The Barbados Football Association’s 2018 Premier League season kicks off January 7 with an interesting new format.
Instead of the traditional ten teams competing in a round-robin format to decide a winner, the new format for 2018 will now see 12 premier league teams split into two respective zones.
Zone one appears to be very competitive on paper with four former champion teams in the line-up, including reigning kings Weymouth Wales, Paradise, Notre Dame and Brittons Hill along with Silver Sands and Empire.
Meanwhile, former three-time champions, Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme, University of the West Indies Blackbirds, Ellerton, Rendezvous, Waterford Compton and Porey Spring will take on each other in zone two.
Each team will play 16 matches before the playoff round. The teams are required to come up against each other twice in the same zone and then once against opposition from the other zone.
Following the preliminaries matches, the respective winner of each zone will play each other to decide the champion for the season. Similarly, the teams finishing second in the two zones will also play each other to determine third and fourth finishers overall.
Previously a grand total of BDS$20, 000 was awarded to the champions, but this year the top four teams will pocket an undisclosed sum of money. Last season each team received BDS$500 for each game won and that initiative will continue for the upcoming season.
Last year one of the ten premier league teams was demoted, namely Belfield, and three teams, Empire, Porey Spring and Silver Sands have been promoted, bringing the total to 12 for this year. Based on this new format, three teams will be demoted from the league this season. The teams placing sixth in each zone will also automatically be demoted, while the fifth place team in each zone will play each other with the losing team being demoted.
The new format also extends to Division One, where the numbers have increased to four teams for 2018. The seven teams to determine the two respective zones will be drawn at a later date.