As anyone who follows Libyan sport will testify, it’s hardly been plain sailing over recent times.
Even though Libya is hardly regarded as a football powerhouse, let’s not forget that this is a hugely popular sport still. International games get tens of thousands of spectators and football’s popularity is just as you would expect in more established countries.
However, off-the-field problems have really threatened its progress recently. Through this guide we will take a look at some of these events, and show how despite them the Libyan Soccer League draw has still been made.
The financial problems behind Libyan football
Just recently, no fewer than nineteen sports federations have appealed to the President of the Presidential Council Gayez Sarraj. Their appeals are simple – they desperately need finance to ensure that their respective sports continue.
In the memorandum, some of the facts are quite shocking. It was disclosed how the federations haven’t received any budget in four years, which has brought on a whole series of problems over time.
Unfortunately, these problems seem to be coming to a head. It now appears as though the lack of funding has caused show-stopping consequences – sport might have to stop.
The reason for the above is simple; all of the federations have run out of funding to pay for their international contributions. These contributions are a requirement to play in various continental and Arab competitions. Clearly, this is a huge issue and could mean that Libya sport is wiped from the international stage if steps are not taken.
So, what are the next steps to ensure that the above doesn’t happen? Now, a deadline has been set for the end of July. The message for this deadline is simple for Fayez Sarraj; if no funding is provided by this date then all sporting activities across these federations is going to cease. This doesn’t just involve international events either – it relates to all sport.
The Libyan Soccer League draw
Following on from the above, there has been a lot of relief that the draw for the Libyan Soccer League has now taken place. As you may probably gather following the financial issues, there has been a lot of concern that this wouldn’t happen.
It wasn’t just financial implications which were causing a stumbling block though. As well as this, a lot of eastern clubs in the country were asking for the draw to be divided into districts. This would mean that there would be two groups in the west and two in the east of the country – with this naturally aiding significantly from a logistical point of view.
Eventually, the Libyan Football Federation agreed to such demands, meaning that the draw was able to take place.
The authorities drew Al-Ahli Benghazi, Al-Hilal, Al-Najma, Al-Tawun, Darnas, Al-Anwar, Al-Gurdabiya, as well as one additional team, to be classed in the first east group. Then, Al-Naser, Al-Akhdar, Shabab Al-Jabal, Al-Tahadi, Khalij Sirte, and Ajdabiya Stars were classed in the second group for the east.
Over in the western groups, the first contained Al-Itihad, Al-Sweihli, Al-Shatt, Al-Olymbi, Al-Tarsana, Al-Itihad Al-Masrati and Al-Sharara. The second western group was then comprised of Al-Ahli Tripoli, Al-Madina, Abi Al-Ashahar, Al-Wehda, Al-Mahala, Rafiq and Al-Khums.
The format of the competition is relatively simple and mimics that of a lot of football tournaments across the globe. Every team will play a first leg and a second leg in their group – effectively translating as a home and away fixture. Following this, the top team from each group will progress to a round competed by all of the group winners. Rather than being in a knockout-format, which can sometimes be the case with these types of football tournaments, this will again be contested as a league. In other words, the side that scores the most points will be the champion of the Libyan Soccer League.
A conclusion on sport in Libya
Following on from the above, it’s clear to see that there are problems with Libyan sport – and a lot of authorities will be sweating on the outcome of upcoming funding discussions.
There is seemingly light with the football federation though. Let’s not forget that the 2016/2017 season was cancelled, meaning that the draw for this year is phenomenal news for the sporting fans of Libya. Additionally, there is at least some financial rest bite for these teams competing, with the news that the league agreed to the regional format which will save so much traveling time during the playing campaign.