Caribbean pro football coming

Caribbean Football Union President, Randy Harris.
Photo by George Alleyne

CONCACAF now has a working group set to format and structure a regional professional football league that should kick off in the Caribbean and the north and central American zones shortly after the Coronavirus, COVID-19, world pandemic ends.

Mexico’s FA president, Yon de Luisa, is chairing the working group and Barbados Football Association and Caribbean Football Union (CFU) President, Randy Harris, is the deputy chair.

CONCACAF, Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association Football, comprises 41 member nations of which 28 are from the geographical Caribbean, though three South American nations identify as Caribbean taking that CFU grouping’s total to 31; seven are from Central America; and three are North American.

CONCACAF President, Canadian Victor Montagliani, recently stated in a news release from the organisation that that the working group will in a few weeks begin meeting with no preconceived ideas, “it’s a blank slate.”

“Sustainability will also be a key issue and while the league will potentially be supported by CONCACAF and FIFA funds, the objective is for it to make and then live off its own business case, he said, adding, “it needs to be properly thought [out] and planned otherwise it won’t be sustainable.”

CFU’s Harris, who is also a CONCACAF vice-president, sounded all gung-ho for it during an interview with the Barbados Nation newspaper. “It is obvious that the time has come for the Caribbean nations to be playing professional football because what we are doing at this time is playing as amateurs against professional football players representing their countries.”

“As soon as we have a hand on the pandemic we will start to get together to look at the ways that we can put it into existence,” he said.

“I think that if we can make it possible for the players to benefit from the game, the whole mind-set of how people view the game in the region will change.”

Harris said that under a pro league Caribbean footballers will be making a living from the game, so “we have to look at developing our players in a different way so that they would have the necessary skills to fit in a professional environment. Most of the time we have players who are very talented with skills but they don’t have the knowledge of what it takes to be professional.”

Other working group members are former Trinidad and Tobago sports minister, Brent Sancho; Patrick Massenat of Haiti; Manuel Estrella, the Dominican Republic; Valdemar Florentino Marcha, Curacao; Christopher Samuda, Jamaica, and a FIFA representative.

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