The recent opening of a FIFA Regional Development office on the island has elevated Barbados to the central administrative point for growth of the game in the Caribbean.
FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura, said that the May 29 opening of this facility — attended by Caribbean stars such as Dwight Yorke — in the parish of Christ Church makes Barbados the new home for this region’s football expansion, “this regional office is a fundamental part of the development of football.”
This office, which will coordinate football training and building activities of all 31 Caribbean FIFA member countries, is part of the football organization’s worldwide two-year-old game improvement initiative, dubbed ‘FIFA Forward’ programme.
The world body for football describes ‘FIFA Forward’ as “a step change for global football development and the way we share the success of the FIFA World Cup with our member associations.”
According to that organization, “it is built on three principles to provide 360-degree, tailor-made support for football development in each of our member associations and the six confederations: more investment, more impact, more oversight.”
“The aim is to improve the way we develop and support football across the globe, so that the sport can reach its potential in every nation and so that everyone that wants to take part can do so without barriers,” FIFA states.
At the opening of the Barbados office last month Samoura described it as, “a place to change the face of football development for the better. To invest much more than ever and to increase efficiency and oversight.”
“The development of offices like this one today [forms] the centre piece of the ‘Forward’ Programme’ machinery. We have the FIFA presence on the ground where projects become a complete reality.
“From today on, the qualified professionals working here are the trustees of the enormous potential to develop the game It is up them to provide support and expertise and I have no doubt this means that the potential is in very good hands,” she said.
Placement of the Caribbean football development office in Barbados naturally pleased the island’s new Sports Minister, John King.
Noting that “football has been a passion of this country and I could say the region for a very long time,” King said “to have FIFA bring your regional office here is really exciting times for us in Barbados. We look forward to working with you and you have my assurance that whatever is needed, our government will be there to walk with you hand in hand, to improve the standards across the Caribbean.”
Barbados Football Association president, Randy Harris, who is also now in charge of the Caribbean Football Union, foresees much benefit emanating from this office across the region.
“I believe that if we operate as a united front, we will get more done because we will make things easier for each other.”
“This office is the beginning of the region going to another standard when it comes to the game.”
Only Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago have made meaningful marks on the world stage of football for this region, so much hope rests in this office to develop and expand the game towards the Caribbean producing more world-noted national teams.
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