April 9 – Mauritius has become the first African country to cancel its professional league season “with immediate effect” due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In March, the domestic game was suspended, but this week the Mauritius Football Association (MFA) decided to abandon the rest of the season as a consequence of the global health crisis. The cancellation affects all football leagues on the Indian ocean island nation.
“Following our previous correspondence dated 19th of March 2020, on the suspension of all football activities until further notice due to the Covid-19 Outbreak, we would like to inform you, as-to-date, about the definitive cessation of all national and regional football leagues in the national interest,” said MFA secretary-general Paul Didier Gnanapragassa in a circular to MFA members.
“After considering the opinion of each member and mainly in consultation with the authorities during the past week, it has been, hence, decided that this current season 2019/20 ends up with immediate effect, resulting thus to the irretrievable abandonment of all championships at any level of competition.”
The MFA, however, failed to mention how their directive will affect the final standings in the local top flight. With five games left in the Mauritian League, Grande Riviere Sud Est Wanderers led the table on goal difference ahead of Bolton City.
“We only had five games left. We should have waited instead of cancelling the league so suddenly,” Wanderers team manager Jayesh Rampadarath said.
MFA president Samir Sobha defended the decision, explaining that “out of 26 teams, only three responded negatively to the decision. The majority agreed to go in this direction. “
In Mauritius, 268 people have contracted the coronavirus and seven people have died, according to the WHO.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1591099001labto1591099001ofdlr1591099001owedi1591099001sni@o1591099001fni1591099001