Liberta to end Premier Division hold-out but club president expresses ongoing concern over players' insurance coverage

By December 11, 2022
Liberta Sports Club President Kenny Benjamin. Liberta Sports Club President Kenny Benjamin.

After holding out for the past two weeks, Liberta Sports Club will play its first game in the Antigua and Barbuda Premier Division this Sunday but its president, Kenneth Benjamin, has continued to express his concerns over the silence of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Associations’ (ABFA) on the matter of player insurance.

Liberta has been at odds with the ABFA since earlier this year when it’s president wrote to the ABFA asking about the presidency of the association and insurance coverage for players for the 2022/2023 season of the Premier Division.

ABFA General Secretary Rohan Hector told Sportsmax.TV that President Everton Gonzales, who fell ill shortly after he was elected in April 2022, is still in charge and is aware of the daily running of the association as per his instructions.

A week ago, Hector said, Gonzales in a missive, sent word to the clubs updating them on football-related matters including plans to support the clubs with a second tranche of Covid-19 relief funds as well as additional support funding for the teams that have been without competition for two and half years prior to three weeks ago when competition resumed in the Premier Division.

However, Benjamin remains skeptical about the veracity of that missive and is even more concerned about the ongoing silence over player insurance.

Hector told Sportsmax.TV that the FA sent out a form to collect contact information from the players in an effort to speed up the process for new and more robust insurance coverage for players, coaches and officials in the premier division.

However, Benjamin claims that the association already had contact information for the players and that he does not believe that the players are covered even as the premier division enters its third week.

“A member club had a concern and they didn’t even have the courtesy to respond to us,” Benjamin told Sportsmax.TV in response to Hector’s claim and perceived threat about sanctioning Liberta with the possibility of expulsion from the league.

“Before the league, we wrote to them and said what is the situation with the insurance and they didn’t respond and we wrote and said we can’t let our players play without insurance they are working men and they haven’t responded up to now,” Benjamin said Wednesday.

“So for the first two games we didn’t turn up because they haven’t said anything to us. They sent a general email that is not addressing our issue.”

Benjamin indicated that the FA suggested that what the clubs must do is that if there is an injury, the club should spend the money for rehabilitation, submit an invoice and the FA would reimburse the club. This, Benjamin said, was not satisfactory.

“When we saw that we asked them, how much will be reimbursed back, what if someone gets injured in practice are they covered. All of these questions need to be answered before we just jump up and say okay,” he said.

“So those were our concerns, mainly insurance. They are trying to avoid this issue. That is not the way an association functions. All we wanted was a dialogue with them to clear up whether the players are covered.

“We are an organized club. We are not just a team. We have to answer to our members, auditors and all these things. We do those things so we want to know what is it that we are covered for, how much are you (the FA) going to give back if we spend x-amount of money.”

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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