ABFA Rates ARG The Best Venue Football Despite Yearly Challenges

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By Neto Baptiste

Despite the installation of lights and some seating at its training and technical centre located in Paynters, the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) said the Antigua Recreation Grounds (ARG) will remain its primary venue for top flight football.

This is according to the General Secretary, Rohan Hector, who said the Goal Project will be at a suitable stage ahead of the 2020/2021 season and should be able to host some matches if necessary, at the start of future domestic competitions.

“We will have an alternative by next year [2020/2021] and not an alternative that we intend to move completely out of there [ARG] because we have a long term lease, and we believe the ARG is the best location for football at that level but when there are interruptions we can use our facility in the interim. We have invested a significant sum [in the ARG], over EC $100,000,” he said.

The football association, over the past years, has been forced to start its Premier Division at a much later date than normal owing to issues related to the quality of the surface at the ARG following the annual Carnival celebrations.

The Everton Gonsalves-led administration has often come under fire for not considering the preparation of an alternative venue given the norm with the ARG following the annual festivities.

Hector however reminded that there are several factors which contribute to the ARG being the ideal venue for football.

“There are several factors you have to consider about the ARG, and one is that it is the prime location in the city for all to access where football can be seen with the elements that are required to have a good league running and not only the lights, but the quality of the field, the stands, the locker rooms, there is nowhere else currently on the island that could host a game other than the stadium [Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground],” the GS said.

The 2019/20 league started on October 26th last year following extensive work on the field after chipping [small stones] were placed on several areas of the turf during the Carnival celebrations. Some clubs have complained that stones left on the field remain a hazard for players.

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