By Neto Baptiste
Former president of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) and a member of the body’s disciplinary committee, Gatesworth James, believes the body’s executive is fearful of making a decision regarding the stalled 20119/20 domestic season because too many of them have vested interest in competing clubs.
In an interview with OBSERVER media, James said he has suggested, both verbally and in writing, how the outcome of all three competitions could be decided but that his recommendations have fallen on deaf ears.
“There are specific interest in it by certain members of the executive and if you break it down then you will see where the interest are and this is one of the reasons why there was a time when administrations or administrators on the FA’s executive had to consist of individual members but of course, times have changed and they all go for people who are sitting on club [executives],” he said.
All sporting competitions were suspended by the Ministry of Sports in early March when the country confirmed its first case of the coronavirus or COVID 19.
Since then, the situation has severely worsened with the country’s confirmed cases of the deadly virus now up to 23. Sports Minister, Daryll Matthew, has also urged all associations to review and cancel their unfinished competitions is possible.
James said his executive, during its tenure many years ago, was forced to make a decision after having to end its season prematurely.
“The competition started in September so from the very first game there was a competition and so it was very simple and for the unfinished games, the result of the first round match [between the teams with matches left in the competition] was taken into consideration to end off the season,” he said.
“If it was not too far into the second round too then you could have stopped it and just taken the first round alone but because we have gone so deep into the second round and you only have two games to play, then all you need to do is use the result of the first round games between those two teams,” he added.
The former football boss said the momentum has already been lost and that hype will not return.
“You would not be able to restart the season with the same type of momentum and all that kind of things and with about 75 to 80 percent of the competition already expired it seems to me that you can make a decision and we have made decisions like this in my days and I think it was a situation where they wanted the grounds,” James said.
“In those days we were using the Antigua Recreation Grounds where we had to fence it with coconut bows and so on and right after then they were going into cricket and we had a season when it went over the time limit and as a matter of a fact, we had to stop for the first or second week in January,” he added.
Grenades leads the Premier Division with 31 points, two ahead of Greenbay Hoppers with 29 points. There are two round of matches left on the competition.