FIFA Cash Windfall Coming

Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (Cana) - CONCACAF's president, Austin "Jack" Warner says from January 5, 1999, the world governing body of football, FIFA will begin disbursing a US 10 million grant to its Caribbean affiliates.

Speaking to reporters here Sunday after delivering the feature address at the opening of the Barbados Football Association's 1997 domestic season, Warner said each affiliated regional federation will receive one million dollars.

"The only hurdle is that FIFA has to decide, based on our recommendation how the money must be given," said Warner noting he has proposed that the money be disbursed in four quarters.

"If the money is given in one lump sum, it could be badly spent. My proposal is that before the second quarter is given, have an audit on what is done with the first quarter.

"But we have to determine in what form and then also we have to set mechanism in place to make sure it is well spent...each country gets one million dollars US," added Warner, who is also president of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU).

Warner listed administration, technical development, refereeing, youth and women's football as the priority areas on CONCACAF's agenda for regional bodies.

"Many members look towards getting the money for infrastructure and development...But the feeling is that sort of development should be given by the governments and, or business people and the money be spent on making the football facilities better," said Warner.

"If we had the money in the Caribbean, we could have done the things which, of course, the US is doing right now. Just seven years ago, any Caribbean team could have beaten the US (United States), anyone but seven years after, look how far they are from where we are.

"It is because they have invested their money wisely. Of course, it is not to say we can't use the money for the infrastructure but you must spend money on administration and technical development," advised Warner.

Looking ahead to the World under-17 youth championship in Trinidad and Tobago 2001, Warner said he wants to see a change in associations' attitude to youth football, which he noted is often neglected.

"It means that members, right now, will have to have an under- 13 programme, under-11 and under-15 programmes. That
(youth) is an area of football where no money is made.

"That is the area which is often neglected because of the expenses and lack of income. Therefore, you have to use the money to assist in that area of development," said Warner.

"In this region, far too often we put our best coaches for our senior teams, it should be reversed. Our best coaches should be with our youth teams. If it means that we have to bring coaches for courses with the funding, then do that," charged Warner.

"It is costly but it is the only way we can help to build for the future," added Warner.