BELIZE CITY, Mon. Nov. 30, 2015–This must be the most topsy-turvy semipro football season ever, thanks to the unresolved relationship between the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) and its affiliate member, the Premier League of Belize (PLB). The PLB, according to the original semipro league constitution, should be an autonomous body, an affiliate member of the parent body, FFB. But that has not been the case for some time now, ever since the league was, in a very controversial move, “handed over to the FFB” by its former Commissioner, Omario “Myito” Perdomo a couple years ago. Nevertheless, the PLB continued to function, first under an FFB appointed Interim Committee, then an appointed manager under a board of directors. It has been very confusing, but there has been a competition, and fans are still interested in the outcome. Football is still alive in the Jewel, although it sometimes seems like there is unhealthy confusion where the competition is concerned.
With the completion of the regular season over the past weekend, fans thought they all knew which teams would clash in the playoff semifinals. But late this evening, a PLB email release stated simply that “The FFB Appeals Board had made a final decision to overturn the decision made by the Premier League of Belize Protest Board.” That protest concerned the Week 3 game where Verdes FC, primed for their CONCACAF Champions League entry, had crushed the Belmopan Bandits FC by a whopping 6-1 score. The Bandits protested the game on the grounds that Verdes had utilized more than 5 “foreign players,” which had supposedly been in violation of a rule from the previous tournament. Verdes reportedly countered that all this had been agreed with the FFB in a congress meeting before the new season, considering that they were preparing for CONCACAF competition.
No details are offered in the PLB release toward the implications of that verdict, which are obvious; and our calls were unanswered. It results in major changes to the standings, and thus the playoff match-ups.
It is interesting that news of the FFB Appeals Board overturning verdict came a day after the regular season ended, and when their decision would not affect which 4 teams made the playoffs. Since BDF lost 4-1 to the Bandits on Saturday night in Belmopan, they are stuck at 8 points, and cannot catch Verdes, even if Verdes lost the 3 points to the Bandits.
What the FFB decision has meant, however, is that the seedings have been drastically changed from how they appeared yesterday evening after the final regular season game. Game results over the weekend show Placencia Assassins 3:0 Wagiya on Saturday in Independence, Belmopan Bandits 4:1 BDF on Saturday in Belmopan, and Police United 1:1 Verdes FC in San Ignacio. Those results meant that Police United at #1 would be clashing again with Verdes FC #4 in the playoffs this coming weekend; and Placencia Assassins #2 would face Bmp Bandits #3. But all that changed this evening when the FFB bombshell dropped, putting the Bandits at #1.
Below we first print the standings as they appeared on Sunday evening, after the Police United 1-1 draw with Verdes FC.
And then we also print the REVISED standings today, Monday, after substituting the Week 3 Verdes 6-1 victory over Bmp Bandits with a Bandits 3-0 win (protested game) over Verdes FC. So, the Bandits gained 3 points, and Verdes lost 3 points.
We also expect that all the goals scored in that Week 3 game in August would have to be erased from the record, since technically, according to the FFB verdict, that game is null and void, and an arbitrary 3-0 win would be assigned to the Bandits.
Of course, Verdes FC may feel they were “robbed” (pun intended) by the Bandits. As fate would have it, it now appears they will settle matters on the field of play. We expect, though no official schedule has been released yet by the PLB, that it will be #3 Placencia Assassins FC vs #2 Police United FC on Saturday night in Independence; and #4 Verdes FC vs #1 Bmp Bandits FC in San Ignacio on Sunday.