February 17, 2006

Leacock: All of a sudden … they can have a field?


President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF), St. Claire Leacock has described the recent development plans proposed for the Buccament Bay Playing Field as “blatantly disrespectful, insensitive and irresponsible”.

His comments are in direct response to the announcement last week that the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association has been granted the right to that field for infrastructural development.{{more}}

Leacock is incensed that his organisation had made similar overtures to government to acquire “A Home for Football”, but has met with a brick wall of resistance.

He recounted the several proposals made by the SVGFF to have the Campden Park Playing Field leased to facilitate the process.

“Harold Taylor came here twice, once as CFU General Secretary and as FIFA Development Officer to assist the federation in acquiring a ground so that we can go ahead with our Goal Project”, he recalled.

“Instead, the management of the Sports Council responded in a nasty way to our request,” Leacock claimed.

“We sought the intervention of (Douglas) Slater, the area representative for his support, but he too was negative,” Leacock said.

Leacock, an Opposition Senator, has used every opportunity in political circles to ventilate the Federation’s desire to get a home for football.

This issue has assumed political significance as it has often come up for discussion in this country’s parliament.

The SVGFF has at its disposal on request from football governing body FIFA, US $800,000, as monies for infrastructural projects named Goal One and Goal Two.

The SVGFF has identified the development of a football arena as its project. While this country is yet to get off the mark with Goal One, Jamaica has completed Goal Two.

Leacock disclosed that Maxim James, manager of the senior national football team, ‘Vincy Heat’, has been assigned to the project to help fast track the process.

“What makes it so that all of a sudden that they (Cricket Association) can have a field?” Leacock questioned.

The cricket association was last week the recipient of US$100,000 as start up money for this country’s participation in the Stanford 20/20 competition beginning in July of this year.

Leacock is contending that there is open bias shown to cricket.

“The support that is being demonstrated to cricket is not shown for football,” he opined.

Forthright in his stance, Leacock said that with the provisions made for World Cup Cricket next year, where several fields will be out of commission, “no alternative plans are in place for football.”

He alluded to the present impasse between the NSC and the South Leeward Football League over the use of the Campden Park Playing Field, to strengthen the case.

In true militant style, Leacock said that his organisation would not give up the fight.

“We are not giving up, we are going to continue to impress on government our position,” he said forcefully.

He is banking on the support of affiliate clubs, leagues and the football-loving public to assist in the crusade.

Leacock is still hopeful that his latest effort to acquire Victoria Park will come to fruition.

“We are on the brink of losing the funds, if we do not get a suitable flat piece of land soon to lease”, Leacock revealed.

But he disclosed that his executive has an alternative plan.

Leacock said that the building of an “Office Complex” is the federation’s next best option.