BFA schedule change ‘we had no choice’ says Burgess
Revisions to the Concacaf World Cup qualifying format and next year’s Carifta Games has forced Bermuda Football Association (BFA) to make drastic changes to the 2011-12 schedule.
To avoid conflicting with World Cup dates the BFA decided it would be best to start the new season earlier than originally planned and also schedule matches in bunches during the first half of the campaign.
“We have a challenge in which we have to put a lot of games into a short period of time,” stated BFA competitions committee chairman Shannon Burgess. “When we found out that the national team were playing in a home and away round-robin format rather than a single elimination match it took a lot of match days away from us.”
Due to Bermuda’s World Cup qualifying commitments with Trinidad and Guyana earlier this month, the BFA pushed the Charity Cup back by nearly a week from its original date (September 4).
Local football’s governing body have also brought the Dudley Eve final forward from November 11 to October 26 because the date conflicts with Bermuda’s World Cup qualifier against Barbados at the National Sports Centre.
“We have a huge challenge here in that we are being squeezed and unfortunately have to find dates that are available,” Burgess added. “Inbetween we have weekends where World Cup matches will be held and we have made a decision not to play any league matches on those dates to be fair to those clubs who have players participating with the national team.”
Another change to the domestic schedule will see this year’s Shield and Friendship Trophy competitions staged over the Christmas holiday, with the finals to be played on New Year’s Day. The competition was brought forward from April because of scheduling conflicts with the 2012 Carifta Games to be held at the National Sports Centre.
“Because the Carifta Games are being hosted by Bermuda next year we are unable to use the (national) stadium for two weekends,” Burgess said. “And rather than conflict with the Carifta Games we have decided to play the entire competition over Christmas this year which does two things: it eases up our schedule at the end of the season and also gives the public some senior football to enjoy over the Christmas period.
“We’ve actually been looking at the Christmas period for the past year to see what’s the best fit for football. I personally prefer the old Dudley Eve format and we are actually considering something similar for next year involving senior clubs.”
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