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Lucrative LIME Pelican off

Ezra Stuart

Lucrative LIME Pelican off

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Barbados’ richest football tournament, the LIME/Pelican Challenge, won’t be kicking off this year.

Tournament coordinator Randy Harris told the WEEKEND NATION yesterday that the unavailability of the National Stadium has forced organisers, Pelican Ventures Limited, to forego this year’s edition of the popular event.

“We have received a letter from the National Sports Council (NSC) stating that some work is scheduled to be done on the field and that work is starting during the time that we usually stage the tournament,” Harris said.

When contacted yesterday, the NSC’s acting director of sport, Neil Murrell said a decision was made earlier in the year to regrade the outfield at the stadium following some negative feedback from visiting international football officials.

“If you remember, we had received some lashes [from CONCACAF and Jamaican football officials] about the state of the field and a decision was taken since April to do something about it, but we were waiting until after August when all the Crop Over events were completed,” Murrell said.

Harris ruled out Kensington Oval, which had hosted the first two finals of the tournament, as an alternative venue for staging the tournament, which usually starts late September or early October, because of a number of factors.

Kensington is a cricket venue and whenever there is cricket, they need to have two weeks before to prepare the pitch, so we can’t play with that kind of uncertainty. In addition, Kensington is a very expensive venue,” he said.

“So there is no proper facility to play the LIME Pelican where we collect gate receipts,” he added.

Harris said since a meeting with the owners of the franchises is slated for Monday, he couldn’t go into full details.

“But we are looking at doing other things. Those things will be discussed on Monday,” he added.

Harris, who is also president of the Barbados Football Association, said one of the goals of the tournament, was to provide remuneration for players.

“We think that it is important to assist the footballers financially before the Christmas period comes in,” he said.

The tournament, which began in 2011, offered a first prize of $100 000 during each of the three years it was contested. There were also lucrative individual prizes for players and spectators.

Bajan Pride won in the inaugural year, followed by Akademiks in 2012 and L.G. Strike Force last year.