The Tulsa Roughnecks FC, after beating the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 4-1 on the opening day of the season March 25th, were today penalized by the USL for fielding an ineligible player or players during that game. The USL took the decision to deem the match forfeit, handing the Switchbacks a 3-0 victory. The Roughnecks were also fined an undisclosed amount by the league.
USL Punish Tulsa Roughnecks With Game Forfeit, Awarding Victory to Colorado Springs Switchbacks
Tulsa’s strong start to the season had rocketed them in to the Western Conference play-off places. This points deduction relegates them to the bottom half of the table, with the Switchbacks leap-frogging them in to fifth. Tulsa’s situation could have been worse. Had they not recorded a 1-0 victory over Rio Grande Valley this past Saturday, they could have found themselves bottom of the Western Conference.
Details regarding the ineligible player or players and how the situation came about are sketchy. It has been suggested that as many as three ineligible players may have been on the Tulsa bench or made it on to the field of play. The USL have not confirmed the number of players in violation, nor the player/s names. They have provided scant little information at all, in fact. Their official and at present sole statement reads…
As we understand it, the USL confirmed valid rosters selections with both teams in advance of the game; something clearly went amiss in Tulsa. Once notified of the situation post-game, Tulsa appealed the forfeit. Following dialogue with the USL this week, the forfeit and fine were upheld. The forfeit is consistent with FIFA rules and regulations in these circumstances.
Following the announcement the Tulsa fan-base understandably took to Twitter to express their astonishment and disgust, with most of it appearing to be directed at the USL. With so many details still undisclosed, as additional information comes to light Roughnecks fans may redirect some of their anger. Tulsa’s head coach David Vaudreuil had this to say on the team’s website:
“It is unfortunately the ruling, and we must accept it,” said TRFC Head Coach David Vaudreuil. “It is a long season, and it does not change what we do on the field. We continue to prepare to face a strong Sacramento side on Saturday, as we look to build on the positive play that the team has opened the season with.”
Despite the limited information available to media and fans alike, there is nothing to suggest that any party involved did anything intentionally underhand, nor that ineligible player or players were aware of the ramifications of their involvement in the March 25 game. If nothing else this incident will act as cautionary tale to all teams in the USL, as the league continues to grow, increase in profile, and rosters further diversify.