Football Member Associations (MA) from the English-speaking Caribbean are now better equipped to run the sport as a business.
That is because respective general secretaries and one other senior football executive successfully completed a four-month Caribbean Football Executive Program hosted by FIFA, the International Centre for Sports Studies (CEIS Switzerland) and UWI St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.
During the graduation and closing ceremony at the University Inn and Conference Centre of the University of the West Indies (UWI) St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday, president of the Caribbean Football Union, Randy Harris, encouraged participants of the first graduating cohort to “move our Caribbean football from the pasture to the farm and onto the world scene and amidst the global community and march towards the single market place”.
“You have taken the honorable step to hone your skills in sports administration, understanding a vision that is broader than the confines of your respective Member Associations and instead consider an international scope, sophistication and competency.
“Our region needs an educated and professional cadre of sports administrators to lead the development agenda and to move our Caribbean football from the pasture to the farm and onto the world scene and amidst the global community and march towards the single market place. This time and space, in terms of development and growth of football in our region requires the sensibility and sensitivities of homegrown people with homegrown solutions to issues that have been intrinsically Caribbean issues,” he said.
The course, which began in January, saw 17 of the 22 associations from the English-speaking Caribbean meet every other month at UWI St Augustine, until July, where they completed eight modules in the organization of football, administration and finance, marketing and sponsorship, communication, regulations and procedures, match-day operations, event management, infrastructure facility and safety in four sets of four-day sessions with each module covering two days.
Additionally, Harris, who is also the vice president of Concacaf (Caribbean) and president of the Barbados Football Association said it was time to take football to the next level throughout the region.
“Just as some players move from the region onto the global spotlight, it is conceivable that each of you, if that is your desire, is equipped to climb the ladder to occupy the upper echelons of sports management in major football institutions wherever you are domiciled.
Borrowing a phrase from Black Stalin’s Caribbean Man, Harris emboldened the group to “put one common intention for a better life in this region”.
“When we think of sports, we think of big names and those who grab the headlines, whether countries or players, but do we really stop to reflect on the foundation of which the successes are lodged? It is based on the administrators and officials whose tireless work and abilities allow them to flourish. To borrow a phrase from Black Stalin’s song Caribbean Man, we must put one common intention for a better life in this region”.
“I offer heartiest congratulations to you. I am proud of you all and I am certain your MAs are also proud of you. The future is bright for sports administration and sports administrators in the Caribbean,” he said to thunderous applause.
He also thanked FIFA, UWI and CEIS for the program “for the commitment to this much needed professional development course that gives the skills in accounting, finance, communication, project management, event management, marketing and more. I also want to commend everyone who has seen it fit to stay the course and to avail themselves of the knowledge”.
Similarly, Director of Member Associations Africa and Caribbean Region, Veron Mosengo-Omba, praised the collaboration between FIFA, UWI and CIES and the MAs for staying the course.
He added that FIFA would be looking to replicate the same program in different languages for other MAs to be implemented throughout the African territories so other associations could benefit.