Football Clubs are rooting for former General Secretary of the Barbados Football Association (BFA) Chris Graham to run for a senior position at the Annual General Meeting scheduled for August 9 at the Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium.
A reliable source has informed Barbados TODAY that the clubs want Graham to be the next senior or junior vice-president of the BFA. When contacted, Graham confirmed the aforementioned statement that the clubs had indeed approached him and he was definitely considering the request.
He explained that now more than ever he was very confident of running based on what he has seen transpiring of late particularly with the nomination process for the imminent elections.
“Couple of clubs approached me and asked a question. I told them that I would definitely consider and after following events over the last couple weeks, I was not pleased. To be quite honest, I support the clubs that are actually calling for a transparent process.
“If you have a general secretary that is supposed to be there on a full-time basis and you can’t find him. Then you have people that are up for re-election themselves, running the whole election and nomination process, I mean it is a real cause for concern. The BFA needs to be restructured and if it is not restructured then that means the football would not get any better,” Graham said.
Over the last three weeks, the clubs have been calling for a fair and transparent election. They cited several irregularities with the process and are calling for the nominations to be restarted. They would also like to see an independent body like the Barbados Olympic Association put in place to oversee the entire election.
In addition to the nomination process, Graham also wants to see a disciplinary committee being put in place. Having a disciplinary committee installed is close to Graham’s heart having had an unpleasant encounter with senior officials of the local football association who he accused of assault in 2013. He was subsequently fired from his post as general secretary. Graham is calling for all committees of the BFA to be independent going forward.
“I think beyond my running there still needs to be a monumental shift in what is being done in terms of the BFA and football. So, for example, I think the issue with the whole election is not the only issue that is important. You got to look at issues like the disciplinary committee, the disciplinary committee needs to be independent. A lot of the committees in the BFA need to be independent.
“I think that if the clubs did not come out and voice their concerns, I think you would have another election just gone down in a questionable way. I mean you could change personnel in the BFA but if there is no appetite to change policies then we are not going any where, we are going around in circles. I would like to see real change and if the clubs feel that I could make a difference, I would humbly accept any offers out there,” he explained.
He added: “But there needs to be real change at the state and stage we are at, we do not even have one proper grassfield and the association is over one hundred years old. You got to ask yourself what were the persons in there doing for the five, six, seven years they were there.
“Then you have people who were around football for the last 15 to 20 years and they have contributed absolutely nothing to football. I would even go as far as saying if they care to challenge my statement, they can go to the newspaper and put a claim out there in terms of what they have contributed to football in Barbados. Nothing. So why are these persons being allowed to lead? The blind cannot lead, cannot.”
Calls have been made by BFA club members for the removal of BFA general secretary Edwyn Wood, particularly because of the manner in which he has handled the nomination process.
While admitting that the role of the general secretary was a challenging one, Graham charged that the person in that position had to be a fair individual once hired by the BFA president.
However, Graham made it clear he was not a fan of Mr Wood and hinted that maybe the clubs saw something that he did many years ago that has made them resort to calling for his head.
“Mr Wood is not one of my favourite persons to be quite honest. I find him to be not forthcoming at times and maybe the clubs are seeing something I saw years ago. Everything must come to light. You also have to ask yourself if he knows what he is doing in that particular role. It might be unfair lashes so to speak. But it is a challenging role and I noticed a lot of things in my time there and I can say that it is probably too much for him. And if the clubs don’t have any confidence in him then so be it, “ he said.
Efforts to reach Wood were unsuccessful up to publication time.