There will be no champions, promotion or relegation at all levels of the 2019/20 Orange National League season after the Liberia Football Association (LFA) nullified the season.
The Executive Committee on Monday, May 4, reached the decision to cancel the league season due to fears of the coronavirus pandemic.
The league season had been suspended since March 17, due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the country. The season was left with nine and 12 rounds of matches to be played in the first and second divisions respectively, while the women’s division was still in its first phase. The season was scheduled to end in the second week of May.
The decision to cancel the season was made amidst the growing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.
The executive committee also arrived at a determination to have a playoff for the top four teams in the first division (Mighty Barrolle, FC Bea Mountain, Monrovia Club Breweries and LISCR FC) if the Confederation of African Football (CAF) decides to hold the 2020/21 Champions League and Confederation Cup that are expected to kick-off in August of this year.
The same will apply to the Petro Trade Cup that was in the quarterfinal stage, with the winners becoming Liberia’s representative to the CAF Confederation Cup.
In the initial recommendations presented to clubs during a consultative meeting, the competition department of the LFA recommended that the top six teams in the first division play in a special knockout tournament, to determine the team that is fully prepared to represent Liberia in the Champions League but, the executive committee, in its wisdom, settled on the top four teams as the best performers.
The FA’s decision to nullify the league season has been greeted by mixed views with some clubs welcoming the decision, while others believe that the decision was hasty.
First division traditional club Mighty Barrolle, who were atop of the league table before the cancellation, has welcomed the FA’s decision.
“Mighty Barrolle Sports Association welcomes the LFA decisions and understands the force majeure situation caused by the Coronavirus Pandemic, and hope all football stakeholders will accept the decision of the FA in the best interest of football.”
Second division side Muscat FC believe that the FA’s decision was hasty and should have waited a little longer to observe the prevailing health situation.
“Our club was hopeful for a continuous suspension to keep monitoring the convid-19 situation and resume the league when it was safe to play again.”
The decisions taken by the football house was on Tuesday, May 5, sent to CAF as was earlier requested by the continental football governing body.
Regarding plans for the next league season, LFA in its communication to CAF stated that it anticipates that the 2020/21 league for the first, second and women’s division will begin on October 23, 24 and 25 respectively, depending the status of the health situation.