Caribbean countries to benefit from US$10 million FIFA grant

NEW YORK CITY, New York, CMC – Several Caribbean Football Union (CFU) nations are set to benefit from a US$10 million investment in their domestic leagues over the next two years.

CONCACAF, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association, announced in a press release this weekend that the funding has been “tailored to meet the specific needs” of individual member countries, and will help develop the infrastructure in the first division leagues of Barbados, Belize, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago. “This is a dream come true for 11 of our member countries,” said CONCACAF president and FIFA vice-president Jack Warner.

“WIN in CONCACAF with CONCACAF”, as the programme is called, has been devised by FIFA in conjunction with CONCACAF and was approved Friday by the world governing body and Warner.

“The programme will focus on league and club administration; youth development programmes and competitions; referee development and coach education,” the CONCACAF release stated.

In return for FIFA’s investment, participating leagues will have to submit an annual action plan to FIFA, and account for their expenditure of FIFA funds to the world body.

Leagues will also be required to launch measures intended to ensure the sustainability of the benefits secured with FIFA funding, including the development of sponsorships, as well as the securing of television and other media rights in local and overseas markets.

“Meantime, participating clubs will also be required to satisfy specific criteria, including having a constitution and annual report, a registered office, and an existing youth development programme,” said CONCACAF.

The programme will be headed by Keith Look Loy of Trinidad & Tobago and is to be launched on May 11 at the meeting of the CONCACAF Executive Committee in New York City and later in Haiti following the FIFA Congress in the Bahamas on June 1.

“It will surely help to lift the bar of football in these countries,” Warner said.

“My sincere hope is that the governments and business organisations join with us in this FIFA initiative that will take the sport to even greater heights,” added the Trinidad and Tobago football guru.

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