On Target
November 8, 2013
National Club Championships – another football debacle

Nothing much can be said about the current National Football Club Championships, other than there are some matches that are being played.{{more}}

And to put it mildly, it is a debacle and shambolic.

The calamitous championships, which got started in September, have been riddled with issues, further magnified with general disinterest all round.

Evidently, there are too few match officials; there is poor organizing; there is an absence of any semblance of public relations and no hype. Hence, the championships are just meandering as the days go by.

Whilst the responsibility remains with the various club teams to show up and play, sadly, much of the blame must fall into the laps of the organizing committee of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation.

Pathetically, no guidance can be found from the local parent body, as to the show of efficiency of conducting competitions.

Therefore, teams turn up to venues and there are no officials. In one case, there were no match balls available.

Also, in some cases, teams are present, only to have another sporting discipline using the facilities at the same venue, with no communication to them.

Similarly, there is no communication through the local media of the matches, far less their results. Not even from the secretariat can members of the media get information on points standings and the like. In fact, there are persons in the media who are not even aware that the championships are ongoing.

Adding to the fiasco, some of the venues are not properly marked; the grass is sometimes uncut.

And, most visible and instructive of all, is the fact that none of the many elected members of the executive find the championships good enough for them to make an appearance at some of the matches. In essence, they too are not interested, hence the rub off effect on the teams and club themselves.

By their own admission of guilt by lack of effort, they have no credence in the championships.

Contrast this with the national inter community league competition, where the same executive members are busybodies and ensure that they show up at the Victoria Park and get the public viewing and status acceptance that they so crave. Maybe the executive members are more consumed with their status and their positions at this time of turmoil within their ranks.

But taking a closer look at some of the teething issues, especially that of the sometimes no show of match officials, could it be that the referees are peeved that they were not even considered to be part of the FIFA trophy tour held last month?

The organizing committee must ask why do the same officials prefer to lend their services to other competitions rather than the premier club competition in St Vincent and the Grenadines; the same way players make themselves available for other competitions, including village leagues and the firms’ competition. It is not the lack of loyalty to their club/ teams, but a direct response to the malaise that has immersed the championships.

Likewise, has the executive been so far able to lock down the sponsorship deal with the National Lotteries Authority? If so, what are the terms and conditions? If not, why have they been unable so to do?

So, the continuum is consequential, as the mounting of woes has led to an obvious substandard display on the field. To put it bluntly, there is no standard which befits the best this country’s football stock has to offer at the national club level. The first division is also even more farcical; it will be a travesty to have such teams promoted to the premier division.

So, national football now finds itself in a quandary, as it will be foolhardy to abandon the championships.

Inspiring public attraction to the championships will be one that is beyond the capabilities of the organisers, as acceptance of this form of national competition is in not in the psyche of the general sport loving Vincentian populace. Not even those who see sports as a vent for going outdoors and recreation.

The best alternative at this juncture is to give the championships a break and hope that come January in the new year, there will be a resurgence in the sport as the overkill of too much football would have worn off.