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Shortage of officials leads to final weekend becoming two

Small pool: Blankendal

The final round of league matches of the season traditionally features all the teams in action on the same day.

However, a shortage of officials means that the Premier Division and First Division matches will have to be held on separate Sundays, Cal Blankendal, chairman of the Bermuda Football Association’s competitions committee, said yesterday.

Last weekend’s victories by Dandy Town and North Village, combined with Somerset Trojans’ draw with PHC, has the league race down to two teams, but those hoping for an exciting finish to the Premier Division will have to wait until the end of the month for the last round of matches, when leaders Town host Devonshire Cougars and Village travel to Devonshire Recreation Club to meet relegation-threatened Wolves.

“When we look at the referees, there is a small pool and when we come down to the last round of games we wanted to make sure that each game has an adequate number of officials,” Blankendal said. “We didn’t want any of the matches to be influenced by not having enough officials.

“It’s nice to be able to call on club officials but we want to get the certified referees for the last games. We want to have fair play and offer the same to the First Division as the Premier Division,.

“This is one of the most exciting seasons we’ve had in some time. The First Division has really made it exciting because normally you can predict early who is coming up and this season you’ve seen a host of clubs battling to the end.”

Robin Hood are certain to clinch one spot while St George’s, who were relegated with them last season, need a draw at home to Devonshire Colts on Sunday to secure the other spot.

The relegation battle in the Premier Division also involves three teams, with just two points separating Southampton Rangers in eighth from bottom team Wolves, with St David’s in between.

The relegation places and the title race will be decided on March 30 when all five top-flight matches are played. St David’s host Flanagan’s Onions while Rangers are at home to Trojans.