KINGSTOWN, ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES – President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Venold Coombs on Saturday 10th March told affiliates that football in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have made many positive strides over the years, but there has been a few blemishes along the way.

He was addressing the Extra-Ordinary Meeting of Affiliates convened to discuss a number of critical matters, among them Football Facilities, the Development of Women in the sport, Tournaments Scheduling and the Calendar for 2018, and the Strategic Plan and Technical Development Plan.

He informed the representatives present that he is not happy with the global ranking of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but this is the way FIFA does it, although there are persons who are not happy with how the rankings are done.

However, CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani said that they have been communicating the importance of developing their own Confederation Ranking Index to better reflect the sporting merit of all Member Associations, including the non-FIFA Members.

(fron left to right) Devron Poyer – General Secretary, Wayde Jackson – Third Vice-president, Otashi Spring – First Vice-president, Venold Coombs – president, and Marvin Fraser – Second Vice-president

This Ranking Index will be constantly updated as our Member Associations’ Men’s National Teams compete in official friendly matches going forward and would be based on a weighted index of results in all official and friendly matches played from 1990 to present day.

In addressing the issue of football facilities, he noted that the Federation now has a building to house its administrative operations, further increasing the assets of the SVGFF, significantly; but needs a home where the talent of the players can be properly developed.

He confirmed to the representatives present that the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has given the land to construct the facility, but there are some negotiations to be done regarding the building which is situated on the Brighton property.

The land which has been given to the SVGFF by the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the old landfill at Sion Hill, about eight acres, but he advised the gathering that there will be studies undertaken before actual construction will commence.

These studies will include environmental and structural, despite the fact that in relation to the land donated to football association in other islands in the region, St. Vincent and the Grenadines got the better deal.

Representatives of the affiliates present had a few concerns and pieces of advice on the Sion Hill project.

They noted that since it is a landfill, there should be a period of time before any construction could be done, and they urged the president to ensure this is done.

Mr. Coombs informed them that all the necessary studies must be done and forwarded to FIFA before the greenlight would be given to commence construction.

One representative told the SVGFF president that a Plan B should be conceived, just in case the experts deem the Sion Hill site unacceptable.

SVGFF president Coombs said that monies have already been allocated for construction of the foundation, adding that in regards to Brighton, “there is no future in Brighton.”

A number of issues were highlighted, among them the damaging of the fence by persons unknown, security, accessibility, and the restrictions on further development of the playing surface to bring it to FIFA mandated standards.

Before the Sion Hill site was looked into, concentration initially was first on Buccament Bay playing field, but resident complained about the possibility of noise pollution in the future.

Then Campden Park was examined as a possible candidate due to its potential, but that too fell through.

The SVGFF president cautioned the affiliates’ representatives that it is imperative that there is a home, not just to develop the talent, but the economic benefits which could be derived from having a playing field of international standards.

The attendant amenities would also allow the clubs to train without facing the problems many encounter today. Unsuitable surfaces, unavailability of playing fields, high cost to use the facilities to host regional and international games, dedicated training facilities for national teams of all levels, and a central facility to train technical officials.

This Mr. Coombs says is a must if football in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is to advance, if the ranking of SVGFF is to improve, and the sport tourism aspect to be enhanced.