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BAA withdraw senior team from league

BAA lost several players during the transfer window

BAA have withdrawn their team from the Premier Division.

The inaugural FA Cup winners were forced to take the drastic measure after suffering an exodus of players during the Bermuda Football Association’s initial transfer window.

“We haven’t entered a team this season into the BFA league,” Mike McGrath, the BAA president, said.

“If we had enough players willing to play of sufficient standing, we probably would’ve entered a team, but it wasn’t part of the option this year.”

It is believed as many as 23 players left the club during the transfer period, which expired on Monday.

“It’s around that figure,” McGrath added. “We released a lot of players.”

BAA finished sixth in their first season back in the top flight after a lengthy absence and also reached the FA Cup semi- final.

“It’s disappointing because Andrew [Bascome] put in a lot of work to get the club promoted two seasons ago and last season we did very well securing sixth place with our first year in the premiership for a long time,” McGrath said.

Shannon Burgess, the BFA competition committee chairman, has reserved comment until he meets with his fellow executives.

The development comes on the heels of former director of football Kenny Thompson’s departure and the announcement of BAA’s new partnership with coach Bascome’s football management company to help revamp the club’s programme.

“We’ve changed the structure of our football programme from its existing structure with more emphasis on the youth,” McGrath said.

“We’re looking to develop our BAA player as opposed to recruiting players from outside and are going to build our youth programme up.

“There’s a shortage of older youth players and we want to build that up through our new programme partnering with Andrew and through that programme develop players that want to play for BAA with the spirit and character that we like to have.

“It’s very easy to go out and be winners, but winning in the right way is a much harder aspect and the importance of the character of the sport can sometimes get lost. We want to make sure our players have the true sporting ethics and character that BAA wants to be associated with.

“We want to reward the players that come through our youth programmes and set them a target and a goal so that they have something to strive for.”

McGrath said revamping the club’s programme was absolutely necessary to achieve their objectives.

“We needed to revamp our programme as it wasn’t working as a whole and part of that shuffle has created this process (senior team’s withdrawal from the league) as well,” he added.

“We needed to revamp the programme as it wasn’t working as a financial model and needed to be addressed.

“We weren’t seeing the results from the old football programme that we required so we had to make changes to address those issues.

“BAA is a sports club, not just a football club, and to secure the future of the club as a whole we need to make sure everything is done professionally.

“We were having difficulties with the programme meeting its goals, so we needed to address that and we have to make changes.

“It’s unfortunate but if you don’t strive to improve you go backwards and that was happening to the programme and we had to put the brakes on that.

“We made the decision to move forward and we are very happy that we have moved forward with our new programme and we expect to see good results from that.

“We still have a lot of support from our sponsors and it’s much more of a team effort now.”