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Down to ten teams

Justin Marville

Down to ten teams

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FORGET THE CONSTITUTION, it’s the Premier League that’s getting the real shakeup by year end.
Three top flight basketball teams are set to be demoted at the end of the upcoming 2011 season as part of the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association’s (BABA) plan to reduce the Premier League to ten teams.
The move is just one of the major changes to a revamped list of playing rules released a couple days ago by the new executive council.
“It will help improve the league because now there will be better competition in the lower end,” explained BABA president Derrick Garrett of the move to demote three teams while promoting just one.
“If teams want to play in the Premier League they will fight hard to remain there. Last year we had a situation where teams felt that there was a likelihood they wouldn’t be demoted because an Intermediate team that already had a Premier League team would win the Intermediate, so they didn’t give it their best in the latter stages. 
“There was a situation where a team even defaulted a game,” he added.
It will be the second time in four seasons the number of Premier League teams would have changed following the decision to increase the league from eight teams to 12 in 2009 under then president Carlos Moore.
At that time, the move was met with widespread disapproval as many felt top flight basketball was merely being watered down by the addition of four Intermediate clubs.And the criticism was seemingly justified as the teams’ average points per game across the league dropped from the mid-70s in 2008 to 71.8 in 2009 and then to 69.4 last season.
Since then, no team has been demoted either as Station Hill Cavaliers – who already have a Premier League side – have won the Intermediate division for the last two seasons.
The last Premier League side to get the axe would’ve been Pinelands following the 2007 season.
“After two years and having a review we thought it was best to have the Premier League at ten teams,” Garrett said.
“Eight doesn’t afford the number of games and the initial reason behind the increase to 12 was to get more games without having to play more competitions.”
Less than two months on the job, Garrett’s new executive has already created a huge stir, having revamped the season structure while waiting to reform its outdated constitution before August.
But the council hasn’t limited the revamping to the constitution, as the executive has implemented a transfer system, similar to that of football, to come in effect by next season.
“We had clubs complaining about players leaving while owing them money and other various issues so we felt that it was necessary to have a transfer system in place,” explained Garrett.
“It will start from this season in that any player that registers with a club this year will be subject to these rules if he is looking to transfer next season.”
According to the new rules, players seeking to change clubs will have to pay a $10 fee while filling out a transfer form that has to be approved by the first club.