Football done for season as revote is nipped in the bud
The Bermuda Football Association’s Special Congress Meeting to reconsider the decision to scrap the rest of the football season has been called off, effectively ending any hopes of restarting domestic play.
The decision was influenced by developments on Saturday when the Government announced changes in the Public Health Regulations, rolling back the existing measures to what was in place in mid-December.
Sport has been impacted further by the new restrictions and after a conversation yesterday between Mark Wade, the BFA president, and Shervin Dill, the chairman of the Club Presidents Forum, the decision was made to cancel the meeting.
“The meeting has been called off as a result of the new regulations and also as a result of the Premier rescinding his request for us to reconsider [the decision to call off the season]” Dill told The Royal Gazette. “We’re not going to be meeting on Monday now.”
A press release from Wade yesterday stating that “the Bermuda Football Association have confirmed that they will no longer reconsider the resumption of football” kills any chance of football resuming this season. Wade pointed to the new restrictions put into place on Saturday by Government as the reason for not going ahead with a second Congress inside seven days when another vote was expected.
The BFA also announced that youth football is off as well. “The 2020-21 season has concluded. We look forward to the start of the 2021-22 football season,” the president said.
Last week’s vote by the affiliates to end the season was a close one, 11-10, with one abstention. The next day David Burt, the Premier, publicly expressed his disappointment that football was ending and urged to clubs to reconsider the decision.
“Out of respect for the concerns from Government and some of the other clubs on the outcome of last week’s meeting, the meeting was being reconvened as a result of that, a request from myself personally to the BFA to do it,” Dill explained.
“We didn’t want to find ourselves in a situation where we were showing division because we’ve been working so hard to stay together collectively for the last two meetings. We had a presidents’ meeting on the Thursday night last week and we had a full attendance of 23 affiliates.
“Then we called for the BFA to hold a Congress meeting last Monday so that we could sort ourselves out. I felt we were in a bit of disarray over lack of information as to where we were going. We had a great turnout for that as well.”
Dill emphasised that the decision not to resume the league was one taken with safety at forefront, rather fears over income lost through restricted attendances, as has been suggested. “In the meeting we had on Monday, there was mixed emotions and feelings about the way forward.,” Dill said.
“From the request from the Premier and the minister of sport [Ernest Peets], several of the clubs felt aggrieved and I decided that rather than have division, where people were thinking that the reason we did not continue with the league was because the bars were closed and we weren’t getting income from the gate, we should meet again because that was not the truth.
“Safety was the first rationale and the second was what about the unprecedented direction that Covid is taking? From one day to the next, we don’t know what it is doing, and we have the UK variant here that is more severe and more contagious.”
On Saturday, the Premier said “we must act now”, in announcing changes in the Public Health Regulations, which came into effect yesterday.
“Cabinet met earlier today and following a full briefing from the Minister of Health determined to roll back the current measures to what was in place in mid-December,” he said.
The measure includes: an 11pm to 5am curfew; clubs and bars will be prohibited from serving patrons indoors, and outdoor service is for table service only.
Restaurants, bars and clubs are permitted a maximum of six persons at one table and the permitted gathering size is reduced to ten persons.
The BFA president said: “These regulations include a reduced number of maximum occupants within a public setting and an amended curfew. The BFA were further advised that the large gathering exemption approved by the Ministry of National Security was rescinded.”
Dill, the president of North Village, said resuming football under the present climate was not worth the risk. “If one player at a game should test positive, that impacts the two teams in terms of quarantine,” he said.
“My club had an emergency meeting on Friday night and we’re completely shutting down football at all levels. Covid is still dictating, and that’s where it’s at.
“I just came from my uncle’s funeral today. He [Quinton Binns] was a popular North Village founding member and player, and we scrambled today with the numbers that we’re allowed as opposed to what we had anticipated prior to the latest regulations.
“Government is changing rules almost every day because of the spread of this unprecedented virus.”