By Neto Baptiste
The domestic football season, to include competitions in the First and Second Divisions, have been delayed until the end of October.
The new dates of October 22nd and 23rd for the start of the First and Second Divisions were settled during a meeting held last Friday between the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) and the affected clubs.
President of the ABFA, Everton Gonsalves, confirmed also that the Premier Division, originally set to start at mid-month, is now slated to start on October 28th.
“All the in-house matters have not been fully addressed but there was a call for myself and my executive to exercise some leniency once more and to have a follow up communication with my members on or before Thursday of this week [October 3rd]. I have so agreed and at that particular time I will inform the media and the clubs, leading up to Thursday as to what the final status is in terms of complying with the rules and regulations for competitions and then by Friday the official schedule for the First and Second divisions will roll out,” he said.
Originally, the intention was to have the First and Second Division competitions start at the end of September, but the slow registration of clubs and teams has reportedly hampered those plans.
Also, ongoing rehabilitation work on the field at the Antigua Recreation Grounds has severely impacted the start of the top flight.
Gonsalves said curator Anthony Merrick continues to work at the facility.
“Mr. Merrick would have done some significant work over the weekend, so if you were to pass there [ARG] today you would see a further beautification of the facility and so we are still moving ahead for a 27th or 28th [October] start of the Premier Division,” he said.
Traditionally, the domestic league would start in September but has, over the past few years, started at least one month later, owing to needed rehabilitation of the turf at the ARG following the annual carnival celebrations.
Ten  teams will contest the Premier Division with 12 expected to do battle in the First Division. Over 30 teams will play in the Second Division.