Sunday 20 October, 2019

New Premier League format kicking up a storm

File photo of Armando Lashley of Paradise FC (left) taking on Keiron Cox of Notre Dame (blue). (File photo).

File photo of Armando Lashley of Paradise FC (left) taking on Keiron Cox of Notre Dame (blue). (File photo).

With just mere days before the 2018 Premier League season kicks off, many are eagerly anticipating the start of the island’s elite football competition, for many reasons.

The home of Barbados football; the Barbados Football Association (BFA) Wildey Astroturf has received a major facelift, with the erection of the long-awaited permanent lighting and seating, so both players and spectators are keen to view the new fixtures.

Despite these positive and necessary accessories, much of the talk surrounding the league has been the new format.

The 2018 Premier League will see 12 teams divided into two groups, where those grouped together will play each other twice and against the clubs of the other zone, once; a grand total of 16 regular season games- two less than the previous format.

The group winners will face off against each other for the championship while the runners-up of each group, will play for the third position, while the fifth and sixth placed teams will fight for survival during a playoff game, still a game less than the traditional 18 matches.

Many football followers and club representatives have publicly stated their dismay in the change, citing the reduction of games despite the increase of teams, the inequity factor of playing those in the other zone once and just the first team of each zone being eligible for the championship, even though the second place in one group may have more points than the zone winner of the other group.

In spite of their complaints, the Premiership will kick off on March 11th at a venue to be announced by the football association soon.

A few members of the football fraternity gave their opinions of the new format.

Kent Hall (former national player) - It (the new format) will not give a fair reflection of all the participating teams

Wayne Williams (coach) - I don’t think it’s a fair measure of execution and the format does not reflect a league format.

Corey Barrow (player) - I believe the objective of the league is to see which team is the best in the country, in terms of playing each other on an even basis; this format does not display that.

It (league) should stay as it was!

Marlon Walcott (football fan) - I do not think it’s necessary.  This format (the groups) is used in the MLS due to geographical and financial reasons.

Our country and our league isn’t that big, so I don’t really see the reason for it; I prefer the league format.

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