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BFA defends switch of venue for title decider

PHC won league decider at neutral venue

As PHC were left to bask in a successful defence of their Premier Division title on Tuesday, supporters and members of North Village Community Club were left ruing the loss of home field advantage for the title decider, which PHC won 3-2.

The match, which was originally due to be played on March 16 at Bernard Park, Village’s home ground, was rescheduled as a result of Bermuda receiving a last-minute invite to Saudi Arabia to take part in the Fifa Series. The switch was made to not disadvantage North Village, who had multiple players among the travelling party.

The Bermuda Football Association then initially chose to have the rearranged fixture played at neighbouring Devonshire Recreation Club, which would have denied Village gate receipts as well as bar and food concessions revenues.

Sizing up that potential reduction in income, Village negotiated a deal to lease Flora Duffy Stadium and manage the concessions, making the situation at least fiscally viable.

While Village club officials would not express on record their displeasure, the decision to move Week 17 matches denied Village the opportunity to seize the league title a week prior to the final set of matches and allowed PHC to play the crucial decider with coach Quincy Hunt and key defender Daren Usher, who were suspended for their penultimate league encounter.

Village coach Kenny Thompson, when asked to comment on the venue switch for such a consequential match, refused to acknowledge the neutral venue as a reason for his team’s defeat.

“We certainly do not make excuses,” said Thompson. “This was a game on a football pitch, 11 versus 11 and we did not do it.”

Nevertheless, the move appears to have created conflict within the governing body, with competitions committee member Troy Harvey believed to have resigned, at least in part as a result of the decision.

After being sent questions regarding the switch of venue, the BFA provided The Royal Gazette with a statement, highlighting that it was Village who first requested a change of date.

“Constructing the league schedule involves a multitude of factors, too numerous to detail comprehensively in this response,” the statement read.

“Similarly, when addressing the possibility of rescheduling matches, various considerations come into play.

“In such instances, the Competitions Committee and/or Executive Council aim to make decisions that minimise disruptions to the overall schedule while taking into account all relevant factors and the potential impact on participating clubs.

”The recent need to reschedule a match, prompted by a request from North Village Community Club, was notably unique as it involved the two primary title contenders.

“It’s important to acknowledge that at the beginning of each season, the Competitions Committee takes proactive steps to steer clear of scheduling matches during Fifa international windows.

“This initiative aims to lessen the disruption for participating clubs whose players may be called up to the national team. Notably, during events such as the 2023 Concacaf Nations League for the Senior Men's National Team and the 2023 Road to Gold Cup for the Senior Women's National Team, the Competitions Committee meticulously reviewed the schedule to minimise conflicts wherever feasible.

“However, due to constraints on various resources, it's not always possible to devise a scenario that accommodates every factor.”

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Published April 04, 2024 at 7:58 am (Updated April 04, 2024 at 7:40 am)

BFA defends switch of venue for title decider

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