FIFA gives BFA nod to build
The new home of football in Barbados is far from ready, but construction of two more sections now appears closer.
The DAILY NATION can reveal today that the Barbados Football Association (BFA) has finally been given the green light by world governing body FIFA, to construct an administrative building and seating area at their facility in Wildey, St Michael.
The seating component for the facility is expected to provide comfortable seats for between 6 000 and 7 000 patrons and may be ready for the kick-off of the 2015 season next March.
The administrative building, which is expected to start within the next three weeks, will include offices, a gym and a training room for all national team members to use. That should be completed before year-end, finally allowing the BFA staff to move into a new home, away from its temporary offices in Fontabelle, St Michael.
President of the BFA, Randy Harris, told the DAILY NATION that FIFA had recently approved financing for the construction of the seating area, and it was now left for the designed plans to be approved by the Town and Country Planning Department.
“We were given permission to build as part of FIFA’s Income Generation Project but we expect that approval from the planning department to take a little time before the construction of the seating area is started, but we are hoping it will begin sometime this year,” an optimistic Harris said yesterday.
“We are satisfied we have followed all the necessary regulations and we don’t foresee any problems with planning permission being granted.”
In the meantime the cash-strapped association continues to have to spend large amounts of money on rent and electricity costs at the National Stadium to ensure smooth running of its Digicel Premier League tournament. Harris said that every night Premier League football is played at the stadium it costs the BFA more than $1 500.
In addition, extra costs associated with the use of portable lighting fixtures which are moved around to particular grounds for the Banks Division 1 tournament have to be taken into consideration.
Harris noted that when the BFA headquarters are completed, the association would be in a better position to control and improve the financial situation.
The facility will be in for a special guest today, when president of the United European Football Associations (UEFA), Michel Platini, is given a special tour.
Platini, the legendary French player, arrived in Barbados last night along with Jeff Webb, president of the regional governing body CONCACAF, for a one-day trip to meet with Harris and other BFA officials.
The pair arrived at the Grantley Adams International Airport by private jet and were met by Harris, but were not available for interviews.
The BFA has been in the red for the past couple of years, and is actually awaiting a FIFA-mandated audit, after a number of financial irregularities had been identified earlier this year.
Harris, in his first term as BFA president, has constantly said his administration has nothing to hide.