Coronavirus: Four more African FA’s abandon league seasons, taking total to eight

By Samindra Kunti

May 6 – The list of seasons that won’t be completed is growing. In Africa, Congo, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Niger have all cancelled the remainder of their seasons because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

In East Africa, the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) decided after a video conference with stakeholders, including the Ethiopian Premier League, that all league competitions in the country are cancelled. There will be no promotion or relegation and the country won’t have any representatives in next season’s CAF competitions.

“Considering the country is under a state of emergency and the unpredictability of the coronavirus outbreak, we have decided to cancel this year’s all league games,” read a statement from the EFF.

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency on April 8. The country has 145 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with the disease claiming four lives, according to the latest data from the Johns Hopkins University.

In Congo, As Otoho will retain their domestic crown after the Congolese Association Football Federation (FECOFA) took the decision to not complete the rest of the season. AS Otoho led the domestic league table with 54 points after 22 match days when the competition was suspended.

In West Africa, the Nigerien Football Federation (Fenifoot) has cancelled the remainder of the 2019-20 Ligue 1. In March, the league was suspended to combat the spread of the coronavirus and the governing body of the West African country has decided to abandon the season.

The Fenifoot executive committee invoked ‘force majeure’ to justify its decision. There will be no relegation or promotion in Niger this season and the clubs who represented the country last season in the continental CAF competitions will do so again next season. AS Sonidep qualify for next season’s Champions League and USGN will participate in the Confederation Cup.

In Niger, 763 people have been infected with the coronavirus and 38 people have lost their lives, according to the latest data of the Johns Hopkins University. In neighboring Burkina Faso, the death toll is slightly higher with 48 casualties and 688 confirmed cases. The Burkinabe Football Federation (BFF) also cancelled its season with Rahimo FC receiving the ticket for the Champions League and  Salitas participating in the Confederation Cup.

The BFF also took measures concerning players’ wages and contracts.

“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,” wrote the BFF in a 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.”

In Africa, Mauritius, Kenya, Angola and Guinea were the first leagues to cancel their season.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1594071041labto1594071041ofdlr1594071041owedi1594071041sni@o1594071041fni1594071041