New regulations and incentives are on the cards for the 2017 Digicel Barbados Football Association (BFA) Premier League which kicks off this Sunday at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex.
Speaking at Thursday’s press conference, held at the BFA headquarters, president Randy Harris said the association has decided to implement a number of new rules after what they deemed to be suspicious results last season, which have placed the BFA under the global microscope.
In addition teams will receive a $500 incentive for all match-winning performances.
“In the Premier League, clubs shall submit no fewer than eighteen players on the team list for each game. A club is deemed to be in default of a game if the club fields fewer than the required eighteen, the club does not field a team, or the club fields a team after the scheduled time for start of play without informing the BFA in a reasonable time.
“A club that is unable to field the required number of players up to fifteen minutes after the scheduled start of the game shall be subject to disciplinary action by the BFA.
“In the past we have found teams would not always follow fourth official instructions and we are going to deal with that by saying, a club found guilty of delaying the start of the game shall be subjected to disciplinary action as deemed necessary by the BFA,” said Harris.
He further explained that the number of Premier League teams will also be increased to 12 in 2018.
“The clubs ending 2017 Premier League in ninth and tenth shall play off against the third and fourth place clubs in Division One. The winners, along with the top two clubs in Division One will be promototed to the 2018 Premier League.”
The president indicated there has been no negative feedback from their membership about the changes.
With the season only three days away, Harris again expressed concern about the lack of seating, which he described as one of their major challenges.
Digicel’s Director of Marketing Carolyn Shepherd told media her company intends to strengthen their decade-long partnership with BFA.
“We have a very aggressive, comprehensive plan in place and so you will be seeing Digicel all over the tournament. Let’s say we are trying to breathe a new breath of fresh air into our involvement with the BFA,” Shepherd said.
Teams will assemble around 3:30 p.m. for the parade followed by two opening games starting at 5:30 p.m. Paradise will face newcomers Waterford Compton, and Belfield will take on Ellerton Football Club at 7:30 p.m.