On Target
November 25, 2022
A call getting louder and louder

The need for a place to call a permanent arena for the hosting of local, regional and international Football matches, is getting louder and louder.

This call has risen to a bellowing over time, and now more than ever, the actions towards its realization must be accelerated at the rate of knots.

Presently, the premier Football competition here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, the National Club Championships is getting a hit, simply because the organisers, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation does not have any direct hold on the various facilities.

As a consequence, the Tournaments Committee cannot plan the National Club Championships in a definitive manner, often obstructed by the decisions of the custodians of the playing fields, namely, the National Sports Council (NSC) and the National Lotteries Authority (NLA).

These two statutory bodies, despite being primarily buffers and partners for sports in the country, also have a commercial component, hence, they have  to devise ways to maintain an income stream.

Often times, when there is competition for facilities under the two entities, sports is the first choice to  become the sacrificial lamb, as other events are preferred , simply because revenue to the NLA and the NSC takes priority.

So national Football, more than any other discipline suffers the brunt of the disappointment. 

As it stands it is always ify-ify in the Championships as shifts in the fixtures are common occurrences. 

Then there are the regular decisions made by the respective authorities to call off matches, in light of “protecting” the surfaces. Whilst one agrees that our playing fields are to preserved as best in the prevailing circumstances, it is also noteworthy that some of the decisions are premature and unfounded.

It goes without saying that this type of uncertainty does not augur well for long range planning and marketing of the Championships. 

The ball then is in the court of the hierarchy of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation’s executive, to feversishly pursue getting a venue to call home.

For too long Football, and more so, the National Club Championships have been at the bitter end of authorities, as the governing body of the sport has to more or less condescend at times.

However, this is not withstanding that the NLA and the NSC and the SVGFF have, over the years, had a relationship that is more than cordial.

It therefore behooves the national Football body, to redouble its efforts and devise some means to have playing facility, whereby they would have preferential access.

Furthermore, that facility must be an all weather one, as we have to keep with the trend and make provisions for the inevitable changes in the weather patterns.
Yes, the debates, the promises, the manoeuvrers and the other shenanigans have all been well publicized.

Critically, for those who follow the sport, all have given their stamp of approval, as they see having a Home as vital for the overall development of Football.
But for many, the wait has been too protracted such that the realities are seemingly losing fruition.

However, it does not rule out the fact that there has to be some assurance, some stability when it comes to hosting matches in the SVGFF’s flagship competitions.
To mamixise and realise local Football’s potentials, needs more than just piece meal response to the National Championships.

Football, like other sporting disciplines continues to grow in stature, public appeal and commoditization.

In the case of our Club Championships, the world now has access to the matches played at the Victoria Park, via livestreaming. Indeed, there is a good fillip for the marketing of our product, hence we have to equally ensure that championships flow with minimal interruptions.

We are on to something new, something exciting as the premier division clubs have set the pace; they are showing the way forward with their internal organisation and presentation.

The rest is left to the policy makers of the sport, the political directorate and other stakeholders to fast track the process.

We cannot have lofty ambitions, yet pussy footing on matters as important as having a permanent venue for the hosting of Football matches of different levels, but which has faced inordinate and protracted delays.