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FIFA in B’dos

RACHELLE AGARD, [email protected]

FIFA in B’dos

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BARBADOS now has something else to shout about.

FIFA’s regional office opened its doors yesterday following the official opening of their headquarters at Welches, Christ Church in a small inauguration ceremony, including FIFA director member association and development Veron Mosengo-Omba, CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani, new Minister of Sports John King, presidents of 22 member associations throughout the region CFU nations, and football legends Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy, among others.

While the office was set to open December last year, the inauguration was delayed as a result of some logistical issues. However, regional office manager Grenadian Marlon Glean, who will head the Barbados office, and his staff have been operational since September 2017.

King, in his brief remarks, pledged the Government’s support for the game.

“Football has been the passion of this country and the region for a very long time. To have FIFA bring their regional office here is really exciting times for us in Barbados. We look forward to working with you, and you have my assurance that whatever is needed; our Government will be there to walk with you hand in hand to improve the standards across the Caribbean,” he said.

He added that he was looking forward to seeing the region challenging in major competitions.

“I really do look forward to seeing territories like Barbados, Grenada and St Vincent really challenging the rest of the world in the coming World Cups, and I think this is going to be the beginning of it, and I think we would have a very fruitful relationship,” he said.

Explaining the CONCACAF vision had shown family above all would get them through Montagliani, said football lived here in Barbados, in the Caribbean, and above all football lived in CONCACAF, and that relationship would see the organisation through to where they needed to be.

“As FIFA has seen, CONCACAF has become a model for football globally, in that we have put football first. Not only have we put football first, but above all . . . . what is most important in CONCACAF is family. The FIFA office in our region will integrate, not only with our member associations, but also our regional office out of Kingston, Jamaica, and also with our main office in Miami,” he said.

Meanwhile, FIFA’s general secretary of two years, Fatma Samoura, noted the establishment of regional offices was the centrepiece of the FIFA Forward programme internationally.

“They are FIFA presence on the ground where projects become a complete reality. The Bridgetown office is a new home for this region’s football development . . . .This regional office is a fundamental part of the development of football,” she said. (RA)