The Barbados Football Association is about to get a BDS$2 million financial injection from FIFA to assist with its development plans.
This announcement was made today by FIFA development officer for Barbados, Howard McIntosh, during a media briefing at the National Stadium that was also attended by FIFA consultant, Dr Peter Van Gend, president of the BFA Randy Harris, and BFA senior vice-president, Al Walcott.
“Football cannot be successful whether it is here in Barbados [or elsewhere] without partnerships and FIFA will invest over the next six months in excess of two million Barbados dollars in football here in Barbados. I mention this more so from the stand point of FIFA not just coming to the table with just talk, but putting its money where mouths are and to demonstrate that we are here to see the development of football. In so doing we are hoping that the Government and the private sector would come on board to assist the BFA in the development of the game in Barbados,” McIntosh said.
FIFA has also created an Income Generation Programme which is specifically geared towards helping its members develop the sport. McIntosh said FIFA had the opportunity to sit with Harris and the Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley and discuss certain initiatives and objectives. He added that among these were the national grassroots programme and a women’s football development programme. He stated the National Stadium was also discussed and the fact that it had to be rehabilitated. He noted that another topic discussed was government’s objective of pursuing the development
of a sports industry in Barbados.
“Another initiative is to collaborate between the BFA, the University of the West Indies and FIFA to make sure we make good use of the facilities which it has to offer in terms of sports sciences. In terms of games we intend to use their facilities and collaborate with them. It is all about partnerships and UWI has some good plans,” he said.
The FIFA official explained how the funding would be disbursed.
“The BFA would not be getting any of this money, so it is not going into their accounts at all. It will be going into the accounts of other persons that either would be constructing the facility or developing the technology of what we are doing. But the money would not be going to the BFA. It is structured that way for a number of reasons. It ensures fewer people are involved in the process.
“We have contracts with the different persons so the BFA has a monitoring role . . . . We found that works better and obviously we have situations like this in over 209 countries, so we have a fair amount of experience in that and it protects the BFA and the projects,” McIntosh said.
Van Gend said the outcome of the building project would be monitored closely by FIFA. He said in addition to providing seating capacity for fans in phase two of the initiative, commercial space would also be provided as a means of generating revenue for the BFA. This phase is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Harris said the BFA had requested FIFA to monitor the association because it was a necessity not only for football in Barbados but for the country on a whole.
“Basically we have to monitor ourselves on a whole to make sure that FIFA is satisfied with what we are giving back with such a generous donation to the people of Barbados. This facility will not only serve football but we expect that it will serve other sports who are in the same position as the BFA and we expect to provide services for the sporting community at large. So basically the onus is on us to monitor ourselves and make sure we are the pride to football not only in Barbados but the whole of CONCACAF,” he said.
Addressing concerns which FIFA had raised over the progress of the building project at Wildey and the use of funds previously disbursed, Harris said a forensic probe was carried out in February into the affairs of the BFA and the results would be shared with the public very soon. He also added that the BFA hoped that the Income Generating Project would provide them with the kind of financing in the future that would allow them to help the National Sports Council to develop the field at the National Stadium.