Women’s Premier Soccer League announced on Monday that the Breakers have been forced to forfeit a May 26 victory due the team’s use of an ineligible player.
The league ruled that the player – who was not identified by the team or league – participated in the Breakers’ 3-2 win against the Western New York Flash despite “not being approved to play by the the United States Soccer Federation,” according to a statement issued by the league.
As a result, Western New York have been credited with the win while the Breakers have had three points deducted. The point deduction has dropped the Breakers from 18 points – enough for a share of first place with Chicacgo – to 15 points, putting them in fourth place.
The issue is believed to involve the validity of the player’s International Transfer Certificate (ITC), which apparently had not been properly filed with the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). Interestingly, the player in question is a U.S. citizen.
On Tuesday, Boston Breakers Managing Partner Michael Stoller called the decision “unfortunate,” and believes that the suspension of the WPS season in January led to the current situation.
“In the process of the WPS suspending their season, ITCs for a number of U.S. players were issued to clubs that had no interaction and no contract with these players, which has held up the clearance of U.S. players’ status in the U.S.,” Stoller said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we understood that this player of ours was cleared before the game and found out only after the game that was not the case.”
Stoller also advised that he is of the understanding that a the ITC has not yet been issued. To cloud the matter further, Stoller contends that the player’s rights have been sent to an unidentified Russian club.
“This is a travesty of justice for the player, who is our only concern,” Stoller said. “It is a shame such a situation has been allowed to happen and we at the Boston Breakers are disappointed it has affected the standings, the player, and that the process has not been corrected even to this date.”
Stoller alluded that the Breakers’ organization was unaware of the ITC situation, and said that if they had, the player would have been kept from the field until all paperwork had been cleared.
“As an organization, we work towards the absolute highest standards of professionalism and followed the specific directives given to us in this matter,” Stoller said. “But the fundamental issue of the improper ITC caused confusion and we understood that the player had been cleared to play.
“In a perfect world, these communication issues would not have occurred and the player would have been held out of the game.”