC) will be allowed to play in the DST Group Brunei Premier League," continued the statement.
The statement also included the reasoning behind Nelson's appeal being turned down to play for a BPL I side.
"The FFBD Competitions Committee did meet to discuss the merits of the appeal. However, the committee unanimously dismissed the said appeal, hence upholding the rule imposed earlier," said the statement.
"The Competitions Committee in its deliberations also noted that Nelson Fitzgerald wanted to play for Jerudong FC, where FFBD Exco members are also represented. Hence the committee also wanted to preserve the integrity of the rule to avoid allegations of favouritism towards any particular team.
"In its official reply to the appeal dated 21st March, however, the FFBD through its Secretary General made it clear that the non-import player rule only applies to the DST Group Brunei Premier League (being the official national football league in the country) and not to other age group leagues organised by FFBD," continued the statement.
"Hence, Nelson Fitzgerald will be able to play in any U-18 or U-19 leagues which FFBD also intends to organise later this year, time and venue considerations permitting," concluded the statement.
Regarding the above matter, Nelson's father, Ken Fitzgerald, had separately taken action by seeking support of State and National Football Authorities in Australia. However, it proved there was nothing that Football Federation Australia (FFA) could do in their reply.
"I am sorry to hear of your son's situation it is always a shame when administrative issues prevent participation in football. Unfortunately, I must advise that Football Federation Australia is unable to make any correspondence with the local governing body (FFBD) at this time," said the reply.
"Brunei is currently suspended from Fifa and accordingly FFA is prevented by Fifa from communicating with Football Federation Brunei Darussalam. I can also confirm that FFA has had to withdraw its approval to school tours planning on visiting this country as a result of the Fifa ban," it added.
The Brunei Times