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BFA meets with clubs to finalise plans for new season

Tahmi Williams, of North Village, avoids a sliding challenge from Anwar Telford, the Somerset Eagles captain, in a match at Bernard Park last season that was abandoned in the second half because of a heavy downpour. Football is set to return after a long lay-off, although it is uncertain if spectators will be alllowed (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

The football clubs will meet with the Bermuda Football Association this evening to finalise the plans for the delayed start to the season this weekend … almost 11 months since the last competitive matches were played.

According to Shervin Dill, chairman of the Club Presidents Forum, the clubs are still yet to be told how many, if any, spectators will be allowed at games this weekend.

“We have a meeting tomorrow evening, the clubs and the BFA, to discuss the protocols in particular, but I can’t say what they are going to be,” Dill said.

Dill is also president of North Village who are scheduled to begin the defence of their league title at home against St George’s on Sunday.

“Until tomorrow’s meeting there are questions that are going to be posed that I’m not privy to discuss.”

Dill admitted that clubs are anxious to get back to playing matches again, though he stressed that he was speaking on behalf of his own club in this instance as he has not met with the other clubs lately.

Dill did wonder why there has no mention of the number of spectators allowed at football games, while other events such as the Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Club this weekend and the World Rugby Classic in a couple of weeks will be SafeKey events with crowds.

“Cricket was played all season and they had the pleasure of people attending, Cup Match was a SafeKey event and we’re wondering why we can’t start with a SafeKey,” he said.

“Our coffers are empty, over 18 months we’ve had to keep the programmes going. We’ve got the PGA golf and the rugby which are SafeKey events while football is our biggest sport.

“We are prepared to be safe, to play the game under the SafeKey protocols. What is the issue with us not being able to start so that we can generate some funds?

“We’ve got bills that have mounted up for over 18 months. The spectators are anxious to come out as well.

“I haven’t had this discussions with the clubs but it will be part of the discussion tomorrow. I can’t say that they all feel this way so I would not be speaking on behalf of the clubs right now, but as president of North Village.”

Recently the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sport mentioned that Stage 4 of the Return to Play guidance would be 4a, without spectators, and 4b, with fans allowed to attend. It was expected that Bermuda would move to 4a by October 23.

“We just want to understand why we can’t start with a SafeKey protocol when other sports are being allowed to do so,” Dill asked.

“The game is not just for the players, it’s for the spectators, too. We’ve seen the instant change in football around the world.

“The BFA is going to report back to the clubs on their recent meetings. If the situation is we’re going to have to start at 4a, which will be no spectators, then my position as North Village president is I need to have some rationale as to why.

“If there are no spectators then how many people are going to be allowed in as officials? Then you have the players and the field operators so we’re looking at 70, 75 people and we don’t what the number allowed is going to be yet.”

Dill added: “The spectators are getting very upset as well because they can’t understand why, if they can go to cricket all summer, can’t they come to a football match.

“It may have to do with the testing process to allow spectators to come to the game. If that’s what it takes why can’t we find a way to do the necessary testing to allow spectators to come to the games?

“If 4b will be opening up for spectators, and I imagine it will be required for spectators to have a SafeKey, so why can’t we open up with 4b … with a SafeKey?

“As the North Village president, one of the major issues is the 4a and 4b. I can say all the clubs are anxious to get back to playing, we just need to get all the protocols correct.”

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Published October 27, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated October 27, 2021 at 8:01 am)

BFA meets with clubs to finalise plans for new season

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