Coates defends Wings, calls on ABFA executive to “lead by example”

Football Association floor member and presidential hopeful Barbara Coates (left) is seen with FIFA president Gianni Infantino
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By Carlena Knight

Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) presidential hopeful, Barbara Coates, is defending the CPTSA Wings over rumours that the club in which she is a part of has not held an election in some time.

Coates, while speaking on the Good Morning JoJo Sports show mentioned that she does not see why persons can hold her to task over this matter as she is not the president of the club.

She says that in fact, it should be the ABFA executive itself, under Everton ‘Batow’ Gonslaves, who should “lead by example” in calling the long overdue elections and then ensuring that all the member clubs are up to standard. 

“I am not the president of Wings. I am not even the vice president. Wings is a different makeup, we have four sporting disciplines and we are chairpersons, we just get elected to head the different sporting disciplines. The reality is that we should let the ABFA also utilise its mandates and ensure that the clubs are properly structured. You do your business as the association and then the others will definitely follow through,” Coates said.

She also mentioned that it has been quite difficult to even secure members in the clubs.

“One of the challenges that many organisations find themselves in is trying to get other organisations to become members. It is a voluntary organisation, so it is kind of hard to get persons to come and say okay this is what we are going to do.

“I mean, even at the football level, I try to have mostly mothers come and maybe mark the register and tell them ‘this is what we are trying to get done, can you come and be a part of the executive’ and people shy away from that responsibility,” Coates explained.

The ABFA vote was constitutionally due in March last year but was delayed because of government restrictions on large gatherings over fears of the Covid-19 virus.

FIFA, in April last year, had also written to the ABFA reminding the body that its constitution does not allow for the hosting of virtual elections.

Coates has argued, however, that with proper Covid-19 protocols in place, the electoral congress could be sanctioned by health officials, and she is hoping for FIFA’s intervention as it was revealed just last week that a letter was copied to the world body and the local football body seeking clarity on the matter.

While the FA has hosted a number of virtual meetings since the start of the pandemic, its constitution stipulates that the body’s vote to elect a new executive must be held via secret ballot.

The FIFA communique stipulates, however, that the vote should be held as soon as government protocols allow, and that its representatives will be on the ground as observers.

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