By Neto Baptiste
The President of the Grenades FC, Chester Hughes, has warned that should the stalled football competitions be cancelled, his team must be crowned champions.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Hughes said that although he understands the situation in which the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) finds itself and their reluctance to end the competitions at this point, if they are left with no other alternative to cancel all divisions, Grenades must be rewarded with the title.
“The competition is based on points and 90 percent of the competition would have been played, so the logic of it is that the club that is leading would earn the points [win the title] because we only had two more games left in the competition. My position on this is not whether or not Grenades was leading but it is what is right and if Hoppers was leading the competition then the trophy belongs to Hoppers. Grenades is leading, then it belongs to Grenades,” he said.
“Both clubs at the top of the table have already played each other twice and we have beaten Hoppers on the two occasions that we have played them in this competition, so head-to-head match up, Grenades would be the champions head-to -head if all things were equal,” he added.
The Ministry of Sports, in March, suspended all sporting activities following the country’s first recorded case of the coronavirus. Although the authorities have since relaxed the restrictions on some low-risk activities, like golf and cycling, team sports have not been allowed to resume.
Hughes offered a suggestion to the FA should the situation worsen.
“My advice to the FA would have been to keep all 10 clubs in the Premier Division, promote the four top clubs in the First Division — because those teams, I understand, have not played equal games — so you promote all four and then you make that elimination and bring the Premier Division down to 12 teams after the next competition,” he said.
However, the former MP is not holding out any hope that the contact sport will resume this year.
“My concern with the letter from the FA is the whole question of the indefiniteness of the resumption of the league for the 2019/2020 because we all know that it doesn’t seem as though football is going to be played for quite some time in Antigua. As a matter of a fact, I cannot see any sport happening outside of a vaccine because you’ve got to maintain that social distancing and you’d not be generating any kind of revenue because even if you play in an empty stadium, it’s not helping the sport,” he said.
Grenades (31 points) hold a two-point advantage in the top flight with their closest rivals, Greenbay Hoppers FC on 29 points. Ottos Rangers lay third with 24 points but could only get to 30 points and a possible second place finish. All teams have played 16 matches.