Six weeks after UEFA president Michel Platini called the National Stadium a disaster, president of the Confederation of North America and the Caribbean Football Association (CONCACAF), Jeffrey Webb, has said he is heartbroken at the condition of this country’s lone stadium.
“I am heartbroken over the condition of the National Stadium. It is badly maintained and has fallen into a state of disrepair. I can remember coming to Barbados over twenty years ago with football teams and the condition of the stadium was not much better than it is today. Sadly it is obvious that the facility is in need of repairs,” Webb said.
The president explained that he has held discussions with Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley about the condition of the National Stadium but CONCACAF and FIFA, the governing body of football, could not render assistance to help with the repairing of the National Stadium because it was not owned by the Barbados Football Association (BFA).
While he expressed concerns over the condition of the National Stadium, Webb was impressed with the football facility that is being built by the University of the West Indies and said it would be a major asset in the development of football on the island.
Webb said that he had intimate knowledge of Barbados which he gained from bringing football teams to the island over several years. He sated that he was impressed with the Goal Project being undertaken by the BFA at Widley and hoped that he would have the opportunity to open it in two years time along with the FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
The president said the lack of resources in the region was a major drawback for football. He noted that for members of CONCACAF the education of footballers would play a key role in the development of the sport in the region.
Webb explained that the supervision of football was very expensive in the Caribbean and that the management of the limited resources was the key to the advancement of the sport across the region.
The CONCACAF head said that regional body had recovered from the challenges it faced over the last two years. “We have had over challenges over the last two years. The region is fully aware of the problems which the body has encountered over the last three years.
“We have made an effort to resolve those problems by making our statutes stronger and forming closer ties with the associations that comprise CONCACAF. So we have put those those problems behind us and are moving forward,” Webb said.
CONCACAF has come under the microscope over the past few years after its former head and FIFA vice-president Austin “Jack” Warner was cited for instances of financial impropriety.
He was accused of corruption in a probe headed by retired Barbadian Chief Justice Sir David Simmons. Warner stepped down from CONCACAF amid the controversy.
Webb expressed his confidence in the BFA under the leadership of its president Randy Harris.
“The president of the BFA and I met during our last congress in Panama and we discussed his plans for the development of football in Barbados. I am happy that the leadership of the football in Barbados is in the hands of a person who is committed to the development of the game and who is keen on raising its standards,” Webb said.