As the Barbados Football Association continues with its mandate to stamp out violence in football and by extension the youth, they’ve added another mantra to their mission.
And according to BFA president Randy Harris, this year all footballers across the island will be kicking for cancer.
“Going forward we expect that every year we will pick something socially to really give support to. Cancer is one of the diseases in Barbados that affects practically every family. We got an offer to assist and we decided we will work with it and hopefully the people will support it,” he said.
While Harris made note of the recent upsurge in violence across the island, he said the rumors of football being a violent game were untrue.
“At this stage, we believe we have to encourage people to come here. Already, I am seeing and hearing persons say football is a game of violence when referring to Barbados. I don’t see how the BFA, or anybody who loves football, can let that myth continue. We have had no incidents at football for quite a while.
“Just to make things clear, yes there have been shootings at games. I don’t know if you realize that that was nearly 20 years ago. These incidents were while football was being played in communities that had no real security or safety barriers. The people who organized them, at that time, believed that they were providing the community with activity that was exciting, wholesome and at the same time providing an avenue to get some extra cash for a number of vendors,” he explained.
Additionally, Harris said if people looked closely, they would realize there were a lot of positives in football.
“When you go out there and spread malicious rumors that football is a game of violence, people believe you because they think that you experience it. You have to support football and young people. That is the main thing. We have to get activity for the young people and football is a good avenue to do this but we need support. We don’t need to be pulled down; a lot of positive things are happening in football. These are things that I want to bring to the public’s attention because we need their support,” he said.
However, in order to do that, the long-standing sports administrator said everyone needed to play their part in developing the game.
“The cries of violence has to stop because football has not had any incidents of violence for over 20 years. If we can forgive the English Premier League who went through a torrid time with real violence where people were destroying towns, if they can get it to a controlled level that it is at now, we in Barbados can do the same.
“We have to show that we are serious about developing football. We are at the same place we were at 25 years ago; only doing things a little bit different. We have a fulltime staff, but as far as football and developing football in this island, we are way back and it is time we need everybody to support football,” he declared.