Kick off: Dandy Town and North Village start the football season with the Charity Cup on Saturday night.*Photo by Ras Mykkal
Kick off: Dandy Town and North Village start the football season with the Charity Cup on Saturday night.*Photo by Ras Mykkal

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14: Football clubs may not field youth league or masters teams after the Bermuda Football Association sent out a notice this week saying all fees must be paid in full or teams will forfeit games until they are.

The letter sent by Cal Blankendal, competitions committee chairman, said: “The Executive Council decision was that all clubs are required to pay their fees in full for the upcoming season and until they do they will forfeit their games.  That means if it takes the club “X” number of games before they are able to pay the upcoming season fees then the club will not participate in any games.  Additionally, the match and points will be forfeited to your opponent and a score of 3-0 recorded.

“With regards to the FA Cup if any club fails to pay their outstanding fees before the draw takes place for the FA Cup then the club(s) cannot participate in the FA Cup for this upcoming season.

“Please note that there is / was no ruling to ‘kick any club out for the 2012/13 season.’  The clubs that do not pay the upcoming season fees prior to the start of their first match just would not be able to play until they do so.  Essentially, it is the club that determines when they start playing and that is based entirely on when the club pays its fees.”

One club representative told the Bermuda Sun that eventually means his club is being forced to choose between having its top team forfeit early season matches or not field its masters or youth league team.

He said: “I have talked to several club representatives and they are scrambling to produce the fees before this weekend, and some have elected to pull their planned PDL and Masters out of the season, and bypass the league cup competitions to reduce the costs this season.

“I know there are several clubs facing these challenges, so how many clubs will be have in premier and first division that will make a legitimate start to the season? How many clubs will be in the league cup and FA Cup competitions?”

Economy

A second club rep said it was likely they would not field a PDL Club unless they could come up with an additional $300 to pay for its registration.

Lou Matthews, president of Boulevard Blazers said he has found the BFA “to be flexible” and willing to work with clubs who can’t pay everything up front.

He added: “The economic times have hit us all. We are struggling to pull together funds. We have asked the BFA and our field operators for more time. They have been supportive.

“We have had to reduce number of competitions we signed up for. When you add security fees it’s tough. We do not have income operations like bars as some clubs do but we all want same thing — to impact lives. So there is disparity in the clubs to handle this.

“We won’t fold. But we will check our growth to match how we can pay for it all.”

Blankendal told the Bermuda Sun said: “There is a trend that members are not paying their fees in a timely matter, which may impact the club, but that’s a matter the clubs have to deal with.”

Blankendal said if a club had to pay all the fees for the various competitions it’s $3,500, but if every member is paid up, those fees are easily paid for.

He said using Dandy Town as an example, “It takes $35 a person to pay that.”

Blankendal said that might be a challenge for those clubs that don’t have a field, but added they would also have to pay less.

“If you’re BAA you pay more because you have more revenue, but like Wolves Sports Club then they pay less because they don’t have a field.

“If club members did what they have to do, then it would be easy.”

He said clubs paying their fees also get money back through the FA Cup, and the teams in the Premier Division and the top two teams in the First Division get money from Digicel’s prize pot.

“It’s not like they’re paying something and not getting anything back. They’re also gaining revenue by getting gate receipts, beverage receipts. There are clubs that have shirt sponsors (see this page for a story in North Village’s sponsorship).”

“For most of the club’s it’s not a problem; they just have to do their own basic administration.”

He said the BFA have obligations as well and have to pay for referees and office expenses.

He said for someone to say they are not putting in a PDL team is ridiculous.

“The average PDL player dues is $100 per person. Three players cover the cost of the team.”

He said the BFA only charges $300 per team to cover 16 matches, which is a bargain.