The Disciplinary Committee of the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) has had concluded the Joel Konofilia’s case with a three years ban from all related football activities.
The ban is for an assault incident in the Solomon Cup 2017 when Joel was coaching the Renbel Chiefs against Western Turtles on Saturday 16 June 2017.
Joel was handed a letter this week of the DC’s decision on his case.
“Accordingly, the appropriate punishment after considering all circumstances is 3 years ban from performing any kind of football activities and a fine of $1,000.00 to be paid before you are eligible to participate in any SIFF sanctioned activity.
“The committee notes that this decision will seriously affect Joel’s involvement with the Royals Academy. SIFF must discuss with the Royal Academy management to ensure that innocent are not victimised as a consequence of this decision. The Committee is mindful of the effect of this ban however Joel’s actions are serious and must be looked at seriously.
“The penalty takes effect from the date of his suspension, 4 July 2017 expiring on 3 July 2020,” the letter reads.
Joel has 14 days from the date of the decision to appeal.
It was alleged that at the 73rd minute of the Match (second half), Joel was sent off from the technical area by the match referee for his continuous and persistent protests against match referee’s decisions during the match.
Joel left the technical area and went to the dressing room and remained there for the remaining minutes of the match.
At the end of the match, the match officials including the match referee were retiring to their Dressing Room when Joel came out and approached them in front of the entrance leading into the dressing room.
Joel allegedly gestured and pretended to shake the match referee’s hand. Instead, and instantly he landed a closed left fist on the match referee’s right cheek below his ear.
The case was opened in July 2017 when Joel was given a suspension letter and on 14 June 2018 Joel was invited to appear before the Disciplinary Committee.
Joel was later given two letters, the first sets out the allegations and charges against him. The second letter sets out the date, time and venue of the hearing. Despite the said letters, the SIFF secretariat nor the Committee had received a response nor appeared before the Committee on 16 June 2018. Accordingly, the Committee deliberated the case without his submissions or appearance. The evidence submitted against him was therefore admitted unchallenged.
The case was delayed due to the lengthy process to conclude it which includes changing of the SIFF CEO in 2018 and lack of commitment from Joel to appear in front the DC for hearings.
Joel was given a second letter on 16 June 2018 but he didn’t respond or attend the hearing to present his side of the story.
“In fact the delay may have been caused by factors beyond the Committee’s control.
“The Committee has no control over staff leaving SIFF to voluntarily and independently come forward and assist the committee with evidence to expedite the process of hearing and conclusion of disciplinary cases.
“The progress was further hampered following the resignation of the former acting CEO, Mr Joseph Boso. Mr Boso was crucial to this case as he understands the background of this case. The Committee’s efforts to get statement from him was unsuccessful.
“The case only got back on track after the appointment of the new CEO Mr Leonard Paia. The Committee therefore takes this opportunity to acknowledge Mr Paia for his professionalism, commitment and courage to ensure that this disciplinary case is concluded.
“The delay has caused some uncertainty to Joel however his actions must not be left unpunished. Whilst there is delay, proper procedure and process must be followed to discharge justice impartially. There is no short cut in justice. Joel’s actions were serious and proper procedures and process that justice require must be adopted and applied and this case is no different from the past disciplinary cases. The delay has been considered as one of the mitigating factor and sanction backdated to take effect from the date of suspension.” The DC said in the letter handed to Joel this week.
The DC understand Joel was nominated to run in the upcoming SIFF Electoral Congress and they have come to a conclusion on his pending case.
The Committee met on Saturday 16 March for another hearing to clarify status of Joel’s disciplinary case in light of his nomination for President.
This is the not the first disciplinary case against Joel since he had another case in 2016 as coach of Western Honiara in the Telekom S-League.
Joel has been previously sanctioned for abusive towards match officials and threats at the dressing room after TSL game between Western United FC and West Honiara FC in 2016. Joel was penalised with $1,000 fine and one match suspension.
Meanwhile, Joel’s nomination to contest of the president’s post is not valid due to his disciplinary record.