ABFA’s Coates To Involve FIFA Over Fight Against Alleged Constitutional Breaches

ABFA floor member and presidential hopeful Barbara Coates (left) with FIFA president Gianni Infantino at a past conference.
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By Neto Baptiste 

Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) presidential hopeful, Barbara Coates, will be writing to regional and international governing bodies regarding the recent appointments of Sowerby Gomes and Kelesha Antoine as football technical director and referee department head, respectively. 

Coates made the disclosure while speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, stating that she will write to Caribbean Football Union (CFU), Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football​ (CONCACAF) and Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), should president of the local FA, Everton Gonsalves, does not rescind the decision. 

“There’s CFU, CONCACAF and FIFA because we have to report this because this is repeatedly happening and that is exactly why I am running. I am saying that the lack of professionalism, the lack of communication, the lack of utilizing the resources that are there because there are nine members on the executive and article 35 [of the constitution] speaks to that where no debate can be valid unless five of the nine members are there,” she said. 

“The constant abuse of the constitution then we probably should just throw away the constitution if we are not going to use it,” she added. 

Coates, who is currently a floor member of the ABFA, wrote to Gonsalves last week giving him 24 hours to retract the decision which she said is unconstitutional and comes at a time when the main focus should be on hosting the elections. 

The lone presidential challenger thus far, Coates made it clear that her actions are in no way, a personal attack on the selected individuals but rather a response to what she calls an abuse of power by Gonsalves. 

“Both of those persons come highly recommended with their qualifications so that is not an issue at all for me and in their personal persona, we know what they are capable of. The process, as I’ve always said from January when I started is how the president [Everton Gonsalves] proceeds and how he does things without any respect or disregard for the process so what I’ve stated very clearly from day one, is the process, the abuse of the constitution. Things are not happening the way they ought to happen,” she said. 

If successful at becoming the next president of the ABFA and the matter remained unresolved, Coates said should seek to involve both her elected executive and FIFA as to the way forward. 

“We would have to look at it, seek guidance from FIFA because I am going to be writing to them and ask them how to approach it because everything is very different and Barbara is not going to be making any decisions on her own. It has to be a collective decision that is made so we’d have to seek further guidance from FIFA,” she said. 

The appointment of both Gomes and Antoine were announced by the ABFA last Friday. The association was due to have constitutionally due elections in May this year but the electoral congress was postponed to an unnamed date due to COVID 19 restrictions on gatherings. 

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