University of the West Indies Blackbirds football team’s desire to play in familiar territory at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex is being viewed as a disadvantage to many of the teams in the Barbados Football Association Women’s League.
This all came to light when correspondence between the BFA and UWI revealed that the teams including reigning league champions National Sports Council were not in agreement with the idea of playing at UWI.
The university has offered the football association to have all matches played at the UWI turf free of charge because the BFA’s AstroTurf facility is currently being upgraded.
The correspondence sent to the BFA by UWI sports coordinator Christian Renwick stated: “Unfortunately, the offer to use UWI as a free venue for women’s football was not accepted by the BFA hence the field is now utilized on Sundays up 7/7:30pm. This only allows for one match to be played at the venue made available for UWI’s matches.”
In his response, general secretary of the BFA, Edwyn Wood, explained that since three games were normally played on Sunday’s and sometimes during weekdays, it made sense for the BFA to schedule all three matches in one location where there was more control of the event.
When contacted, Wood said the BFA did receive an offer to use the complex but clarified that it was not free of cost. He also explained that early in August this year the BFA met with management of the respective teams and most of them displayed a disinterest in utilizing the UWI facility.
“We had a few meetings leading up to the season and we had asked the clubs at the time if they wanted to play the games at UWI and there was a general discussion on it and the general consensus was that UWI was being afforded an advantage if that happened.
“So I did not understand the email sent by UWI sports coordinator, Christian Renwick, saying that we were offered to use the UWI AstroTurf free, because that was never the case. And subsequent to that I spoke with the manager of the team and I told her that if the venue is available and the teams agree then we [BFA] have no problem in allowing the games to play once they can provide someone to administer the game and make sure it starts on time. But it has to be a situation where the teams understand what is happening and they are in agreement,” Wood said.
The Friendship, St Michael ground and the Bagatelle ground in St Thomas are the two venues that would be utilized for the remainder of the women’s league unless the teams come to a decision to play at UWI.
“But what I will say is that the games that UWI have on Sundays and maybe during the week, once the teams agree that they would play and they don’t have a problem playing at UWI, then we will allow them, so that the league can run smoothly,” Wood said.