Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2022. 8:09 pm CST.
Photo Credit: PLB/Altitude FC
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Premier League of Belize, featuring three new teams, decided on Wednesday night to delay the kickoff of the 2022-23 season by a week because those three clubs of the eight that will be competing this year, didn’t yet have a club license. In lieu, the PLB decided to play three pre-season games this weekend.
However, today, one day later, all three clubs, Police United FC, Port Layola FC (not Loyola), and Progresso FC, have been approved by the Football Federation of Belize’s (FFB) Club Licensing Committee that met on Thursday morning to consider the applications.
In effect, Police United are not new to the PLB, but they have reached an agreement with Benque Viejo United, and the Benque Viejo del Carmen side will be playing under their license.
“We have received confirmation from the Federation that everyone is fully up, ready to go, so we go from here,” said PLB manager Wilhelm Miguel.
“So, now we’ll be seeing players from the Northern districts which we had not had previously, and we now have a club from Benque, actually Benque Town, so they are in the championship as well.”
So, while the PLB is now fully set for the season kickoff on Saturday, July 30, they are proceeding with the three pre-season matches this weekend.
National champs Verdes will play Benque Viejo United at 7:30 pm on Saturday at the Edmund Marshalleck Stadium in Benque Viejo del Carmen. Altitude will host Wagiya at the same time at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence. Then, on Sunday, the Belmopan Bandits will host Belize City’s Port Layola at 6:00 pm on Sunday.
The only two clubs that will not be playing this weekend are Progresso and the San Pedro Pirates because Progresso are playing in the NBB National Amateur Interdistrict Competition (NBB-NAIC) semifinals on Sunday.
But all eight teams will see action next week when the season kicks off.
Though Progresso might be busy next week, if they qualify to the NBB-NAIC Final, they have committed to play in both tournaments, according to Miguel.
Plus, Verdes, who start their Concacaf League participation midweek (July 27) against El Salvador’s Platense and have the return match in El Salvador the following week (August 3), will not travel until their season opener here next weekend.
Miguel said the PLB will have its schedule by Friday.
But though the PLB will feature two clubs more than the FFB Top League did, three of its clubs will not be active this season. Miguel said the three clubs, namely the Freedom Fighters, Placencia Assassins, and the Belize Defence Force asked to be excused from participating this season. They may return for the 2023-24 season.
The return of the PLB, inactive over the two years after ironing out their differences, is very much welcome in football circles. Last season, the FFB organized Belize’s top competition under the name FFB Top League to keep its international commitments to Concacaf and FIFA. Verdes won that championship accompanied by Altitude FC as subchampions.
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