Burkina Faso cancels football season due to COVID-19

Burkina Faso flag in stadium field with soccer football
Burkina Faso’s top football league has had its season cancelled due to disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Getty Images)

Burkina Faso’s football federation canceled the 2019/2020 football season due to disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was arrived at after an emergency meeting of the Burkinabé Football Federation on Monday in light of the spread of the deadly virus in a country which has recorded 672 COVID-19 cases and killed 46 people.

“We will consider the 2019-2020 competitions as having never taken place,” the federation said.

Taking into account the federation’s pronouncement, no team will be relegated from the country’s top-tier league, the Burkinabé Premier League, which will instead expand to 18 teams given the promotion of two teams from the lower league.

According to the federation, teams were to remain as they were with their 2018-2019 season achievements with no repetition of prizes.

As a result, Rahimo FC, champions in the 2018/2019 season, will represent the West African nation in the continent’s top-tier club competition the CAF Champions League while Salitas FC will represent it in the second-tier competition, the CAF Confederation Cup.

Burkina Faso’s second-tier division had already been completed by the time the government imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 20. As a result, Leopards de Saint Camille and Vitesse FC will be duly promoted to the for the 2020/2021 season.

In addition to cancelling this season’s Burkinabé Premier League, the federation also clarified the situation regarding players’ contracts and wages in light of the announcement.

“With respect to players’ contracts, it is considered one year to be exhausted. In other words, those whose contracts ended at the end of this season will, therefore, be free,” the federation said in its statement.

“As far as wages are concerned, a guarantee is given by the Burkina Faso football federation that players’ wages will normally be paid by clubs in accordance with their contract,” it added.

The 2020/2021 season is expected to start on September 4 provided the necessary health and safety conditions are met.

The federation’s Executive Committee has also been tasked with coming up with ways to assist clubs in both leagues with financial aid during this period.

Angola was the first African country to cancel its football league due to disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic. Kenya’s football federation also followed suit but the decision is currently in dispute with the administrator of the country’s top league.