Thursday 12 May 2022, 20:00

Barbados upgrades infrastructure thanks to FIFA Forward Programme

  • FIFA Forward Programme has improved existing infrastructure in Barbados

  • Other projects underway to renovate stadium pitches

  • National football at every level set to benefit

While Barbados still has a long way to go to compete with Concacaf's top teams, the country’s football association (BFA) knows that improving the standard of football at all levels there will also require an improvement in its organisation. In this quest, Barbados now has a major asset: the support of the FIFA Forward Programme, designed to provide comprehensive and tailor-made support to each of FIFA's member associations, so that football can reach its potential in each of them.

As early as December 2020, a project to extend the FA’s headquarters was approved. Less than a year later, in September 2021, the work was completed, allowing the association to benefit from more modern infrastructure. Among the improvements were the construction of an additional floor to provide more office space, and a conference room, as well as the development and fit-out of a kitchen. Furthermore, an elevator is to be added soon. This will greatly improve the working conditions of BFA employees, who will be able to focus even more on the management, administration and organisation of national football. Last March, the BFA finalised the process of revising its statutes, initiated with the support of FIFA's Member Associations Division and its Chief Officer Kenny Jean-Marie, who visited the headquarters on 12 May 2022 to see the new facilities.

FIFA Forward in Barbados

New ground and new horizons

Logically, the next step was to improve the actual playing conditions for the national teams. In December 2021, a new project and corresponding investment of USD 315,000 was approved to replace the existing pitch at the national technical centre, and at the stadium where international matches are hosted. The work is scheduled to begin soon, with the necessary equipment and materials already on Barbadian soil. The aim is to stage the national team’s upcoming 2022 matches on a pitch that meets FIFA standards. This project will allow all categories of Barbadian national football to reap the benefits, since the various teams will be able to develop on this new pitch, which will also host club competitions and grassroots football events. The current pitch, installed in 2010, was no longer good enough to obtain FIFA Field Certification, essential for hosting international matches.

The works, including the construction of a new drainage channel, will allow the pitch, the only one on the island approved by Concacaf, to host national team games, as well as those of the Premier League, the country’s national championship. In addition, ancillary facilities, such as lighting, toilets and stands, will benefit from enhanced maintenance. Finally, under the third part of the major improvement plan made possible by the FIFA Forward Programme, FIFA and the BFA have approved a project to construct a multifunctional building, as well as stands, and boxes for guests, VIPs and the media. In total, more than USD 3,000,000 has already been invested in development programmes in Barbados approved by FIFA, including almost 2.3 million for infrastructure, with more than a million USD set to be invested in future projects.