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BFA admits Friendship Trophy and Shield may be in jeopardy

BFA league and cup competition chairman Shannon Burgess. (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

League play will take priority over cup competitions when the domestic football resumes.

The dramatic rise in the number of active Covid-19 cases on island led to organised football being suspended at least until December 22 after the Ministry of Health invoked Section 88 of the Public Health Act 1949.

The prospect of any football before the end of the year was taken out of administrators’ hands when the Government announced that curfew restrictions had been extended by another two weeks to January 4 — by which time the Friendship Trophy and First Division Shield champions were meant to be crowned.

The last two rounds of league matches, which would taken the league fixtures to the halfway point, have been postponed as well as tomorrow’s Friendship Trophy and Shield quarter-finals.

Shannon Burgess, the Bermuda Football Association league and cup competition chairman, said he and his fellow committee members will “discuss scenarios when we have a clear indications when football can recommence”.

“We will engage with the relevant ministries when the time is right,” Burgess, the former Bermuda captain, added.

“Until then, we will be unable to determine what will happen with the remainder of the season.”

The suspension of play has left the BFA to tackle with the backlog of matches as there is only one ground, Goose Gosling Field, with working lights to accommodate night matches.

North Village, who will have to replay their recent abandoned match with Somerset Eagles, have three games to be rescheduled in the league as they bid to defend the league title they won last year. They never got the chance to complete the Double last season because their FA Cup final against Robin Hood was cancelled in April because of Covid.

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said the decision to invoke Section 88 of the Public Health Act 1949 was made so that a pause can be taken while contact tracers are going about their jobs amid an atmosphere that is becoming more frantic with every tranche of positive cases.

Section 88 of the Public Health Act 1949 was amended this year to read:

“Where it appears to the minister that a communicable disease of the first or second category exists in any part of Bermuda; or there is, in the opinion of the Chief Medical Officer, an immediate risk of an outbreak of such disease in any part of Bermuda, and that the closing of any school, cinema, church, hotel or other place of public resort or meeting is necessary for checking the spread or the threatened spread of the disease, the minister may order the manager or other person in charge of that place to close it; and such manager or person in charge shall forthwith comply with that order, and shall continue to comply therewith until otherwise directed by the minister.”

The BFA said in a statement: “As a result of the current increase in the level of Covid-19 transmission in Bermuda, the BFA fully understands and supports this decision by the Bermuda Government. The BFA will meet with the relevant government ministries in the coming days to determine the way forward and will provide further updates in due course.”

Burgess said the league will be the main focus when the BFA receive the green light from Government to resume the 2020-21 campaign.

“The priority will be the league campaign,” he added.

“Once we move through the stages of the government-imposed restrictions, we will be able to ascertain when clubs will be able to recommence team training sessions.

“From there, we will need to determine how much time our clubs will need before they can return to competitive matches.

“Decisions on the match dates for league, Friendship and Shield competition will occur once we are able to confirm a date to restart football activity.”

December was to be a busy month in local football as the Expansion League Festive Tournament and Bermuda Schools Sports Federation’s knockout finals were also scheduled to be held.

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Published December 19, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 18, 2020 at 11:27 pm)

BFA admits Friendship Trophy and Shield may be in jeopardy

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