Addis Ababa clubs sign MoU on new league format
After a controversial year of football in the Ethiopian Premier League (EPL) 2018/19 season, 22 Addis Ababa City clubs including St. George and Ethiopia Coffee, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set a new league format for the upcoming EPL season. 16 of the 22 clubs have agreed to the new format.
Held last week in Sheraton Hotel, the Addis Ababa Football Federation (AAFF) in collaboration with Addis Ababa Sport Commission decided to establish a new league format for the new season. Addis Ababa City Administration representatives, the city club executive committee members and the 22 clubs’ representatives have reached an agreement not to travel to regional stadiums to play matches.
During the signing, the AAFF executive committee pointed out the main obstacles facing various clubs across the country. The executive member also presented a detailed study showing the league formats shortcomings.
According to the study, all clubs which have participated in the premier, higher or super leagues across the country, have spent more than two billion birr in a year. For clubs administered by city administrations, the study indicated that over 95 percent of the cost is budgeted from government coffers.
In addition, the study emphasized that every club spends more than half a billion birr in transport costs to travel from region to region. Furthermore, due to expenses such as player’s fees, transport, and food, hotel and transfer fees; clubs are not able to strengthen their infrastructure, the study has indicated.
It is to be recalled that the political upheavals in the country have hindered the travel plans and safety of clubs, leading the Federation to reschedule many matches. These prompted the majority of Addis Ababa clubs to voice their concerns stating that the names of the clubs and logos should not be allowed to express political views.
The city clubs argue that due to the current format, youth players are not recruited but instead millions are invested in foreign players further hindering the National team’s progress in the international stage. Additionally, they described the difficulty of going to regional stadiums due to football hooliganism.
Named the Ethiopian Premier league in 1997, it was first called ‘The Ethiopian Championship.’ During this time, all regional clubs competed in their own region and the finalists played in the capital city Addis Ababa stadium for the title. The champion represented the country in continental competitions. However, since 1997, it was renamed to the Ethiopian Premier League (EPL) and created leagues in which you progress in order to join the EPL.
According to the Ethiopia Football Federation (EFF) rules and regulations, it is the mandate of the general assembly, if any claim comes from clubs and, the final decision rests on the general assembly members.
The EFF is set to call a general assembly in September. However, EFF President Esayas Jirra insisted that none of the clubs have informed or reported to the office about the newly formed format of the league.