No team will be awarded the title and there will also be no relegation this season in the state’s top flight.
It has been more than a month since Goa has witnessed a professional football match, as the last match of the Goa Pro League was played on 17th March between Vasco Sports Club and Sporting Clube de Goa.
The league, like most others around the world, has been halted in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Now, it has emerged that the Goa Football Association is set to deem the league season null and void.
“With 13 matches left in the Goa Professional League, we don’t have any clear winner at present, as there are more than two teams in contention for the title. Otherwise, it would have been easy to decide,” clarified GFA Competition Chairperson Dominic Pereira.
He further added, “Looking at the present scenario resuming the GPL is difficult, as I don’t think any sporting event will be allowed in the state in the coming days. With Goa’s football season ending in May, it is very difficult to organize the remaining matches. The players’ contracts will be the other reason to nullify the GPL season, as most of the clubs has contracts till May end or shorter than that. However, we will have to wait for the official confirmation as the decision has not been taken.”
At present Sporting are in pole position with 44 points and have two matches left. While Churchill Brothers also has the chance to claim the title, as they are in third position with 37 points and have five matches in hand. They were also to face the Flaming Oranje in one of their remaining games.
At the other end, the decision will come as relief for bottom half teams like Velsao Sports & Cultural Club, Sesa Football Academy and Corps of Signals, who were struggling to avoid the drop. Speaking on the issue GFA Executive Member from Bardez said, “I think only promotion from the Third Division League to the Second Division League will happen this season, as the lowest league was completed and the SDL’s league phase is over.
Promotion from the SDL to the First Division League won’t happen and also the GPL won’t have relegation. Even the starting of the First Division is in doubt, as organizing so many matches won’t be possible in the monsoon due to issues with the availability of grounds.”
It is also learnt that the Goa Pro League was supposed to be expanded to 14 teams from next season, where three teams from the First Division League were to be promoted with just one demotion from the GPL. But, the FDL is yet to start and has very bleak chances of being held this season. As a result, those plans are likely to be shelved for the time being.
“It was in our pipeline to extend the GPL teams to 14 next season, as we have already done it in the First Division. The idea was to demote one team from the GPL to the FDL and promote three from the FDL to the GPL this season. After consulting all the GPL teams there would have been two demotions and two promotions from the Pro League and First Division respectively from the 2020-21 season. But, now it will be postponed for next season,” Pereira explained.
The state government is most likely end the lockdown after 3rd May, as Goa has zero active cases of COVID-19 and with just 13 matches remaining in the league, the GFA has a chance to complete the season. But, the official concluded by saying, “We need permission from the state government and the All India Football Federation to resume football activities in the state. Even if everything is normalized after 3rd May in Goa by the state government, we still need to take permission from the AIFF to resume the league and there are very slender chances of completing the season.”
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