Sports Minister Ernest Peets has joined Premier David Burt in urging Bermuda’s football clubs to reconsider their decision to cancel the rest of the domestic season as Bermuda attempts to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.
Burt devoted a significant portion of his remarks at the fortnightly government COVID-19 briefing to the developments in football where an 11-10 vote with one abstention, determined the fate of the second half of the season in the island’s second national sport.
Games were halted on December 5 after a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“I am very disappointed for those young people who have been training, undergoing the necessary testing and anyone involved in preparing for the restart of the season,” Burt said.
“However, the government respects the decision of our local football clubs and we will not question it.
“The permission to resume football has been given by the government, and if there is an opportunity for the clubs to reconsider, then I hope they will do so, so that our young people can return to what they love—competitive sport.”
Peets backed Burt’s call, saying: “It was always our hope and goal to see our athletes return to competition in a safe manner.
“Our athletes and the development of sport remain a top priority. We understand the concerns clubs have regarding resuming football competition in our current COVID environment. Our focus will now shift to successfully starting football in the [autumn].”
The decision to end domestic football comes a week before Bermuda begins their World Cup qualifying campaign against Canada and Aruba in Florida. It was hoped that football on the island would resume ahead of those matches to give locally-based players some competitive play beforehand.
However, at the Bermuda Football Association’s special congress meeting on Monday, the clubs decided to end the season.
The Royal Gazette newspaper said it was not known what effect, if any, the news that at least one Bermuda player tested positive after the 28-strong squad returning from a recent training camp in Florida had on the affiliates.