By Neto Baptiste
Coach of Premier Division front-runners Sandals/Inet Grenades and former national striker, Derrick Edwards, has weight in on the recently revived discussion regarding the status of the FA’s competition, advocating that his team must be crowned champions once the body is considering promoting teams from the first and second divisions.
“Once you start to deal with promotion and so on, then you have to come with a declaration of winners. The teams that are in the positions behind and can’t win the competition they are going to have different perspectives and in their own right. Now, I am going to always have to hit this button because if you call the league null and void and everyone stays where they are, then it is fine with me, but the minute you are going to start to move teams up, then you have to start dealing with winners in the different divisions,” he said.
Clubs, in a recent meeting with the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) were presented with four possible options regarding the league, one of which calls for the promotion of teams from the lower tiers but rules out relegation. The option would also rule out the naming of winners in all divisions.
Derrick, whose Grenades team led the competition by just two points after 16 rounds of games played, and two remaining, said the league was stalled on a level playing ground and that this may be taken into consideration.
“You are going to tell me that we in the Premier Division have completed 90 percent of the games and everybody has played the same amount of games, and you want to tell me that you are going to promote teams and don’t want to come with a declaration of winners? That’s ridiculous. If you are going to promote four winners, it means that you are rewarding the teams, so why don’t you want to reward me who is leading the competition,” he said.
According to reports, the clubs were presented with four options at the meeting, one of which calls for the competition to be cancelled completely, naming no champion while promotion and demotion will also be overlooked.
Another option allows for the accepting of the standings at the time the competition was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. This option will however see the crowning of a champion based on current statistics and allow for demotion and or promotion of teams. The other two options, one of which is resumption of the league when given the all-clear by health authorities, and the other being a hybrid situation where teams eligible for promotion are moved up the ranks, but none will be demoted, were all tabled at the presidents’ meeting last week.