By Neto Baptiste
President of the Liberta Sports Club, Kenneth Benjamin, has labelled the recently publicised football association’s decision on its 2019/20 domestic competition “foolish”, adding that it only creates additional financial stress for Premier Division clubs.
“Make the season null and void and the only how you can reconstruct your league is not this season, but after 2021, and you can’t use the point to promote and then you are not using the same points to come with a winner. Also, you realise its 10 more games they are adding to the clubs’ budget? Without consulting the clubs on the impact, every premier team will have to now cater for 10 more games in the season and so that is something that you have to look at because I don’t know, honestly, I don’t know if we can afford an extra 10 games, honestly,” he said.
The Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), in a press release issued late Thursday, confirmed that the 2019/20 has been cancelled and that the Premier and First Division leagues have been “restructured”.
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.
Former national player and coach of the Grenades FC, Derrick Edwards, also questioned the decision, arguing that a champion should have been crowned in the process.
“It wasn’t on the burner but all of a sudden it’s restructuring because you want to prevent a particular team from getting the reward they deserve and you’re basically in restructuring, rewarding a lot of teams with promotion, but at the end of the day I will leave everything in God’s hands because one day is your day and then another day the tides will turn,” he said.
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.
No winners were crowned while no teams will be relegated from either the Premier or the First Division.
The FA said the decision was made in keeping with Article 82 of the body’s constitution which speaks to “unforeseen contingencies and force majeure”,which gives the executive committee the final decision on matters not provided for in the statutes or in cases of force majeure.