By Neto Baptiste
A former President of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), Mervyn Richards, believes any decision on the outcome of the 2019/20 domestic football competitions, must be an all-inclusive one.
In an interview with Observer media Richards, who served as president from 2004 to 2008, said both teams and players have invested much in the stalled competitions and should, at least, be included in the discussions.
“People have worked hard over the past season so they have to try and bring it to a closure; and maybe they need to call in all the clubs and tell them how exactly they are working it and see if they all agree, but it has to be done in a fair way because people play to get up into [the higher divisions], people have worked hard and spent a lot of money. The one thing they may have on their side is that it is not a professional league where fourth, fifth and sixth and so forth are going to get something [prizes],” he said.
The FA’s top flight and two lower tier competitions, the First and Second Division, were halted in early March after the sports ministry issued a directive to all associations to stop all tournaments due to the arrival of the coronavirus or Covid-19 to the country’s shores.
A return to normalcy is nowhere in sight, and with teams calling for the FA to take a definitive position on the matter, Richards suggested a possible solution – that the body could look at only playing those games that could decide winners, promotion and demotion.
“The association needs to look at how the standings are right now. It’s no fault of theirs really why the season is the way it is, so now they need to look at the season and see who has all the points, and look at those teams facing relegation, and those who could make it to the Premier Division. Those teams in the middle [of the standings], they don’t need to play those games, so they have to look and see those teams that even if they play their next two games they can still be relegated then…..and if they can’t work it out like that, and teams have to play, then you have to try and play those games that are important,” he said.
Grenades, on 31 points, leads the Premier Division ahead of Greenbay Hoppers who have 29 points. There are only two rounds of matches remaining in the competition.