Harris stands groundRandy Harris. (FP)
By Ezra Stuart | Mon, October 29, 2012 - 12:05 AM
Amidst charges of a conflict of interest, Randy Harris insists his continued involvement in the LIME Pelican Challenge after his election as president of the Barbados Football Association (BFA) should be seen as a goal for football.
“The LIME Pelican is not a tournament that came up while I was the president of the BFA,” he pointed out. “It was a tournament that came at a time when football needed a fillip.
“Really and truly, I got together with Miss [Mia] Mottley to come up with a tournament that would be beneficial to the players and that would bring an air of organization and interest to the sport of football,” Harris told NATIONSPORT in an interview last weekend.
“At the time that we started organizing the LIME Pelican there was not even a thought of me becoming president of the BFA,” added Harris.
Noting the LIME Pelican tournament “is football”, Harris said he believed the BFA, which currently oversees the Premier League, Divisions 1, 2 and 3 as well as the islandwide knockout competition, should consider including that tournament and the David Thompson Memorial Classic under its calendar of events.
“These two tournaments should be included. Basically, the BFA doesn’t have to control the actual administration and operation of all football tournaments in Barbados.
“As it is now, it is possible that the LIME Pelican or the David Thompson Classic for that matter could become the semi-professional or even the professional leagues that the BFA itself might not have the resources to really set up.
“The time has come that Barbados has to have a professional organization where players would be able to make a living or be paid for their skills and entertainment that they provide to the public,” Harris asserted.
Harris, who defeated fellow long-serving football administrator Charles Husbands for the presidency at the BFA’s annual general meeting on September 30 after Ronald Jones did not seek election for a fifth consecutive term, made it clear his role as coordinator of the popular out-of-season tournament would in no way compromise his presidency.
“I don’t have to defend my position. I said if I was the president of the Football Association and I had tried to undermine the Football Association by trying to bring another tournament that would outshine it, obviously I would be in a position where I might even be forced to resign from the BFA.
“But should I abandon the LIME Pelican at this time or should we try to embrace it in our football calendar?” asked Harris.
The long-standing BICO sales manager said his predecessor Jones headed the BFA while sitting in cabinet and holding the portfolio as Minister of Education and Human Resource Development.
“There was a Government minister heading the national association which is a non-government organization and nobody seemed to think that there was a conflict of interest. But here it is a conflict of interest for me now and both organizations are football.
“The truth is, I don’t want to sound cocky because if I ever believed there was a conflict of interest or if anyone could point out to me where I tried to give LIME Pelican a distinct advantage over the Barbados Football Association or any other tournament, then that would become a problem,” Harris said.
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