Carnival Stage Removal Leaves ARG In Disrepair

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Extensive damage to the playing surface at the Antigua Recreation Ground (ARG) could further delay a planned October start to the Antigua & Barbuda Football Association’s (ABFA) Premier Division.
General Secretary of the ABFA, Gordon Derrick, said the organisation was forced to engage a number of experts after the removal of the Carnival stage from the grounds on Thursday left the playing surface unusable.
“We are working on it and have contacted the ministry. We have also asked George Purcell to come and take a look so he will be getting back to me but the ABFA is moving swiftly to begin preparations now that the field was finally cleared today [Thursday]. The experts are getting back to be with a realistic estimate but I told them we want to start at the middle of October so I will know if that is actually possible or not,” he said.
A visit to the ARG revealed large tyre tracks on the playing surface while there was debris left behind by the stage removal crew.
President, Everton Gonsalves, said the ABFA is currently looking into its options but plans to meet with stakeholders before moving forward.
“We’re looking at some other options in regards to some very out of the box sort of thinking options to start all the leagues but worst case scenario, it might be the starting of the First and Second Divisions and a delay in terms of the Premier Division,” he said.
“We’re meeting tomorrow [Friday], the members of the executive, and we intend to ask the Premier Division clubs if they are available on Sunday to carry out a walk-through so they can see firsthand what we are up against and then on Monday we intend to have a general meeting with all the clubs to clarify a couple of things, explain a couple of things and then just signal to the public the start date,” the president added.
Derrick had earlier said the FA was targeting an early September kickoff to the 2017/18 season but later sighted the late removal of the stage from the ground as a cause for concern.
The FA’s Premier Division is normally played between September and February annually with any slight delay pushing the season to mid or late March.

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