The U-17 (under 17) Haitian soccer team arrived in Jamaica on February 3, 2011 to participate in the qualifying matches for the World Cup. They played their first match on Monday, February 14th. After two players fell ill and sought medical treatment, Jamaican officials decided to quarantine and eventually eject the entire Haitian delegation.
According to Jamaica’s Ministry of Health, several members of the Haitian team displayed symptoms of malaria. The Ministry therefore recommended that the team not participate in the tournament and return to Haiti. However, only two cases of malaria within the Haitian delegation have been confirmed. Furthermore, malaria is not spread through person-to-person contact, but, rather, is transmitted by mosquito. So why did the entire team have to leave Jamaica?
Not only is the Haitian delegation angry, they are demanding a public apology from Jamaican officials. Additionally, Yves Jean Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, called on FIFA, world footballs governing body, to sanction Jamaica.
According to Yves Jean-Bart, the Haitian delegation, the majority of which was comprised of the adolescent players, was ostracized and humiliated by Jamaican authorities. Several members of of the team were sequestered in a sub-par medical facility, with no access to food or water for several hours. Armed escorts were used to take the entire team back to the hotel. Security guards were placed in front of their hotel room doors to ensure that they did not leave until an airplane was available to fly them back to Haiti. They were thus forced to disqualify from the tournament and forfeit a spot in the upcoming World Cup.
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