Planned match between Liberia, Jamaica canceled

A planned match between Liberia and Jamaica in Connecticut was

cancelled Tuesday after the promoter acknowledged the teams never

agreed to play.

Tickets for the international friendly, scheduled for July 28 at

Rentschler Field, went on sale July 9.

Neil Buethe, a spokesman for the United States Soccer

Federation, said his organization never gave the match its required

sanction, something that is supposed to occur before it is

advertised and tickets go on sale.

”There was some discussion about a promoter applying for the

match,” Buethe said. ”But he never even turned in an application

to us for the game.”

The soccer federations in Liberia and Jamaica had each posted

messages on their websites cautioning fans not to buy tickets for

the match.

”It appears that a promoter has acted unprofessionally in

advertising this game between the two countries and consequently

the JFF has advised the US Soccer Federation and FIFA

accordingly,” the Jamaica Football Federation said in its

statement.

Samuel Sampson, a spokesman for Singapore-based promoter Ricky

Swen and his company, Swen Labels International, said financial

negotiations with Liberia fell through at the last minute. Sampson

said Swen is sanctioned by FIFA as a match agent, but has never

arranged a match in the United States. He said the promoter was

acting in good faith.

”When we were in negotiations with both teams we had assurances

from both teams that yes, they were both committed to play,” he

said. ”We didn’t want to wait until the last day before we started

selling tickets.”

He says Swen is working to replace Liberia with Kenya for a

match that would be held at Rentschler field in August.

The normal procedure, Buethe said, is for a promoter to secure

signed agreements from the teams involved and the venue, receive a

sanction from the USSF and then begin promoting the match.

He said the promoter could face a $1,000 fine for selling

tickets before the match had been arranged.

Paul Marte, a spokesman for Bushnell Management, which manages

the state-owned stadium, said it was pulling advertisements for the

match from its website on Tuesday and ending ticket sales. He did

not know how many fans had already purchased tickets, but said they

would receive full refunds.

”We don’t actually believe it was a hoax,” he said.

”Everything seems perfectly (legitimate) and we are working with

the promoter for two other matches in August and September. But we

now learned the lesson. We’re not going to put step two before step

one.”