Posted: Thursday, December 8, 2022. 11:42 am CST.
Photo Credit: Altitude FC
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: After the Premier League of Belize’s (PLB) Organizing Committee ruled that if the second leg of the Finals between Altitude and Verdes can’t be played on Thursday night, that the match should be rescheduled for Sunday at the FFB Field in Belmopan, Altitude said they will not play in Belmopan.
Altitude said the second Final is their home game and they should not be forced to play it anywhere else.
“Our guys have dug down, game in, game out, in one of the toughest seasons, and earned the right to play the final game at home,” Altitude FC said in a social media post.
“We have indicated to them that we have a huge commitment to our fans, especially our traveling fans, and a midweek game is totally unjust and unacceptable. They have stated that if the match cannot be played on Thursday, December 8th, 2022, the match is to be played on Sunday, December 11th, 2022 at the FFB Stadium in Belmopan.
“We would like to make it very clear; Altitude will not be playing its home game in Belmopan. This final game was not given to us on a charity basis, it was earned, it was fought for – against officials, against the media and against general expectations!” said Altitude.
After the match was postponed last Saturday night with over 4,000 fans in attendance, according to Altitude FC General Manager Jordan Zabaneh, he and Verdes General Manager Lorin Frazer discussed the rescheduling of the match but couldn’t reach an agreement. It was after that the PLB Tournament Organizing Committee made their decision to play the match on Thursday in Independence and failing that on Sunday in Belmopan.
Both teams had already made arrangements for their foreign players to fly out this week and had to reschedule, plus they must pay their players an extra week. Verdes reportedly wanted to avoid that and wanted to play on Tuesday, but Altitude insisted on Saturday as their fans, they said, deserve to be able to see the game. Midweek would be a problem for many of them.
So, the game is set for tonight at 7:30 pm. But Altitude are concerned that if the game must be postponed again, and they consider that the possibility is high because the forecast calls for 80% probability of rain, that the match would then have to be played in Belmopan.
To that, they say they will not bend.
“At this point, to us, it doesn’t matter if we finish first or second, what we want is to be respected and given our hard-earned right to march into the Michael Ashcroft Stadium and play our game in front of you, our faithful supporters, who were there for us in numbers this past Saturday night when the game should have been played,” Altitude said.
“Yes, we agree the field was wet, and we don’t control the weather, but the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio, upon which we played the week before was in as bad condition, but we played! We weren’t even allowed to warm up on the pitch, but still we played.”
Altitude also said that while the match commissioner and the referee team considered the field was not good enough to play last Saturday, that Verdes had no intention of playing because the players never went to their locker room, did not suit up, and didn’t follow the match countdown.
The regular season winners said that if the game cannot be played tonight, that they should play it on Saturday in Independence and not Sunday in Belmopan.
“If the weather does not hold, we must insist that the game be played at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium on Saturday, December 10th, 2022, since according to the League, the season has to be finished before midnight on Sunday,” Altitude FC said.
Altitude said the weather forecast looks good for Friday and Saturday in Independence.
Zabaneh said that to prevent the pitch at the Michael Ashcroft from becoming water-laden, the Michael Ashcroft Stadium Committee has been working on a drain near the section of the field which tends to hold water and that the work should be completed by Friday, December 9.
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