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Harris: More prize money

Randy Bennett

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More money, more problems? Certainly Randy Harris doesn’t seem to think so.
According to Harris, coordinator of the recently concluded and highly successful LIME Pelican Football Challenge, more money would translate into higher quality footballers.
And as such, he is suggesting that the Barbados Football Association (BFA) increase their first-place prize money for the upcoming 2012 Premier League from $20 000 to a whopping $50 000.
Speaking to the WEEKENDSPORT in a telephone interview yesterday, Harris said that this was needed because most of the island’s footballers were either unemployed or working for minimum wage. This, he said, meant that once they were offered greater incentives to play football, they would use the opportunity to further develop their skills.
“Once our footballers are receiving adequate compensation, they will train harder, and they will train more because they will want to improve their skills.
“If the BFA raises the prize money it will become an immediate attraction, especially to our young footballers and the standard of football in Barbados will inevitably be raised,” he maintained.
Harris admitted that although the BFA might not be in a position to emulate the $100 000 prize which was awarded by the LIME Pelican Football Challenge, he thought that a $30 000 increase was a feasible one, and enough to help boost interest in local football.
Over the last five seasons, the BFA has offered prize monies of $20 000, $10 000, $5 000 and $2 500 for first place to fourth place.
The former BFA?general secretary believes that for too long, people across Barbados have looked at football as merely a recreational activity and not one in which a living could be earned.
He was of the view that for too long sport has been pushed on the back burner, and he insisted that now was the time for a change in the way sport was both viewed and managed by those in authority.
“We are way behind time. What the LIME Pelican Football Challenge has brought to the table in terms of the incentives which were offered to footballers is long overdue,” he said.
“2012 is the time for us to look at this very seriously, and I am calling on the BFA to intensify their efforts to try and bring back some interest to local football, while rewarding our footballers accordingly in the process.”