The BFA must step up from volunteerism

shadiasimpson, shadiasimpson@nationnews.com

Added 15 October 2012

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SPORT IS AN important plank in the social and economic development of this country, and does things few other areas of endeavour can achieve. It can lift the national psyche, bring a sense of pride and promote harmony. Consider how delighted we were just over a week ago by the victory of the West Indies in the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup in Sri Lanka. Away from the competition, there is the administration of sport, which is critical to the success of those in the middle. Today, just as we demand much more from those in the circle of performance, so too do we expect a higher level of delivery from those leading the various sporting bodies. The Barbados Football Association (BFA) cannot be an exception to the rule. The association recently held its annual general meeting, electing new president Mr Randy Harris, a long-standing administrator of the game and one known both within and without its ranks. In recent years he has had his troubles with the BFA, and had been on the sidelines for a while. As BFA president, Mr Harris has the task of trying to lift the level of football, popular at all levels, but clearly bedevilled by problems over the years. His administration must be on no witch-hunt, and has to be apolitical.   Mr Harris will have to make some quick decisions. For example, should he continue to be actively involved in the LIME Pelican Football Challenge while being president of the BFA?    The BFA, like any modern business, must adhere to new governance rules which require greater compliance, transparency and accountability. We cannot harp on yesteryear if we are to move forward hoping to reap the best rewards for our sportsmen and our country. The objectives for Mr Harris and his team must be the development of the game for the good of all. He has the challenge of promoting the sport nationally, which is now gaining in popularity among its female exponents; he has to remove the stigma of the sport being one where many of its active players use illegal drugs; and he needs to build vibrant youth competitions. For an association that has been around so long and is so well established, the BFA needs to examine itself to ensure it has the right organizational structures in place. It needs to get its own facility completed and to work with strategic partners such as the Cave Hill Campus of the UWI or the Barbados Community College to ensure other world-class facilities are available. More importantly football needs to attract, train and retain new talent in the area of coaching and leadership. And before we talk about our ranking in football, either regionally or internationally, effective systems and leadership must be in place. The BFA can no longer be an organization dependent primarily on volunteers.

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