By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), Everton Gonsalves, has maintained that his executive stood on solid ground regarding its decision to cancel the 2019/20 domestic season and not declare champions in any of its three divisions including the much-debated Premier Division.
His statement comes on the heels of news by General Secretary of the Grenades FC, Edson Joseph, that his team will not pursue its case against the football association, challenging last October’s decision.
According to Gonsalves, of the 40 plus clubs registered with the ABFA, only Grenades voted for a declaration of champions.
“Everybody voted for a cancelation of the league without declaring a champion or any relegations. Two persons decided that in terms of the restructuring of the leagues that we should only promote four teams from the lower divisions but the entire executed voted for no presentation of a champion with no relegation,” he said.
“I will go further and tell you that one club voted for the declaration of a champion, and that was Jennings Grenades,” he added.
Gonsalves, a former national striker, lauded Joseph and Grenades for withdrawing any public challenge, but accused his ‘usual detractors’ of fueling Grenades’ desires.
“In his wisdom he [Edson Joseph] has decided to withdraw the claim and here comes Mr Benjamin saying I believe you erred, but when he [Joseph] accepted Mr Benjamin’s advice to submit the claim nobody would have erred but Mr Joseph on behalf of the Jennings [Grenades] Football Club has withdrawn his case,” he said.
“I can give you more because in the survey, Mr Benjamin did not vote for the declaration of a champion, but he’s indicating to Mr Joseph who has an opportunity to become champions along with Hoppers, that he should make a claim against the ABFA,” he added.
Joseph announced on 11 January that Grenades would no longer seek redress over the matter after realising their battle would have been an exercise in futility.
The FA, in October last year, issued a statement advising the public that its 2019/20 domestic season had been cancelled, but that as part of restructuring efforts, six teams will be promoted from the First to the Premier Division while six teams will also be promoted from the Second to the First Division.
The football association however decided to not crown champions in the Premier Division while no teams were demoted from any of the eligible divisions.