By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Football Clubs under the umbrella of the BVI Football Association are now moving to comply with a ruling by CONCACAF, that they must be licensed and it will no longer be business as usual.
During a meeting with clubs on January 18, Alfredo Quiroz of the CONCACAF Club Licensing Department, stated that all the member clubs of the BVIFA will have to become licensed.
Quiroz explained that Football is changing and CONCACAF wants to make the game more attractive, as well as more organized from those that run clubs to those that go watch matches. “Going forward, the process will be constantly reviewed and made more challenging as we look to develop stronger structures and levels of control,” Quiroz pointed out.
Moving Football Clubs through the process and falling in line with both FIFA and CONCACAF guidelines, will begin with a national criteria that must be reached by the end of 2017. A more immediate target date for the various stages of completion has been set for March 31.
All Clubs will have to fill out and submit four online documents as well as complete eleven additional criteria, such as naming a head coach, general manager, media, finance and marketing personnel, budgets and various legal documents.
Databases will be built of all CONCACAF’S member clubs and used to create effective tools for planning future competitions, such as the Champions League, where it will now become possible to see at a glance the type of facilities and infrastructure each participating club has.
“Sanctions are yet to be determined for non-compliant clubs,” Quiroz said. “CONCACAF certainly won’t be coming in and saying ‘if you are not licensed, then you cannot play’ but there has to be some incentives to comply.”
The BVIFA office will be the first point of contact to assist the clubs in the process and provide support, but then, once the online forms are submitted a First Instance Body will be set up locally to review the applications and grant licenses. There will also be an appeals body, but according to Quiroz, it is a win win situation and clubs should not be put off by change or in adhering to the new policies and programs implemented by CONCACAF.
“The benefits are for all to see,” he noted. “We will all be doing things a little better step by step, for players, fans and sponsors. It can help identify the need for improvements on and off the field, increase the knowledge of support staff and help everyone understand what we need to do to move forward.”
Currently, the 15 clubs affiliated with the BVIFA who will come in line are: Men: Islanders, Sugar Boys, Rebels, Panthers, Virgin Gorda United, One Love, Old Madrid, Wolues, Lucian Stars, Haitian Stars and Ball Starz.
Women: Lady Panthers, Ball Starz, Avengers, Virgin Gorda United.