Sports — 24 January 2014 — by Charles X

Belize District football is presently in shambles, where the administration of the sport is concerned. This was most evident when our National U-16 squad that participated in last November’s UNCAF U-16 tournament at the FFB Stadium in November of last year did not include a single player from Belize District, the media, commercial and population center of the country.

For all intents and purposes, the Belize District Football Association (BDBA) is presently inactive. Various tournaments have been held in the rural (e.g. the Edmund Castro Cup) and in the city, including the Smart 13 & Under tournament and the (open) Belize City Mayor’s Cup, and there was an open female tournament; but these have not been administered by the BDBA, but instead by private individuals. In the case of the female tournament, one former member of the elected BDBA executive was supposed to be in control, and that tournament ran into all kinds of problems and confusion.

There is a desperate need, especially with the FFB now rolling out plans countrywide for youth football development, for the situation to be properly organized in the Belize District, under an officially constituted Belize District Football Association, which can effectively coordinate football activities in the district, and represent the district in communication with the FFB.

The last FFB supervised election for the BDFA was held on Saturday, December 17, 2011, at the CET building on St. Thomas Street in Belize City, and according to the FFB press release of the following Monday, December 20, “Elected to serve in the Belize District FA Executive Committee are the following individuals: Chairman – Floyd Jones; Vice-Chairman – Daniel Smith; Members – Andrew Lamb, Sanjay Pitts, Michelle Novelo.”

That was still under the Bertie Chimilio led FFB (he was replaced by Ruperto Vicente on March 15, 2012). The newly elected BDFA executive was immediately thrown into confusion when Chairman Floyd Jones was forced to resign by the FFB, allegedly due to a Police record. The other members soon dispersed, and since then, only Sanjay Pitts has forwarded himself whenever matters pertaining to the BDFA are addressed by the FFB. But, in actuality, the BDFA remains non-functional.

The latest FFB press release on Youth Football Development is exciting for football on the one hand, but is disconcerting on the other, where Belize District is concerned, because it exposes the fact that we are still not running football in this district on a proper constitutional footing. (See article, “FFB continues launching of Youth Development Program across the country,” elsewhere in this issue.) This has been a sore spot for the present FFB leadership, and something they need to correct. The “committee” appointed by the FFB to be in charge of football in the Belize District consists of individuals known to be involved in football for some time, but what is the structure of that committee, and where does its authority and accountability lie? They need a mandate from football clubs in the city, and they need an organizational structure, or run the risk of assuming a “rubber stamp” role, as in the former appointed district association committees of the past FFB administration.

This is an embarrassment for the Belize District. All other districts have their elected district F.A. executives, but instead we have an FFB appointed Belize “district committee.” The last FFB administration created this mess by destabilizing the executive when they forced out the newly elected chairman in early 2012; but the new FFB administration has allowed this situation to drag on too long. We need to put things back in order in Belize District, which means having a duly elected body with an identified Chairman in charge. Besides, the FFB General Secretary already has his hands full, to have to be also chairing meetings of the Belize “district committee;” and the same with the Premier League General Secretary, who also finds himself named as a member of the Belize “district committee.”

Come on, FFB. Let’s do it right.

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