October 1, 2003 CPSL Toronto Croatia vs Brampton (League decision)
TORONTO CROATIA PLAYOFF SHOCKER
Toronto Croatia has lost its Rogers Cup quarter-final win over Brampton Hitmen and the Hitmen are awarded the victory.
That’s the stunning decision of the Canadian Professional Soccer League following an investigation on Wednesday of a number of irregularities in the game played at Victoria Park in Brampton on Tuesday night.
It was reported that two key Croatia officials, player-coach Velimir Crljen and general manager Mile Brkic, both serving suspensions following recent incidents involving game officials, took an active part on the bench in the playoff win over the Hitmen and that is a serious contravention of the rules.
At the same time, Brampton Hitmen filed an official protest with the league over the playing by Toronto Croatia of players recently acquired by the Mississauga-based team and, according to the protest, the players were ineligible to play.
A CPSL panel, headed by head of the discipline committee Clifford Dell, ruled only on Croatia’s use of its two suspended officials.
The panel further ruled that Tuesday’s game be awarded to Brampton and the Hitmen will progress to the Wild Card game against London City to be played in London on Friday night.
Dell explained that Crljen is suspended until September of 2005 following two serious incidents involving referees, that despite the suspension the player-coach was entered on the official team sheet for Tuesday’s important match and he coached his team from the bench.
“That is a very serious offence in the game of soccer and with the active role of the also suspended general manager, left us little alternative but to reverse the result,” explained Dell.
Brkic’s suspension is short-term until certain overdue fines and a bond are paid.
Toronto Croatia officials have indicated they are filing an appeal with the league's board of governors and a hearing is expected Thursday.
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