By Neto Baptiste
The Grenades Football Club could challenge a recent decision by the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) to declare the 2019/20 domestic season null and void while still utilising the point standing to promote teams from both the First and Second divisions.
President of the body, Chester Hughes, said Grenades’ contention is that although First and Second Division teams were rewarded utilising the said standings, the Jennings team which led the competition by two points when it was halted due to Covid-19 received no reward for their efforts and should have been crowned champions.
“That is something we are contemplating. I must say that the general secretary (Edson Joseph) has taken full charge of that; he has taken full responsibility to look into it and to see where we go from here. Basically, for me, some of the clubs prefer it that way and let’s see how it unfolds in the future,” he said.
The ABFA, in October, issued a release stating that the 2019/20 has been cancelled and that the Premier and First Division leagues have been “restructured”. The release further stated that as part of the restructuring efforts, six teams will be promoted from Second to First Division, while six will also be promoted from the First to the Second Division.
Hughes said Grenades should have been crowned champions on the same premise.
“In order for you to have come to a conclusion as to the six teams [promoted] then you would have had to have ranked them somehow and the ranking was done based on the top six teams, so therefore the ranking at all divisions should have been done at the same level,” he said.
“The Premier Division would have been the only division that did not get any sort of reward for effort except that you have decided to contribute the funds to all the clubs. In order for you to promote six teams from the Second Division, you had to rank them and in order for you to promote six teams from the First Division, you had to rank them. So the top teams in the Premier Division, for all their efforts, all the monies that were brought into the ABFA, basically did not get any recognition whatsoever,” he added.
As for a public announcement by the team’s head coach and former national striker, Derrick Edwards, that he will walk away from coaching at the top level because of the decision, Hughes said the club is yet to receive anything in writing.
“Well, I have not received anything officially from Mr Edwards. I’ve heard of it but I didn’t actually hear him myself, but until we receive official communication we are staying put,” he said.
As a result of the move, Garden Stars FC, Bendals FC, Lion Hill FC, JSC Progressors, Young Lions FC and Green City FC have all been promoted from the Second Division while Empire FC, Sap FC, FC Aston Villa, Tryum FC, Blue Jays FC and Willikies FC will play in the now 16-team Premier Division.