By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), Everton Gonsalves, has rubbished the notion that executive members with ties to teams are manipulating the decision-making process to suit their needs.
In an interview with OBSERVER media, Gonsalves said a number of scenarios put forward throughout the ongoing suspension of sporting activities would have benefited teams linked to executive members, but that it was these same executive members who opted to wait for the earliest possible window in which to try and complete the leagues.
“That is uttermost nonsense, and I won’t go into details, but you know the context of our executive, we don’t let personal matters cloud our vision. We are about transparency and fairness and as you would have seen, the league would have started on that basis and, as was indicated in our release, it was a unanimous decision by all members of the executive to look for that window and have the leagues played out,” he said.
“Some would have indicated that the first two from the First Division be promoted. Akeilah Hillhouse [president of SAP] is an executive member and Arlene Josiah [Empire] is an executive member and they would have been happy but they are not about that. They are about seeing that everybody has a fair chance,” he added.
On Monday, the FA suspended all competitions indefinitely, adding that the possibilities of hosting the remaining matches in all league will be reviewed between the period of July 2020 to November 2020.
Gonsalves said a number of proposals were taken into consideration but the FA, in the end, opted for what they believe would be the fairest route for all.
“Some of the other submissions and proposals as to how we are to end are fraught with danger, and there are some legal minefields that we’d have to manoeuvre around, and we don’t want to get into that, so we’re buying time, asking for God’s intervention, asking our populace to stick with the protocols that have been enunciated by the professionals, and if we stick to that and then there is an opportunity for us to play and bring the season to a close, then we will go that way. If not, then we would have to go to the other submissions and proposals that have been presented like cancelling or declaring a winner and the like,” the former player said.
According to the release, any decision made to resume and complete the 2019/2020 league competition will be communicated to all members with clear guidelines at least one month before the resumption.
Gonsalves said that once given the all-clear, all 2020/2021 competitions could be completed in a month.
Grenades (31 points) holds a two-point advantage in the top flight with their closest rival, Greenbay Hoppers FC, on 29 points. Ottos Rangers lies third with 24 points but could only get to 30 points and a possible second place finish. All teams have played 16 matches.