Barbados’ football is set to get some global goals at monthend when world governing body FIFA officially opens its regional development headquarters on May 29 in Welches, Christ Church.
This development, according to president of the Barbados Football Association, Randy Harris, who also heads the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), is a major milestone for the Caribbean.
A voice at FIFA
“This is significant for the region. What this does for the Caribbean is to give us a voice at FIFA,” Harris told Weekend Sport yesterday at the Savannah Hotel after attending the signing of an agreement between SportsMax and the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation to televise the World Cup football finals from Russia.
The FIFA office will be run by its regional development manager Marlon Glean, a Grenada-born attorney-at-law, and will be well staffed with a full complement of development officers.
“It gives the current staff an opportunity to learn more about the Caribbean and vagaries and things that are affecting our football in terms of lack of training, not only in the technical area but also for administration,” Harris said.
“We have had some serious problems over the last six years or so, and we are looking to rebuild the integrity of this region,” he added.
Barbados’ tourism product should benefit significantly from having the FIFA office stationed in the country as most of the quarterly meetings of the 21-member football associations in the Caribbean are expected to be held here.
Harris, who took over as CFU president last year, revealed that body had devised a strategic plan for the next four years.
“We have an administrator for the plan and what we want to do is to really unite the Caribbean in football, to help each other in terms of looking at international competitions where three or four countries can host one team and share costs,” Harris explained.
The long-serving football administrator, who is also a FIFA match commissioner, said financial management will be critical.
“We are looking at lifting the standard of our administration in terms of marketing, promotion of the game in the Caribbean and also the way that we handle our finances.
“We are getting significant funds through the FIFA Forward programme and also from CONCACAF and we also have to be able manage those funds carefully so that there will be no doubts where the benefits for the game will be in the Caribbean,” he stressed.
US$1.25 million funding
In addition to yearly grants, every football association in the world can receive up to US$1.25 million per year or US$5 million over a four-year cycle.
“We really look forward to some serious assistance from FIFA,” noted Harris.
Harris further said that as CFU president, his interest was in ensuring the standard of football and the participation of the people of the region in the game are improved.
“I know that not only the region, but of course Barbados, would be part of that membership and they would benefit from anything that we do to help improve on the standard of the game in the region,” he said. (EZS)