Need for talks
A high-ranking official from FIFA believes dialogue between the Barbados Football Association (BFA) and concerned residents living near the Wildey Football AstroTurf can result in a win-win situation for both parties.
In an interview with WEEKENDSPORT while on a visit to Barbados, Gregory Engelbrecht, FIFA’s development manager for the Americas said that throughout the world, football and sporting facilities were constructed in residential areas.
“I am not familiar exactly with the complaints or expectations that the residents might have but most of these types of facilities are within residential areas . . . ,” he said.
“And when youth are involved, having this facility actually is better than having some dark corners where people gather and where the neighbourhood become unsafe.”
Engelbrecht said the BFA’s artificial turf was situated in a location within the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex where several other sports such as hockey, basketball, swimming and tennis take place.
“This is an open space where the people are practising sports. It is a structured sport and is well managed by the federation. The community around the facility can also look forward to having some healthy activities going on which should normally enhance the area and not have a situation which they do not desire,” he said.
However, the Aruba-born Engelbretch, who was accompanied by FIFA’s Development Officer for the Southern Caribbean, Jamaican Howard McIntosh, urged the BFA?to speak with the residents as he anticipated that they would embrace the facility.
“I would say that the [BFA], of course, has to communicate with the residents and on the other hand, they should embrace it because the facility is being done in a professional manner,” he said.
“They [BFA] are trying to develop it, to have proper fields and proper offices and it is going to be a professional environment, so that means it will also fit within and probably also enhance the area. If you look around, I think at some point this facility will be the most developed one in this area where there are more sporting facilities.”