At a meeting last night between semipro football club owner/representatives and the management board of the Super League of Belize, it was revealed that the new league, now nearing the playoffs in its inaugural semipro competition, has received strong financial endorsement for its competition from the Belize Bank to the tune of some BZ $50,000. The present semipro tournament will therefore be hereafter called the Belize Bank Super League Tournament and a press conference will be announced soon to fully update the public on the plans of this new league which so far is operating independently of, and is not in any way affiliated to, the Football Federation of Belize (FFB).
The meeting was chaired by board member Ruperto Vicente, former General Secretary of the FFB who was defeated in a controversial election to the presidency of that organization just under a year ago. Other board members present included the original founder of the Super League, Michael Blease; former Belize National Football Association and then Belize Football League president, Nicholas Pollard, Jr.; former player and sponsor representative for Cemcol Milpros football club, Frank Sharp; and former owner/manager of Calcutta Bulls football club, Onan McLean. Board members not present at the meeting include the league’s attorney Chris Coyi, an employee of the Belize Bank; board chairman, former owner of Sagitun football club, Antonio Zabaneh, Sr.; as well as Antonio Zabaneh, Jr. A majority of Super League clubs were represented at the meeting and gave their approval for the management board, including a member clubs representative, to continue to operate as the league’s executive for the next two years, after which the first elections for the Super League executive will be held at a General Assembly meeting
The meeting confirmed that the playoffs, which begin in a couple weeks time, will feature the top four teams in the present regular season competition, and will consist of a double round-robin on a home and away basis with the usual points system – 3 for a win, 1 for a draw and none for a loss. The top two finishers will then move on to the championship playoffs in a best of three games series, where each game must produce a winner – a draw will result in 15-15 extra time, and then penalty kicks if necessary.
The excitement will certainly increase with the coming playoffs, as the league, with its new funding, has confirmed its previously proposed plans for some lucrative prizes and awards. Regular season individual trophies along with $500.00 cash awards will be made for the season MVP, Most Goals, Best Goalkeeper, Best Defender, Best Midfielder, Best Coach and Best Manager. In addition, there will be a similar award for the playoff MVP. The finals champion club receives $20,000 and sub-champion, $10,000. Individual gold medals will be awarded to each player on the champion team, and silver medals for the second place finishers. A grand team trophy, to be rotated annually, will be engraved with the name of the winning club.
Mr. Pollard and other board members emphasized their commitment to see that the league’s finances are managed responsibly and transparently, and have indicated plans to better market the league’s games through radio and television ads. There are also plans to hold coaching and financial management seminars for players and club management personnel. Mr. Sharp re-iterated the importance of the League maintaining impeccable standards of financial management and as well for players to conduct themselves in an exemplary fashion in order to maintain and continue to improve the league’s image with, and support from fans and the business community.
From the Amandala sports desk, we applaud the efforts over the past few years of Mr. Michael Blease who founded the Super League on June 18, 2002, with the objective “to develop, promote and keep the spirit of football alive in Belize.” With the new blood and broadening support from the business community, it seems the Super League is getting stronger and is indeed here to stay. Keep the ‘bola rolling, guys.