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by DAVID HINDS
BARBADOS is on the threshold of drawing down $800 000 to start development of a world-class football facility at Wildey, St Michael, including a stadium to seat more than 7 000 spectators.

President of the Barbados Football Association (BFA), Ronald Jones, said this week his association stood ready to get the wheels in motion for when the funds became available at the end of the World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

Under its Goal Project, FIFA, football’s world governing body, makes funds available to member associations for the sport’s development. In the Caribbean so far, Antigua, Bahamas, Jamaica, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Montserrat, and Trinidad and Tobago have, in total, benefited to the tune of more than $20 million.

In all these projects, respective governments and the private sector have contributed, and local authorities are expected to go this route as well.

“At the end of the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, FIFA’s Goal Project Committee will meet and discussions will include whether Barbados is able to qualify for the US$400 000 in funding,” said Jones.“We have been assured by FIFA members of the Goal Committee that based on the quality of our presentation it should not be a problem.

“That money, I must point out, is for the development of infrastructure, administration and training facilities, not for local clubs.”

The funding would go a long way in allowing the BFA to start full-scale construction of the long-awaited facility at Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.

The WEEKEND NATION understands that since May 9, architectural plans had been completed by a local firm. The structure will consist of a full-scale international-size playing field, equipped with the latest technology and requirements for the game.

It will be a circular arena similar to those in use at the 2002 World Cup, furnished with Press boxes, dressing rooms, training facilities, medical rooms, administrative offices, conference/seminar rooms and other features in a three-storey building.

“We have to meet with the Minister of Sport [Rudolph Greenidge] shortly and show him what we have in mind,” Jones added. “The project will not only require funds from FIFA but local and international support.

“We had identified areas to FIFA which we considered important to Barbados’ development like a technical director, development of the Wildey area and training, to name a few.”

The BFA said the cost of overall development of the 2.4231 hectares could not be established until a quantity surveyor was appointed. The project is expected to take two years.

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