An organizer of one of Barbados’ biggest out-of-season football competitions believes FIFA’s recent move to restrict registered footballers to playing for just one team is a “blessing in disguise.”
While admitting the ruling may affect the running of next year’s David Thompson Memorial Constituency Councils Football Classic [DTMCCFC], tournament coordinator Hamilton Lashley says he hopes this will finally lead to the establishment of a professional or semi- professional football league in Barbados.
Insisting that FIFA’s move had “serious implications” for football on the island, Lashley contended that now was the perfect time for such a league to be formed.
“Now is probably the best time for all of us to sit down and examine the implementation, not the possibility, of a professional or semi-professional football league in Barbados.
“When are we going to take a reality check and realize that we must develop a semi or a professional league in Barbados [and] that Government, the private sector and all interested parties must meet the BFA as a matter of extreme urgency, to sit down and see how best we can structure a professional or semi-professional league in Barbados,” Lashley told Barbados TODAY during an interview this afternoon.
“It would obviously employ the minds and the skill of our current footballers and have them ready for the regional and international market.”
With the possibility existing for most, if not all of the regular out-of-season football tournaments to be cancelled, he warned that it could not be business as usual.
“We cannot continue in this way. There is a need now for a kind of rejuvenation in terms of thinking of plotting a new way forward in football. I know for sure that Randy Harris [BFA president] will be amenable to it and the BFA will be amenable to it, so it would come down to the support that they would need for such an implementation,” Lashley insisted.
“The creation of a professional league or a semi-professional league in Barbados is not a far- fetched idea. The illusive dream of the implementation of a professional league in Barbados will no longer be a fleeting illusion, but will become a reality.
“It has to be, because a vast number of our young people look forward to playing in these out-of-season tournaments to bring much needed income to them and their families,” he added.
Lashley also suggested that the BFA should seek the assistance of knowledgeable persons such as Keith ‘Grell’ Griffith, Colin ‘Potato’ Forde and Ivan ‘Speed’ Forde on the matter.
As it related to the DTMCCFC, Lashley said he was hoping “a middle ground” could be found and the competition would not have to cancelled.
“It certainly will add some challenges to the DTMCCFC, but I believe still that the spirit of dialogue between the organizers and the BFA, I believe that it is still a practicality that we could still have the DTMCCFC in light of the stipulations set down by FIFA.
“I honestly believe the course of dialogue and understanding the culture of football in Barbados and the understanding that it is the most popular sport on the ground, could very well work in our favour,” the former politician said.