Football clubs in Barbados now have an added incentive to perform at the highest level next year.
That’s because the Barbados Football Association (BFA) will be introducing an Elite Tournament for the first time in 2016, which will cater to 16 of the island’s best clubs.
Word of this has come from BFA president Randy Harris, who has admitted the move is as a result of FIFA’s recent decision to limit footballers to playing for one club.
Just last week, Harris revealed that FIFA’s new licensing system would restrict all registered footballers to appear for one club in a calendar year.
This he said meant players would not be able to take part in the several out-of-season football tournaments which had allowed them to keep active, while also providing additional income.
However, speaking to Barbados TODAY this afternoon, Harris said the BFA was looking to host the invitational-only tournament in 2016 to help bridge that gap.
“It is an elite tournament for clubs and we are looking to kick off right after Crop Over. That is the plan going forward for the future.
“It will be invitational only for the best performing teams and it will start in 2016 so the best teams in 2016 will earn an invite to the competition,” Harris explained.
“I am not going to make a statement on the prize monies, but obviously we have to make this competition more attractive than anything that is currently going on, in order to make sure that everyone is satisfied that we are making an effort to do things the correct way.”
The BFA head said while it would affect the island’s current football structure, it was a policy which FIFA had enforced across the world for quite some time.
However, he said Barbados was lagging behind because a structure had not been put in place to assist footballers in the absence of out-of-season tournaments.
“Our players are not really supposed to play in other teams like how we do it in the out-of-season competitions. These regulations are general football regulations that are done all over the world…we are a little behind simply because we did not provide an avenue for the players at the particular time out-of-season football was being played to provide alternate opportunities for them to be active, but we have to do it now,” Harris pointed out.
“Obviously though, we want it to be done in a controlled environment, so that was the main reason why we decided to come up with the Elite tournament,” he pointed out.
With the BFA season slated for an early start on January 3, 2016, he said the inaugural tournament would be held ‘sometime in August.’