The Grenada Football Association (GFA) is still heavily indebted and pointed fingers at former President Ashley “Ram” Folkes as being partly liable for it’s financial predicament.
The Association’s President, Cheney Joseph told the media last week that GFA owes creditors in excess of $880,000.00 but is hopeful that monies projected to be collected from FIFA, the world governing body after the World Cup now on in Brazil should be enough to clean the slate.
He said that although the local football body was severely criticised for its investment in women’s football last year to the tune of over $418,000.00, he is more concerned about monies owed to Folkes in the region of $140,000.00.
“The unfortunate situation of the GFA owing a former GFA President is one that I hope would never happen – they (GFA) would never be able to owe me that money,” Joseph told reporters.
Folkes, the current Acting Commissioner of Prisons, is believed to have used some of his own funds to underwrite a number of football related activities involving GFA.
Apart from Folkes and women’s football, the organisation owes $123,000.00 to clubs and referees.
Joseph has defended the hundreds of thousands of dollars invested into promoting women football on the island.
“I have no regret in the investment we placed in women football last year, so while some people would see it as $418,000.00 invested in women football it is $418,000.00 in a worthy cause. … If they ask me to do women’s football again I would do it 10 more times,” he said.
The GFA boss referred to the accomplishment regarding the finalising of a licence and lease agreement with FIFA, which gives GFA the authority to have football, related activities in Fond playing field in St Patrick for a 30-year period under a FIFA Special Project.
Joseph said the agreement provides for the improvement of the facility in areas such as lighting for night games, as well as providing proper seating, constructing of bathroom and toilet facilities and changing rooms.
In addition, the agreement also provides additional opportunities for other sporting activities to take place at the facility such as athletics and cricket.
The GFA/FIFA Lease agreement, which falls under the FIFA Gold Project, gives the GFA rights to an area of land at Queen’s Park for a 30-year period to construct a permanent administrative building for the local football fraternity.
Joseph disclosed that the two-floor building to be erected should be approximately 6,025 sq ft in size and should contain a conference room, cafeteria, administrative offices, including an office for the GFA President and the General Secretary.
The GFA president said he hopes both the Fond upgrade and the GFA Headquarters construction can begin at the same time.
Both projects are valued at US$500,000.00 each.
According to Joseph, government has agreed to grant the GFA 100% concession on material to be used on the projects.
Meanwhile, GFA is contemplating the hosting of at least one major football tournament in Grenada for the first time.
Joseph said that the association received an invitation from CONCACAF to bid for games to be held from 2014 to 2020.
He stated that the GFA governing body will discuss the invitation if it becomes a reality it will be the first time that Grenada will host a major CONCACAF finals
Some of the games to be considered under the tournament are the CONCACAF Women’s Final, the CONCACAF U-17 Final, CONCACAF U-20 Finals, CONCACAF Club Championship and CONCACAF Beach Soccer.
The GFA needs to indicate by June 25 their interest in bidding for the tournaments to be held in September.
The local football boss indicated that if the tournaments are hosted in Grenada, they could provide a once in a lifetime opportunity for all Grenadians.
Joseph also announced that for the first time in history, four female match officials – two referees and two assistant referees – would travel to the Cayman Islands in August to participate in the inaugural CONCACAF U-15 Girls Tournament.
They are Asha Wellington and Rockell Hood while the assistant referees have been named as Tia Mc Intosh and Vena Wilson.
GFA also plans to institute a ticketing system, which can generate revenue for the Association through events held at the National Stadium through specific seating arrangements.