Defending champions in the Antigua & Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) Women’s League, Cool & Smooth Empire Star Girls, has pulled out of the ongoing 2015 competition.
President of the Empire Football Club Lennie Quashie said the team withdrew from the competition in late July following a number of lengthy delays, postponements and other factors.
“We are not in the business of withdrawing our teams and so on just like that and not giving the girls and the other players an opportunity to play but the organisation of this particular tournament has left a lot to be desired and it has really put a strain on us a s a club,” he said.
“The players’ interest has diminished significantly because of the long drawn-out schedule, a lot of postponements with late and little notice, uncertainty of venues because we started playing at Tryum, ended up at Radio Range and at one point a game or two were at King George pasture, YASCO, Recreation Grounds, we were all over the place,” he added.
The decision was taken, Quashie said, following consultation with the players, most of whom have hectic schedules outside of football.
“Obviously, these are young girls and some older ones who have families, children and who work and so on and there are times when the girls are on their way in to play and game and then we get a call to say the games are off,” the Empire president said.
“Just the long drawn-out season and poor communication, in my view, with the office (ABFA) to the clubs, we made a decision after consulting with the players to withdraw from the tournament,” he added.
Quashie said the FA must improve on its management of the women’s league if they are to keep participants interested.
The FA, he said, is seeking to host a four-team top flight league while all other teams will compete in a B league.
“I found that very interesting because I am not aware Empire was invited to any discussion as it relates to the new format of the tournament next season.
“We have about eight teams and if you can’t properly manage the eight teams then I don’t see how you are going to be running an A league with four teams and the B league with possibly 18 or 20 teams because the CONCACAF Club License calls for all Premier teams and First Division teams to have a female team,” Quashie said.
Townhouse Mega Store Ottos Tigress currently leads the competition with 33 points from 11 outings.
Clubs, according to the FIFA Licensing Programme, must have an active women’s programme to be eligible to participate in the FA’s programme.