Barbados’ senior team football manager Fabian Wharton is challenging Randy Harris’ presidency of the Barbados Football Association (BFA).
And today at a media briefing held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Center, Wharton painted a litany of woes as the reasons why he should replace the long-serving football administrator at the helm of the BFA.
He described Harris’ tenure as one of incompetence, financial mismanagement and draconian dictatorship. The presidential candidate gave a brief synopsis of how he proposed to right the perceived wrongs hindering the development of football in Barbados. Wharton pointed to mounting debt which he placed at more than $700 000, poorly organised women’s and youth leagues and the undervaluing of ‘Out of Season’ tournaments as areas of major concern.
“For the past four years the BFA has become a rudderless ship with a lack of vision, no accountability, financial madness and general lack of professionalism. We have a president that seems to believe that the organisation belongs to him. Football is owned by all of us…We must understand that as administrators we have a social responsibility to ensure that we do not put any prohibitive measures in place like stopping all out-of-season football, essentially creating an environment where our young people become idle,” Wharton charged.
He added: “What we need to do instead of using these draconian measures such as stopping the out-of-season tournaments, we need to find a way to embrace all of these organs.”
Wharton revealed a number of short to medium term plans that he said would fix the financial haemorrhaging he claimed occurred despite the BFA receiving $2.2 million from FIFA. These measures, he suggested, would lead to eventual implementation of the long-term goal of transforming the premier league into a semi-professional one.
“If you look at St. Kitts, Antigua, even look at Guyana with the December tournament, these are things that the other islands are doing and it is said that Barbados is supposed to be one of the strongest countries in the region with the best brains in the region. So why are we lagging so far behind with regards to development of the game especially at the senior level?” queried the longstanding Brittons Hill team manager.
Wharton also took aim at the BFA for last year’s embarrassment of fielding a player in a World Cup qualifier who was ineligible to play because of suspension.
“We have a situation where persons are still sitting in the BFA despite being responsible for the recent World Cup fiasco. Everybody treated the World Cup disaster as if it was a minor situation. How can you explain to a group of young men that trained so hard that an administrative error cost them the opportunity to not be seen by international scouts, cost them an opportunity to continue to represent their country? They (BFA administration) have effectively embarrassed the nation and left a stain on Barbados’ football.”
Wharton currently has the endorsement of BFA treasurer candidate, Adrian Mapp, as well as first vice-president candidate, Jabez “Jack” Bovell.
However, Wharton’s chances of replacing Harris at this Sunday’s election of officers appear slim to none.
Today Barbados TODAY was informed that this was perhaps the first time in the history of the BFA where a candidate was seeking the presidency of the organisation and had no endorsement or backing from any member of that body’s executive council. Neither Mapp nor Bovell is on the BFA’s executive council.
A BFA source also revealed that far from financial mismanagement, that under Harris there had been a marked improvement in financial accountability and record-keeping at every level of the association’s operations since he took up office in 2012.
The source pointed to a number of initiatives introduced by Harris to improve women’s football and the increase of participants at various age-group levels. The BFA source also highlighted the increased training for officials in several levels of the sport, as well as closer interaction between clubs and the association and efforts to facilitate them with computer technology.
“Harris has the backing of the executive council and the general membership and has been doing an excellent job. Wharton’s mission is a mystery,” the source noted.
Contacted today about Wharton’s charges, Harris said he would respond to all of his allegations on Sunday at the BFA elections. (WG/CM)