By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), Everton Gonsalves, has assured that a decision regarding the fate of the stalled 2019/20 domestic football season will be made by the middle of August.
Gonsalves, in an interview with Observer, said that by the end of this week, all clubs should have received the official survey forms and would be asked to complete and return them in a reasonable time frame.
“I am holding the clubs to that and if it is not possible that a further extension will be granted to resubmit the survey forms. We have been speaking to our CONCACAF people and we just have to make one or two adjustments. So I would imagine that by the latest Thursday [August 6] or even Friday, all of the clubs would have the formal survey forms for them to indicate [their choices] based on the recommendations we would have circulated to them. We already have a feeling as to where the majority of the clubs are leaning but we still want to get back in all of the information and then we make a decision which would be fair because the mandate has always been to make a decision based on fairness,” he said.
During the meeting with the ABFA two weeks ago, the clubs were presented with four options, 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 and moved up the ranks but none will be demoted — were all tabled at the presidents’ meeting last week.
Gonsalves said all involved are well aware of the options but could seek further clarity if desired.
“They are quite aware that the scenarios are true and fair and that their feedback will be considered in arriving at the final decision. I have always been one that is all inclusive and so I couldn’t think of a better way than to include the clubs to hear what they are saying, clarify and make clearer the proposals and recommendations,” he said.
“In a matter of days they will have to submit back their responses because if my memory serves me right, I’ve indicated that a decision will be communicated to all between the 17th and the 20th of August.”
Grenades, on 31 points, lead the competition by two points after 16 rounds of matches. Former champions, Greenbay Hoppers, second with 29 points, are the only other team capable of clinching the title.