By Neto Baptiste
President of the Liberta Sports Club, Kenneth Benjamin, is hoping that the dilemma in which the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) finds itself regarding their unfinished competitions, will serve as lesson going forward.
Benjamin, who heads the Liberta Blackhawks team is also affected by the current suspension of sporting activities due to the ongoing coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic, blames the association for the late start of the competitions and called on the body’s administration to get tough on teams that fail to register during the stipulated time frame ahead of the league’s scheduled start date.
“The football association can’t start their season for a reason [that] the clubs do not pay their fees and they don’t want to start without the clubs that haven’t paid. Unless they don’t start the league and drop out a couple of teams because they haven’t paid, then they are always going to be faced with this problem,” he said.
“The football association is not putting their foot down and saying that, ‘you haven’t paid so you are going to be out are we are going to deduct a certain amount of points once you get them’. If there are no consequences, people are going to continue doing this over and over and so when the teams decide to pay then that’s when they try to start the leagues. You have to set your date and say [to the teams], ‘if you haven’t paid by x, we take you off the fixture’,” he added.
Two weeks of play remain in the Premier Division while some teams in the First and Second Division competitions have up to four rounds of matches remaining.
Benjamin also implored the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) to end the long wait for a decision on its stalled Two Day competition.
“I am saying to Kuma Rodney that you keep saying you are going to speak to the cricket committee but if you give them a time and they don’t come up, then you do what you have to do. This has nothing to do with Jennings being in front or whatever; the cricket association in particular, should have already come out and say that we are scrapping the Two Day or we have abandoned it or we have given it to Jennings, or whatever it is they want to do, and say ‘we are going to look at the other competitions to see if there is a possibility’. You can’t tell me that you can’t make a decision about the Two Day when the Two Day finals should have played last week [had the coronavirus not reached the country’s shores]. There is no decision that is going to be made that everybody is going to be in agreement,” he said.
Jennings led the standings in the Two Day prior to the competition being halted.