The BVI Basketball Federation is standing firm with their recent decision to award Jr Skillful Ballers as the junior 2021 District League Champions following the controversial decision by Jr VG Bayside Blazers to forfeit last Saturday night’s final.

This was confirmed by President of the Federation Dereck Varlack during a specially held press conference on Thursday October 14, which consisted of executive members from both basketball teams.

President Varlack said while the Federation’s decision is final on the champions, they are willing to facilitate a grudge match between the two sides for bragging rights.

He said, “The league is governed by rules and the decision that night was made on the rules that was governed by the basketball federation. There was a forfeiture by Bayside Blazers that automatically gave the Jr Skillful Ballers the championship. The federation is going to stand by that.”

“By going forward I would love to see a game between the two of them for bragging rights, but the federation can’t overturn a decision by they walking away in a forfeiture and say that they have to play over the game. That is not the federation and we will never do it and we will never say it. We can say that we can allow the players, get both parties together, allow the players to play a game for their personal bragging rights, but as far as I’m concerned and the Federation is concerned, the 2021 champions for the junior division is Skillful Ballers,” President Varlack added.

Coaches’ egos the root of the problem

Varlack also said that he believes the two coaches put their egos ahead of what was best on the night for the players, stating that had they listened to the officials on the night, the conflict could have been addressed.

“I find that this whole incident came down where coaches make it about themself and not about the players. There was like in a fighting match where one want this and one want that and they never really stop and take the time out, listen to the president, deal with the situation and look at the best interest of basketball in the territory and for the kids and let those kids play the game,” he stated.

VG Coach stands by decision to abandon game

In the meantime, Coach Reny Phipps of the Jr VG Bayside Blazers said that his club stands firm by their decision to leave the game during the night, as he believes it was the best thing to do at the time.

He said, “Whether you agree or disagree or not, as a society, as a community our decision as coaches or as an organisation, as players, to have walked away from that game, you should contemplate whether we feel as a society if we are in a bad situation that we need to walk away from it and feel a sense of weakness. To call us or our players soft, where I see it, I see it as a sign of strength to walk away from a bad situation in all facets of your life, whether it be your relationship, your work or your job that you do, you should have the integrity or the strength to walk away from a bad situation.”

Jr Skillful Ballers President explains the request for change of referees

Also commenting on the matter was President of the Jr Skillful Ballers Basketball Club Ereia Smith, who explained why her club initially sent a letter asking for the change of referees on the night.

She said the letter did not state who the club wanted to referee on the night, however, it simply asked that the authorities choose any other two individuals but the two who were scheduled to referee the final’s game.

Smith explained that the two referees in question were consistently making questionable decisions in favour of each opposing team from the beginning of the season, which were putting her players at risk of injury.

She said if the two referees were making bad calls for both teams during a night’s game, she would not have had an issue with the referees, however, their calls were just too one sided and way off.

President Varlack did reveal that there is an October 23rd slot available for the grudge match if both teams can agree to play the match to put the minds of the players at ease.

While no agreement has been confirmed as yet, both President Smith and Coach Phipps did say they have no issue with the proposal, however, they say it is a decision that will have to be made in consultation with the other members of their respective clubs.