Jermaine Hue and his team are now weighing their options as the reality of a nine-month ban from football sinks in, but one thing is certain; the 35-year-old Jamaica and Harbour View midfielder is not ready to call time on his career.
Hue was on Thursday suspended by the FIFA Disciplinary Panel until May 6, 2014, after the banned substance dexamethasone was found in his system, after Jamaica’s World Cup Qualifier against Honduras in Tegucigalpa on June 11. FIFA also announced that Jamaica’s team doctor Carlton Fraser was suspended for four years by the panel for administering the substance.
If the suspension holds up, Hue, who has played 42 matches for the Reggae Boyz since 2002, will return just ahead of his 36th birthday.
However, the midfielder’s uncle and manager, Michael Hue, is certain that retirement is not an option for the former Kansas City Wizards and Mjallby player, even as they move to examine whether or not they are in a position to appeal the suspension.
“Knowing him (Jermaine), he has been through a lot of trying times even in terms of representing his country, we all know the ordeals but he has a strong mindset,” Michael Hue said.
“I don’t think he would find it too difficult to not play football for a year and come back because his style is not
based so much on a physical type of play, his play is centred around skill, technique and a good passing game and he won’t lose that technical ability,” he added.
Hue is said to be shocked and devastated by the news, which came to him while he trained on Thursday, in the hope that he would soon return to the football field.
“He is shocked and devastated,” Michael Hue added. “He is very disappointed in the nine-month ban. It will take time for him to come back to his normal self but there is a strong family support.”
“We are going to look at the transcript in terms of what FIFA has said and see what can be done as it relates to an appeal. We will be sitting with the lawyers and the executive of Harbour View Football Club to see what’s the process in terms of an appeal,” Michael Hue added.
AN UNJUST RULE AND BLATANT INCOMPETENCE
MUCH has gone wrong during the Reggae Boyz qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Hopefully, there will be frank and objective analysis by all concerned after the qualifiers come to an end.
In a sense, this newspaper believes the positive drug test for midfielder Mr Jermaine Hue typified a poorly thought-out and dismally executed campaign.
News broke on Thursday that Mr Hue must now serve a nine-month suspension from football, as dictated by the disciplinary committee of world football’s governing body FIFA.
As is now public knowledge, Mr Hue — an unused reserve player during the June 11 game between Jamaica and Honduras — tested positive for dexamethasone, a substance on WADA’s 2013 prohibited list.
The substance entered Mr Hue’s body — unknown to him that it was a prohibited substance — by way of treatment administered by then national team physician Dr Carlton Fraser. The latter has been suspended by FIFA for four years.
Obviously, the team doctor has much to answer for. However, it seems to us that the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) must also take a good look at itself for, available evidence suggests that the team doctor was not as aware or as sensitised to the dangers as he should have been. If that’s indeed the case, the JFF must examine its employment principles and procedures. JFF President Captain Horace Burrell and his administration must also review the structures which should be in place to ensure that support staff, at all levels, are in tune with rapidly changing times and what’s required of them.
Not just the JFF, but it would seem to us all sporting bodies should heed this most unfortunate episode. It underlines the need for a modern professionalised approach to sport management and administration to replace the amateurism which has served over many years. Otherwise, this mishap could easily be repeated with unaware support staff again leading national representatives into ambush.
This newspaper must also join in protesting the punishment meted out to Mr Hue. It seems absolutely clear that he was an innocent party.
We have wondered before about the stipulation that athletes must take responsibility for whatever enters their bodies. In this case, what was Mr Hue supposed to do? Was he supposed to question the competence of the team doctor?
Chairman of the JFF Medical Committee Dr Guyan Arscott tells us that he considers the punishment “excessive”. We beg to disagree. We believe the punishment meted out to Mr Hue is totally misplaced and amounts to a gross violation of natural justice.
If it is, that by punishing Mr Hue for something entirely out of his hands, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee was simply following rules, then we submit that the rules need to be changed. We believe that all relevant stakeholders in football, here and abroad, should be pressing for change.
That apart, we believe the JFF has a responsibility, at the very least, to publicly apologise to Mr Hue and to provide appropriate redress. Even more crucially, the JFF needs to have the necessary systems and structures in place to protect players from the scandalous inefficiency and/or incompetence manifested here.