Senegal, Benin cancel domestic football seasons due to COVID-19

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Senegal and Benin are the latest African countries to end the domestic football seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. COURTESY: CAF

West African countries Senegal and Benin became the latest nations in the continent to end their domestic football seasons following disruptions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senegalese Football Federation (FSF) canceled all its domestic competitions following the FSF executive committee’s endorsement of a proposal by the medical committee to end the season. The decision came amid speculation that competitions might resume following a lengthy suspension.

The executive committee also agreed not to have any promotions or relegations at all levels as the necessary quota of matches played to determine such decisions was not met.

However, the committee did decide to designate teams which will represent Senegal in the African interclubs competitions next season. Teungueth FC and Jaraaf FC, who were first and second respectively when the league was suspended will participate in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup respectively.

The executive committee also declared that the new season will begin on October 31.

With clubs hard hit by the pandemic, which has resulted in several leagues being cancelled and revenues lost, the FSF made a welcome announcement that it will disburse funds to clubs to mitigate the negative effects.

According to the FSF, clubs in Senegal’s Ligue 1 will each receive $25,892 (15 million CFA Francs), clubs in Ligue 2 will each receive $17,261 (10 million CFA Francs), National One clubs will each get $12,083 (7 million CFA Francs), National Two clubs each get $5,178 (3 million CFA Francs) and regional clubs will each get $1,726 (1 million CFA Francs).

Meanwhile, women’s elite clubs will each receive $5,178 (3 million CFA Francs) while those in the second division will receive $3,452 (2 million CFA Francs).

The Benin Football Federation (FBF) took a similar decision to cancel the season with the FBF’s executive committee noting that the situation had not improved since the suspension in March. Instead, the FBF said in a statement, that extra vigilance was required as the number of COVID-19 cases was increasing.

“Based on these considerations, the Executive Committee decided to definitively end the various championships of the 2019/2020 season for the health and safety of the entire football community.”

The FBF said that there would be no promotion or relegation in all the national leagues.

“The same clubs for Leagues One, Two and Three in the 2019/2020 season are therefore eligible for the 2020/2021 season.”

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