The twelve football clubs in the Premier Division as well as the twelve in the First Division, have indicated their willingness to resume the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation’s (SVGFF) National Club Championships.
Suspended in mid-March, after the COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the championships were suspended with thirty–five (35) matches still to be played in the Premier Division, and seven (7) outstanding in the First Division.
The planned resumption, slated for later this month, would be contingent on all players, team officials, match commissioners, referees, and staff of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation, who will be present at the Victoria Park during matches, be tested for the coronavirus.
The condition also extends to barring any club player, management official or match official who is not tested for the coronavirus, from competing and/or participating in the championships.
Also, anyone who tests positive on the second testing will result in their club mates and any other club (payers) they competed against being re-tested.
The National COVID- 19 Taskforce, which is tasked with enforcing related protocols across the state, also demanded: random testing throughout the resumed championships; temperature checks on entry to the venue; sanitising of the dress rooms prior and after matches, and sanitising breaks mid-way in each half of a match.
Each club would be allowed a maximum of twenty- three (23) persons in Victoria Park.
No spectators would be allowed into the venue.
If there is a cancellation
President of the SVGFF- Carl Dickson said that the decision to restart the championships represents the will of the twenty- four clubs.
He assured that organisation would be compliant with the protocols.
The SVGFF President noted that the challenge of stigmatisation is his greatest fear in getting the necessary testing done.
“All players and match officials will do a mandatory baseline testing, but there is the challenge of stigmatisation as the coronavirus is being treated in the same way that HIV and AIDS are being treated,” Dickson said.
He stated that generally, like HIV and AIDS, no one really is that keen on knowing his or her status.
But should the championships be cancelled for any reason, Dickson informed that the Executive of the SVGFF and the clubs would come together to decide on the best way to declare the final positions.
He assured that winners would be declared and promotions and relegations made.
“Let it be known that a cancellation does not equal to nullification,” Dickson underscored, adding that there are mathematical formulae that can be applied in order to arrive at the final positions.
Looking ahead to future championships, Dickson assured that “testing” for the coronavirus will be part of the regulations.
When the championships were halted, the race to the First Division title was among Layou, Volcanoes Pride and Joy and Largo Height. Two of the three will gain promotion to the Premier Division of the next edition of the Club Championships.
The Premier Division is more open, and could go down to the wire.
Four clubs will be demoted from the Premier and First Divisions. Two clubs will be promoted from the First Division, while Parkside Rollers and Richmond Hill, which ended first and second respectively in the completed Second Division, have gained spots in the First Division.