From all indications, many of the registered Barbados Football Association (BFA) clubs are suggesting to the governing body to rethink the Annual General Meeting nomination process because they are concerned about some irregularities and a conflict of interest.
One conflict of interest being complained about is that there are BFA executives who are candidates in the upcoming elections and they are allegedly deciding who are eligible or ineligible to run for office come Sunday, August 9, at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
President of the Wotton Football Club and attorney-at-law Rasheed Belgrave who is running for the senior vice-president position is appealing for fairness and transparency in the process.
He suggested that if the BFA had nothing to worry about, why could it not restart the entire nomination process and give those that were at a disadvantage a fair chance.
“Everybody is paying attention and even if your (BFA) hands were clean and there were no irregularities or nothing devious about the nomination procedure, why are people going into the media, putting articles in the newspaper, people voicing their opinion strongly about how the nomination process went and yet you still want to proceed with it? My thing is about the betterment of football. I don’t think they should proceed with the process.
“We are talking about the laws of natural justice. A man should not be a judge in his own cause. So you have the incumbent making the decisions on who is supposed to be the candidates. It is like you running against Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister deciding if you could run or not. It wouldn’t seem fair, it would look like the Prime Minister blocking everybody who could be a viable candidate. So it has to be separated in order to be independent and fair.
He added: “Even if they (BFA board) aren’t doing anything despicable, it still looks despicable. Even though we think Randy is a fair man, it still looks funny that with all these issues being raised they are still pushing forward for it (elections) to happen. So, we got to dismantle those rumours by starting over everything.”
The clubs are also wondering why the BFA placed an advertisement in the media this past weekend indicating the date the AGM would be held, but nothing about the nomination of candidates.
According to Belgrave, the entire situation shouldn’t have occurred in the first place and he told Barbados TODAY if he is successful in his bid to be the next senior vice-president, he would push for internal restructuring.
“This is a situation I don’t think should have occurred. I think there should be an independent nomination committee. So, if I had to get in those are things I would push like internal restructuring. If you listen to the footballing community, everybody would have an issue with how football is done. People naturally would always poke a hole in something that is going on, but to make it better. But you can’t remain the same way. It can’t remain that every year people get the same complaints all the time.
“So you have to start with the internal organs of the BFA. Things like finance, the nomination committee and revamp certain things to make it appealable and fair to the footballing community. Remember the people who are on the board run football for everybody in the country. You can’t make everybody happy but at least the majority of the footballers and administrators within the clubs should feel a sense of comfort.
“There is a situation where the BFA general secretary (Edwyn Wood) was responsible for issuing the nomination forms. There were many situations where people turned up and the general secretary wasn’t there or no one delegated to release the forms. And remember most people have a job, so you take your lunch hour to go by the BFA to collect a form, and the general secretary is not there. Then the date passes and then you hear your club is not eligible to vote because the date has expired. All these things ruffle feathers,” Belgrave said.
Just last week representatives from clubs such as Beverly Hills and Pride of Gall Hill vented their disapproval about how the nomination process was being handled.
In fact, the clubs are calling for an independent body such as the Barbados Olympic Association to manage proceedings. Alternatively, the clubs would like the BFA to put in place an electoral committee to oversee the election process, similar to what is done at the regional level in the Caribbean Football Union.
When contacted by Barbados TODAY for a comment in response to the allegations, the BFA president Randy Harris made it clear he would not be responding. He said: “I am not dealing with that at the moment because we have not broken any rules. If we had done something wrong I would want to clarify or state what is going on. We got an AGM and the clubs would decide what is what.”