Updated: Jun 10, 2021
The Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association has suspended its general secretary, Oliver Smith for what it described as an “ugly incident” last Saturday after the Turks and Caicos/Haiti World Cup qualifying match-up which saw Haiti winning 10-0.
Smith was featured in a highly-shared video, walking up to a player, who was seated on the field along with other team mates, and yanked a ball out of his possession. His actions triggered a heated confrontation between him, the player, his team mates and members of the Haitian delegation.
Smith apologized for his actions on Monday, June 7, describing his deeds as unbecoming. The statement wrote:
"On June 5, 2021, approximately 10 to 15 minutes after a World Cup qualifier game between the Turks and Caicos Islands and Haiti Men’s National Team there was an exchange between some members of the Haitian football team and I.
"The exchange was as a result of the Haitian Team’s refusal to return footballs belonging to the Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association. My response was not in keeping with established protocols, and was unbecoming of a representative of the TCIFA. For that I apologize to all affected parties.
"This situation serves as a poignant reminder to all stakeholders to remain respectful of each other, and that football is a sport which unites all nations and creeds. It is through this sport that opportunities for advancement have been made available to many persons living in the Turks and Caicos Islands irrespective of nationality.
"We all have a role in safeguarding the sanctity of the game, and we must never allow tempers or egos to overshadow its purpose. I am now equally painfully reminded of that and again express my apology.”
But the TCIFA said, while acknowledging Smith’s heartfelt apology, suspending him was in the best interest of football. The TCIFA stated that the decision to suspend Smith was agreed on by the executive committee after an internal review.
"Following the unfortunate incident involving our General Secretary, Oliver Smith, after the completion of our World Cup Qualifier game versus Haiti this past Saturday, an internal review of the incident and our General Secretary’s conduct has been undertaken by the TCIFA Executive Committee.
“The Executive Committee has found that the General Secretary brought the TCIFA into disrepute, and did not act in the best interests of football or the FA.
“We acknowledge the sincere remorse and public apology of the General Secretary, however, the decision has been made to suspend the General Secretary with immediate effect for two months from all football activities,” the statement said.