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Battle to keep football campaign going amid postponement pile-up

Difficult times: David Sabir, general secretary of the BFA

The Bermuda Football Association and respective clubs are determined to persevere with the current campaign amid mounting postponements due to a surge in positive Covid-19 cases.

A third Premier Division match has been called off this weekend, with the BFA confirming the encounter between Robin Hood and Somerset Trojans tomorrow has been postponed because of a number of positive Covid results among the Somerset ranks.

The news comes a day after the BFA met with club presidents on Thursday night to discuss policies for the teams heading into the second half of the season in the wake of another increase in Covid cases.

“The obvious concerns are Covid and the Omicron variant and the impact it is having on the players in particular,” Shervin Dill, chairman of the Club Presidents Forum, told The Royal Gazette.

“We’ve had a couple of postponements because players have tested positive, but what we really discussed was how we can redefine the policy for the teams in terms of rosters.

“You can have a minimum of 14 players and a maximum of 22 on your roster. In the event that you have players who test positive, you could have an extra player to add to your roster.

“If you have players who are overseas and on your roster, they are advising us to take them off the roster temporarily while they are not available.

“They want to be clear that if there has to be any postponements that it is going to be a fair postponement because you just don’t have the available players.”

Uncertainties have surrounded the season in the last week with a number of postponements, some Covid related, as at least three clubs have had players test positive.

Two of the Premier Division matches had earlier been postponed this weekend, including Dill’s team, North Village against Devonshire Colts and Somerset Eagles against Devonshire Cougars.

That leaves just two matches on Sunday, X-Roads against league leaders Dandy Town at Garrison Field and Southampton Rangers against St George’s at Southampton Oval.

“We’re really doing our best to keep this game going through to the end of the season,” Dill added.

“As the BFA has said, we want games to go through and don’t want to have too many postponements, but we just want to make sure that if a team is asking for a postponement due to Covid, they have used up all their options as far as availability of players.”

David Sabir, general secretary of the BFA, acknowledged it has been a tough time for football, especially in the last week.

“Yes, some of our matches, as reported, have been impacted by positive tests to some of our teams,” he said.

“We have taken all the precautions afforded us by postponing games to keep the rest of the community as safe as we possibly can.

“All of our protocols are implemented and we continue to stress to everyone to be careful, to be vigilant and to take care of themselves and those around them.

“In particular, as it relates to the playing of football because our aim is to at least complete our season as safely and in accordance with the health guidelines that we are obligated to and have implemented since the start of the season.

“We met with our clubs and everyone is steadfast and supportive of the necessity to continue with the protocols that we have. And when it becomes necessary for the safety of everyone involved, we will continue to take the necessary actions that we have done thus far.”

St George’s and Somerset will have a second league match against each other to make up after the Bermuda Football Association postponed their return fixture at Wellington Oval on January 15 in order to facilitate the viewing and funeral of footballer Osagi Bascome that weekend.

The BFA confirmed yesterday that the match, scheduled for Saturday, January 15, has been postponed as the viewing is scheduled for St George’s Cricket Club that same day, with Bascome’s funeral taking place the following day at the club.

As a result of the funeral next Sunday, the First Division match between Wolves and BAA at Wellington Oval will be switched to a new venue yet to be confirmed, the BFA said yesterday.

No First Division matches had been scheduled for this weekend.

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Published January 08, 2022 at 7:48 am (Updated January 10, 2022 at 8:03 am)

Battle to keep football campaign going amid postponement pile-up

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