Mbabane: It seems next season the 16 League teams will continue, these is evident as the promotion and relegation of teams in the MTN Premier League and the National First Division remain unresolved up to these far. Despite that the 2021/21 MTN League Rules and regulation provide for the promotion and relegation of teams, Article 11(7) states that three teams will be relegated to the second-tier league, while two teams will be promoted to the elite League.
These means, for the 2021/2022 seasons, 15 teams will compete in the MTN Premier League .the Article reads part, ”The three clubs that have the least number of points on completion of the season, shall be relegated to from the Premier League Division to the National First Division League and the clubs that finishes in the top two positions of the MTN National First Division League shall be promoted to the Premier League Division. In determining the clubs to be relegated, the format provided in Article 11(13), 11(4), 11(5), 11(6) shall be used.”
These promotion and relegation format was planned to move by football authorities to strategically revert to the initial 14 team’s elite League. The 16- teams League was as a results of football authorities deciding not to implement relegation in football levels for the 2019/20 season that was eventually cancelled with eight games to finish the League, due to the outbreak of COVID-19 that forced government to suspend all sporting activity.
According to the source close to the matter, despite the provision in the 2020/21 season rules and regulations, the elite League will continue to have 16 teams next season. “The relegation of three teams and promotions of two teams from the national first division has been a subject for debate and it was discovered that such will be impractical as it will mean a 15 –team League, and therefore, one team will not play every week, “said the source.
The source further reveal that such decision was superseded by another proposal by the EFA ,where it was proposed that two teams were relegated to the national First Division, then the third team compete in the play offs against the top three in the National First Division League then one team get promotion to make them a 14 league .”However, the decision was superseded by another, where the Premier League of Eswatini PLE elected that the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) cannot detect terms as it was an organization to run its own PLE Constitution,” claimed the source.
The source revealed that as it stands, two teams will be relegated at the end of the season and two teams will be promoted which means the 16-team league will continue. “The Board of Governors (BoGs) will meet to determine, then the (PLE) will then submit a proposal to the EFA, from there it will remain to be seen whether or not the EFA will adopt the proposal, ’said the source .The source further reveal that relegation in the National First Division of teams was also a headache for (EFA) as regional football was still suspended. When sought for comment( PLE0) Chief Operational Officer ( COO) Pat Vilakati said he did not comment on information obtained from sources .Vilakati said the MTN Premier League rules and regulations have not changed as far as relegation and promotion was concerned and that will apply unless the rules have been amended and that will be communicated in an official forum.