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Football     Real Maldives cry foul |11 January 2023

Real Maldives have said they will not take part in the second part of the league competition which starts tomorrow as they are unhappy with their ranking at the end of the first round of the National Premier League.

Anse Etoile-based Real Maldives are to play Bel Air on Saturday in the playoffs.

Playing in the Mahé group 2 of the National Premier League, both St Louis and Real Maldives have finished with 17 points after playing 10 matches in the two-round league.

While Real Maldives have five wins, St Louis have four and Real Maldives are of the view that because of the higher number of wins, they should have finished third in the group.

This is not the case according to Seychelles Football Federation (SFF) deputy chief executive Denis Rose.

“League matches are played according to normal regulations. In the case of Real Maldives and St Louis, the third place finishers were determined on goal difference, the same regulation applied for Anse Reunion and LightStars in Inner Islands group,” said Mr Rose.

“This is the rule in all competitions,” he added.

Anse Reunion and LightStars finished the first round of the Inner Islands with the same statistics ‒ 5 wins, 3 draws and 2 defeats for 18 points. But with a superior goal difference of +25 (31 goals for and 6 against) Anse Reunion took the third place ahead of LightStars who finished with +23 (33 goals for and 10 against).

As for Real Maldives, they finished fourth with 17 points ‒ 5 wins, 2 draws and 3 defeats ‒ and a goal difference of +4 (16 goals for and 12 against), while St Louis took third place also with 17 points ‒ 4 wins, 5 draws and 1 defeat ‒ and a goal difference of +17 (27 goals for and 10 against).

Only the top two teams in each of the three pools after the six teams had played each other twice in their respective groups automatically qualify for the National Champions League. In this case: winners St Michel and runner-up Defence Forces (Mahé group 1), winners Foresters and runner-up Pointe Larue Bazar Brothers (Mahé group 2), winners La Passe and runner-up Côte d’Or (Inner Islands).

The two best third-place finishers among all three groups also qualified to make up the count of eight teams in the National Champions League and they will play each other in a double round robin league on a home and away basis, making it a total of 56 matches.

The champions of the National Champions League will qualify for the Confederation of African Football (Caf) Champions League.

It is to note that the federation had before the start of the competition drafted a set of criteria only to be used in the case of a tie between all the three third-placed teams. It states: ‘To determine the two best third-place qualifiers, the following criteria will be used: Greater number of points obtained in group matches, greater number of wins in group matches, and the system of fair play points in accordance with numbers of cards received (yellow card -2, red card -4)’.

Since there was no tie between the three teams, Anse Reunion (18 points, Inner Islands) and St Louis (17 points, Mahé group 2) qualified.

As for Bel Air (third with 14 points in the Mahé group 1) they will join Bosco FC, Northern Dynamo, LMS United (from Mahé group 1), Real Maldives, Mont Fleuri and Anse Royale (from Mahé group 2) in the Mahé Premier League play-off which will be contested on a double round-robin league.

The remaining three teams from the Inner Islands group ‒ LightStars, Revengers and Santos ‒ will contest the play-off, and the team finishing last shall be demoted to the subsidiary league. They shall play a quadruple round-robin league.

The SFF has said it will bring the number of teams in the National Champions League to 10 at the start of the 2023/2024 season when the Championship winners and runners-up are promoted to the top flight.

The Championship is made up of 10 teams ‒ Rovers, Beau Vallon, Glacis, Bel Ombre, Persévérance, West Boys, Mont Buxton Veterans, Marine Maintenance, Tigers and Au Cap ‒ and they have been involved in a double round-robin league totalling 90 matches.


Gerard Govinden


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