Finally, the wait is over.
The Barbados Football Association (BFA) has been given the green light by Town and Country Planning to erect its artificial lights and bleachers at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf.
The BFA president Randolph Harris told Barbados TODAY that FIFA, the world governing body for football, had granted BDS$2.2 million for phase two of the project specifically covering the installation of lights and bleachers.
However, he pointed out that money had nothing to do with the overall completion of the project that included things such as the grandstand which might cost another BDS$10 million to be completed.
“We are now renegotiating because FIFA has given us the responsibility of handling our own financing for the development of the project and at the moment we are trying to negotiate to have the full project completed which includes a grandstand, sports gym, training room and hopefully accommodation for teams coming into Barbados,” Harris said.
Earlier this year the BFA was at a standstill with respect to phase two of the million- dollar project. In fact, they were on the verge of losing out on some much needed funds from FIFA as a result of the slowness and their inability to get the project completed. However, the approval by Town and Country Planning was a welcome relief for the development of football on the island, he explained.
Harris said they were hoping to have the lights and bleachers in place by Independence Day or even before once all goes according to plan. But he stressed that where the overall development and competition of the facility was concerned, that would likely be finished by 2018.
The BFA president recently returned to the island from Miami where he was elected to serve as an executive member of the board of the Caribbean Football Union at its 39th Ordinary Congress. This is Harris’ first stint on the CFU board.
Speaking on this achievement, Harris said he was humbled by the support given to him at the CFU election.
“I was asked to run by a number of regional countries and I accepted their request. I am happy to be in a position to help football in the region,” he said, adding that Barbados and the entire region stood to benefit from the CFU which is once again under the leadership of Antiguan Gordon Derrick who was re-elected for another four years.
According to Harris, if the CFU could put programmes in place for the development of football in the Caribbean where the youth especially were concerned, along with infrastructure training, the entire membership would benefit.