By PATRICIA KEAMO
THE Papua New Guinea Football Association has cancelled the remainder of the National Soccer League season, citing the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic as the main reason for the decision.
The season was suspended over two months ago due to current Covid-19 measures which had resulted in clubs facing financial constraints to keep their players in camp while awaiting the resumption of the season.
Following a meeting early last month with the association and club managers, a resolution was passed to cancel the season. It was approved by the association’s executive committee last week.
Competitions director Roosje Suwae notified the 14 clubs last week that the committee had voted in support of the resolution to cancel the remaining matches of the season.
According to Suwae, one of the factors considered for cancellation was the surge in Covid-19 cases in Lae and Port Moresby.
“The two provinces (National Capital District and Morobe) which play host to the conference league are both categorised as high-risk provinces and are under restriction whereby all sports are suspended indefinitely,” she said in an email.
“The deputy (national pandemic response) controller (Dr Daoni Esorom) would only allow the competition to resume if all players and officials were vaccinated.
“But the majority of players and officials refuse to get vaccinated.”
The option of having clubs take the Covid-19 rapid diagnostic test was too expensive.
With the season cancelled, Suwae’s department was advised to recognise and declare Lae City and Hekari United as winners of the Northern and Southern Conferences respectively, given that both clubs sit atop the ladder.
“The executive committee has deliberated and endorsed that NSL clubs be refunded the balance of the affiliation fees,” she said.
“The association’s finance division was recommended to provide financial report with supporting documents with justification if clubs are entitled for refunds.”
Meanwhile, the committee has endorsed City and Hekari to represent PNG next season in the Oceania Football Confederation Champions League.
However, the nomination for representation shall be done in consultation with the association’s general secretary, Suwae and the confederation’s competitions department.
By PATRICIA KEAMO