Sports — 16 February 2016
Police and Bandits with eyes on CONCACAF Champ League

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Feb. 15, 2016–The Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2015-2016 Closing Season has completed its fourth week of games in a 10-week schedule, and defending champions Police United FC lead the standings, with a 2 point edge over Belmopan Bandits FC. (See Week 4 standings below.)

According to reports of weekend games we have received, Belmopan Bandits FC shut out Verdes FC, 2-0, on Saturday night at the FFB Stadium; and on the same night, at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium, it was BDF FC with a 1-nil win over Wagiya FC. Then on Sunday afternoon, with Placencia losing a player to red card at the 50th minute, Police United FC barely managed to secure a 4-3 victory over Placencia Assassins at the Norman Broaster Stadium. (Up to press time, we have not received details of the goals scored.)

PLB Championship or CONCACAF

While all participating teams have their eyes on the PLB Closing Season championship, their eyes, are also focused, especially that of defending champion Police United FC and Belmopan Bandits FC, on the regular season points tally, which could determine the berth to CONCACAF even before a champion is declared. There are two different races going on at the same time, and below we try to explain.

At the end of the 10-week regular season, the top 4 teams go on to the playoffs, in their quest of the PLB Closing Season 2015-2016 championship. But, for years now, there has been no cash prize for the PLB winners; the prize that wets the appetite of PLB players and teams is a chance to represent the Jewel in the CONCACAF Champions League. But only one berth exists for Belize, so it has to be decided between the Opening Season champion and the Closing Season champion, unless they are one and the same. The agreed rule, for making that determination, is the combined regular season points total for both Opening and Closing seasons.

The PLB Opening Season 2015-2016 regular season ended with Belmopan Bandits FC having a 2 point lead over Police United FC, after the Bandits had been awarded 3 extra points after winning a protest against Verdes FC, who thus lost the 3 points, which pretty much put them out of the two-season points race. Below is the final regular season standing for the 2015-2016 Opening Season.

At the end of the present 2015-2016 Closing Season, the points total will be added to the total received in the Opening Season above to determine which of the two season champions gets the trip to CONCACAF Champions League. Because of their low points total in the Opening Season, both Verdes FC and BDF FC, at 11 points and 8 points, respectively, (as well as Wagiya FC, of course, with only 4 pts) are pretty much out of contention for a CONCACAF berth, even if one of them should win the Closing Season Championship. With the close spread between them in the Opening Season, Belmopan Bandits FC, Police United FC and Placencia Assassins FC, with 21 pts, 19 pts and 18 pts, respectively, are all very much in the race, and are watching the numbers closely in the present Closing Season. If, at the end of the Closing Season regular season, Police United has the cumulative highest total number of points, they would automatically clinch the berth to Champions League, even if they don’t win the Closing Season championship. If either, Belmopan Bandits or Placencia Assassins surpasses Police United in the combined points column at the end of Week 10 in this Closing Season, then they could secure the trip to CONCACAF Champions League by winning the Closing Season championship.

The bottom line is, you have to be a champion of either the Opening or the Closing Season to be considered for Champions League; and the choice between the two champions will be determined by the combined total points in the two regular seasons, Opening and Closing.

So, at the top we are following the weekly standings for the current PLB Closing Season, with a close eye on the points tally on the far right; and at the same time we are watching the combined points with the Opening Season totals. (See below.)

Meanwhile, BDF and Verdes FC may be out of the picture for CONCACAF this year, because of their low tally in the Opening Season, but they are certainly not giving up on their chances to win this Closing Season. BDF will be tough customers for visiting Police United this Sunday at the MCC.

Upcoming Week 5 games:

Saturday, February 20
7:30 p.m. – Placencia Assassins FC vs Belmopan Bandits FC – Michael Ashcroft Stadium

Sunday, February 21
3:30 p.m. – BDF FC vs Police United FC – MCC Grounds
4:00 p.m. – Verdes FC vs Wagiya FC – Norman Broaster Stadium

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