More money for football clubs

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Clubs stand to benefit financially from a new initiative announced by the Antigua & Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) on Wednesday.
This is according to General Secretary, Gordon “Banks” Derrick, who said the FA’s membership approved the reward initiative at a meeting this week, which will see clubs in the top tier receiving cash for either winning or drawing a match while teams in the lower tiers will have their fields prepared for scheduled matches.
“For the Premier Division clubs, instead of giving them the 25 tickets to sell or the 50 tickets to sell before each game we have changed it around and what we have decided to do is that, in the Premier Division, every game a team wins they get $1000, every game they draw they get $500 and if you lose you don’t get anything and on top of that, there are prize monies for the first, second and third places,” he said.
“In terms of the First and Second Divisions, the president has promised that the ABFA will be responsible for all the marking and preparation of all fields so that onus has been taken away fully from the clubs,” he added. 
Previously, clubs in the Premier Division were not rewarded on a match by match basis while teams in the First and Second Divisions were responsible for the preparation of their home field ahead of scheduled matches.
The 2017/18 domestic season is set to commence on September 25.
“We’re kicking off the season with our annual awards ceremony which is going to be a nice gala affair at Splash Antigua and that’s going to be on Sunday 24th September. The next day [September 23] we start the President’s Cup which is the expansion of the league promised by the president [Everton Gonsalves] last year,” Derrick said.
“It is a preseason tournament and so there will be groups, as much as 10 to 11 groups with at least five teams in each group, and they will play round-robin so every team will get a minimum of four games. The best 16 teams, the top of each group plus the best second place teams will move onto the knockout phase and then work their way down to a finals,” he added.
Noting that the ARG had been damaged during the removal of the Carnival stage recently, Derrick disclosed that the condition of the field has been significantly improved and should be ready for an October kickoff.
“We are coming along steadily. We have gotten some good showers that are still coming that is affecting the surface at the ARG nicely so we are hoping to have that up. But for the President’s Cup, the games are going to be played in the various communities so football will be all around the country,” he said.
Asot’s Arcade Parham are the defending Premier Division champions while Swetes and Five Islands will play in the top flight this season.

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