AC Port of Spain football club today became the first known sports team to forfeit a domestic fixture owing to Covid-19, as the Pro League outfit withdrew their youth side from a NLCL Under-19 Community Cup clash with Soccer Made Simple (SMS) this afternoon.
AC PoS, who are fifth in the six-team Group A, were due to face third-place Soccer Made Simple from 6pm at Mandela Park in St Clair. However, tournament director Brian Jordan said the team did the responsible thing by alerting his executive of an alleged ‘outbreak’ of cases.
“Out of an abundance of caution, and after consultation with the tournament health care sub-committee, and both teams,” stated a NLCL release, “the NLCL U19 Community Cup organising committee has cancelled today’s other Group A game between AC Port of Spain and Soccer Made Simple, due to Covid-19 concerns.
“Further communication will be shared with the public in the near future… The NLCL U19 Community Cup wishes to thank its stakeholders—including our sponsors, teams, match officials and loyal fans—for continuing to support as we get our youngsters an opportunity to showcase their skills and unlimited potential.”
Jordan confirmed that AC Port of Spain’s inability to field a team will be treated as a forfeiture and SMS will be awarded three points. There is no specific law in the tournament rules which addresses a Covid-19 outbreak within a team.
It is the third occasion that a NLCL result was decided off the field of play. On Monday 25 April, inclement weather meant a game between AC Port of Spain and second-placed Cantaro United had to be called off—with both teams receiving one point each.
And on Thursday 5 March, action between SMS and Malabar Young Stars was halted by a member of the Arima Municipal Police, who claimed to be acting on instructions from the Arima Borough Corporation. There were seven minutes left in the Arima affair and both teams agreed to let the result at the time stand, which meant a 3-1 win for Malabar.
Wired868 was unable to reach AC Port of Spain head coach Ryan Shim for comment on his team’s forfeiture.
Jordan suggested that AC Port of Spain are still expected to field a team on the weekend, as most of their players are deemed secondary contacts and will receive the green light once they exhibit no symptoms by then—in keeping with Trinidad and Tobago’s quarantine arrangements.
AC Port of Spain also have the option of registering new players since the tournament’s transfer window swings open on Saturday. They are scheduled to host Malabar from 4pm at Mandela Park on Sunday 15 May.
Meanwhile, action continues in the NLCL competition today with seven games nationwide.
At Mahaica Oval, Group B leaders Moruga FC face second-placed Gasparillo Youths from 7.30pm in the second game of a double-header. And there is a top-of-the-table meeting in Group A as well, with leaders Malabar Young Stars hosting Cantaro FC at the George Boyce Recreation Ground from 6pm.
NLCL U-19 Community Cup fixtures
(Thursday 12 May)
Trendsetter Hawks vs Creek S&CC, Group A, 6pm, Eddie Hart Ground;
Malabar Young Stars vs Cantaro FC, Group A, 6pm, George Boyce Recreation Ground;
Cox Football Academy vs Pitchmen FC, Group B, 5.30pm, Mahaica Oval;
Cunupia FC vs Pt Fortin Youth Academy, Group B, 6pm, St Mary’s Recreation Ground, Freeport;
Gasparillo Youths vs Moruga FC, Group B, 7.30pm, Mahaica Oval;
Eagles FC vs Tobago East Stars, Group C, 5pm, Mt Pleasant Recreation Ground;
North Stars Academy vs Jaric Titans, Group C, 7pm, Mt Pleasant Recreation Ground.