A call has been made for FIFA’s help by veteran sports administrator Adrian Donovan for financial assistance to the 31 associations affiliated with the Caribbean Football Union.
Recently, president of the world governing body, Gianni Infantino, publicly said that FIFA had US$17 billion in surplus when hard times hit national associations around the world and therefore member associations in the Caribbean would stand to benefit.
“There has been no other time in the history of football when all national federations have been struck down by this dangerous pandemic. Speaking directly and for the 31 CFU member associations, all of them are financially strapped.
“In some cases like Barbados our season had to be abandoned and therefore the running costs of operations still have to be met. Associations still have to pay electricity, water, staff and in some cases fees for professional services which with no income being generated means a deficit in the end,” Donovan said.
He added: “The BFA (premier league) season started with a bang. Everything was running very smoothly. A number of teams at the premier league level had invested in bringing in foreign players. Clubs in the region also invested in bringing in foreign players which incurred travel arrangements, accommodation and meals. And with all the seasons aborted right through the region, and seeing that most of the countries’ borders are closed, the clubs are faced with the expensive undertaking of paying the cost of these players as they can not leave for their respective countries.”
Donovan sang the praises of FIFA who he said had been very kind to this part of the world since president Infantino came into power. He also thanked the FIFA boss for delivering on his promise to increase the allocation of funds to the region. Donovan said, “We are extremely pleased and look forward to any assistance given.”
The sports stalwart with over 40 years of administrative service said it was expected that under normal procedures the national associations would be asked to submit their running operational costs of their leagues for submission to the finance committee of FIFA.
“Of course these invoices will be heavily scrutinized and more information might be called for. But all 31 member associations of CFU have benefitted tremendously through the initiative whether in technical assistance, administrative assistance, payment of national teams, coaching education and a number of other grassroots projects that have benefitted each national association.
“To say that some of the associations are broke may be an understatement. Some are so much in debt that without the assistance of FIFA they could well put their hands in the air and call it a day,” Donovan said.
Additionally, with the current drama taking place with Trinidad and Tobago Football Association, whether they would be entitled to this FIFA funding, Donovan explained, would be left up to the normalisation committee’s recommendation.
One thing for sure, Donovan made clear was that the CFU, under the leadership of president Randolph Harris, continued to represent its members. He also highlighted the fact that CFU was a unified group behind the president of FIFA.
Donovan said he hoped that the money which would be distributed to the national federations, would go greatly towards paying off the debt incurred in what will be a lost 2020 season.
“FIFA, without doubt, is the biggest sporting body in the world that looks after its members and this possible move would be another great example of the father looking out for his children, “ he said.
Donovan added that the associations would of course be expected to present a detailed costing that would include items such as diesel for the lights, security, game staff, referees, advertising, equipment and medical services, just to name a few.