By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA), Everton Cornelius, said funding for the proper upkeep of the YASCO Sports Complex could be acquired through some of its international partners.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Cornelius said the athletics association has tapped in to these resources in the past and it is possible do so in the future.
“They gave me the difference of the money and I just had to send them all of the documentation to show them exactly what we did with it and they are willing to do that. They are willing to help us along the way in terms of equipment. We can make a case in terms of getting help with maintenance [of YASCO] but to what degree, I don’t really know what amount of money they [World Athletics] would give us but we can ask for help and they would help us as much as they possibly can but it needs to be a combination between us and the government working together and having a clear understanding of where assistance could come from to maintain and upkeep YASCO,” he said.
“We also need to understand that government doesn’t really have a history of maintaining anything and we can’t fool ourselves about that and we have to be very careful as we go forward that there is not too much of a political overtone when it comes to the facility and we miss a lot of things along the way in terms of the help that we can get,” he added.
The final laying of a new and certified Mondo surface has been delayed owing to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Minister of Sports Daryll Matthew, in a recent interview, said he had been in contact with Mondo about possible restart dates but that nothing had been finalised at the time.
Cornelius warned however that for the national association to tap into any form of funding and or grants that could go towards the upkeep of a finished YASCO Sports Complex that the national governing body must be seen to have some form of control over the facility.
“NACAC [North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association] and Word Athletics will not put money into a facility unless it is controlled by athletics in that particular sense and it is not to say that government does not have an involvement because they always have an involvement in any facility they put down in the country. It must appear as though athletics is the one that controls that particular facility and then we can go to them because that is the first question they are going to ask, who controls the facility, and if you say the government then they would say to let the government do what they have to do to it because it is a government facility,” he said. Cornelius and Matthew have publicly disagreed on how the facility is to be managed on its completion. The YASCO Sports Complex has been unusable for several years now and has suffered several setbacks during the ongoing refurbishing process.