BFA needs new business model
The Barbados Football Association’s (BFA) version of the financial cliff is a reality.
The depths of it seem to be enormous based on recent media reports.
There is a problem and it’s up to the association’s executive to find a solution.
With God at the helm all things are possible, so I believe it is possible for them to deal with the crisis now facing them.
In fact, the current situation should be seen as more of a challenge than a mountain they cannot scale.
If they feel as I do, the association should seize the opportunity to redefine its approach to fundraising in order to bring them out of the hole.
On economies of scale, anytime a local sporting organization has a deficit of more than $200 000, we can safely say the BFA is in trouble not only to the point that it might struggle to close the gap but it will also have problems funding its normal programmes and maintaining harmonious relations with clubs under its umbrella.
In the BFA’s case, we can see why the question of paying clubs prize money has been an issue. This has come about because there isn’t sufficient money in the kitty to foot the bill. I get the impression that the clubs will insist on being paid because, after all, it was part of the playing conditions for last year’s competition. They want their expectations to be met.
It will take a great degree of statesmanship and diplomacy to make them change their stance but even if they decide to be paid next year as has been requested, it means that the association could still find itself swimming in deep fiscal waters because they would be looking at two sets of prize money.
Lest we forget, the association’s mandate goes beyond prize money. It extends to developmental areas like supporting all national teams, competitions and training programmes among others.
Given that fairy godparents are in short supply, associations normally have to devise ways to get funding on their own.
The BFA is blessed to some extent in this respect because it receives half-a-million dollars every year from its parent, FIFA, the world governing body for football.
The problem for it this year is that it won’t be getting close to that sum because it requested and received an advance last year and that has aggravated the current situation.
This brings me back to my original point. The association’s executive will have to mastermind a way of raising enough funding to bridge the gap. Gone are the days when only raffles, fish fries and fetes can be considered as meaningful ways of doing such.
The truth is that organizations like the BFA with the size of their various competitions and developmental programmes, need a multi-million dollar budget to achieve their annual goals.
In this regard, they need an arm in their organizational set up to deal exclusively with these matters if they take their mandate seriously. This is no longer a task to be undertaken by amateurs or part-timers.
My suggestion might be seen at best as idealistic because we have not yet created a national mindset of taking sport to a different level, so the next best thing in my opinion is for associations like the BFA to employ the services of marketing professionals to sell their product to their clients.
An organization over 100 years old must have self-respect and should not be seen going cap in hand to get out of financial trouble.
I honestly think that a new way of doing business can prevent the association from falling over the cliff.
• Andi Thornhill is an experienced award-winning freelance sports journalist.