A change?of date isn’t the only issue the Barbados Cup has had to deal with.
According to tournament organizer George Lascaris, the lack of proper football fields and facilities is also hindering the growth of the annual event.
During an interview with the SATURDAY SUN this week, Lascaris revealed that the unavailability of grounds which met international standards was the main reason why the number of teams participating in the competition could not be increased.
He pointed to the fact that there were not enough grounds which could ably facilitate more than the 72 registered teams, saying this meant some local and international teams had seen their applications turned down.
He said two grounds that met those standards and could possibly be used were proving difficult to get.
“We were exploring the possibility of using the field at University of the West Indies, but that is proving to be quite costly and I don’t think that we will be able to afford those rental fees.
“The other ground, in Meadow Road, is supposed to be owned by the National Sports Council (NSC), but there seems to be some ownership issues there, as now someone is saying that it is their land and they don’t want any football playing on it,” he said.
Lascaris maintained that they were trying to keep the tournament, now in its 25th year, “within a small area”, and that he did not want to “spread it too far”.
“We are going to be using Banks, Police, Harrison College and the Barbados Community College as our key grounds, and these are all located in a very close catchment area.
“This way it makes it easier not only for persons who may want to watch more than one game, but also in the event that our medical services are called into action, those grounds are fairly close and that would make it easier for them to service more than one ground,” he explained.
The former president of the Barbados Football Association said that these issues, coupled with the fact he had to change the original dates of the tournament from March 25 to 31, to April 1 to 7 to facilitate changes made to the school year by the Ministry of Education were proving to be major challenges.
“We had to push back the dates of the tournament at relatively short notice because we didn’t want to infringe on the school term,” he said.
“But now what has happened is that it is going to finish on a Friday, and there is another major football competition in Trinidad which starts on the following Monday, and there are teams which were planning on playing in both tournaments.”
However, despite these challenges, Lascaris said that from all indications, the competition was still shaping up to be a successful one.
“We are going ahead, and things are looking up. There have been some challenges, but all in all, the 2012 Barbados Cup will continue to be a high-quality tournament.”