By Neto Baptiste
Football clubs are expected to turn out in their numbers for what is being dubbed a revealing and informative meeting that has been organised by a number of “concerned executive committee members” for Sunday at the Moravian Complex at Cashew Hill.
Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) floor member and a presidential hopeful ahead of the overdue elections, Barbara Coates, is one of four of the “concerned executive members” and revealed that clubs have so far responded kindly to the invitation for what she said will be an informative meeting.
“We had been calling the members Saturday and Sunday [December 4 and 5] and there are 63 members of the ABFA and we have spoken to roughly 50 members and they have all indicated they will attend, or if they are not there in attendance personally then they will have a representative,” she said.
“We have an attorney who has to speak on behalf of what is happening regarding the president going contrary to the constitution and we are guided by the constitution of the ABFA so we do need that independent person to speak to those things,” she added.
The ABFA electoral congress was due in May this year but was postponed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. There has, however, been no indications from the sitting president Everton Gonsalves as to when the vote will be called.
Coates is hoping that Sunday’s meeting could shed some light on what she believes is Gonsalves’ skirting of the constitution regarding several recent major decisions.
“It has been seven months and counting that the president has been operating like he has the full executive members on board with all of the decisions he has been making, when in truth and in fact, four of the executive members have no idea what is taking place. The reality is that there is an executive and it comprises of nine persons and all members should be aware of all of the things taking place within the ABFA. So it is very important that we bring that to the attention of the members so that they too could be aware of what’s happening,” she said.
Seen as possibly Gonsalves’ strongest challenger to date, Coates encouraged all clubs to attend the meeting and to keep an open mind.
“I would like to imagine that they too, want to see our football restored to where it ought to be and I would imagine they would need to know exactly what is taking place and we will provide them with the necessary evidence so they could see what has been happening and what has been taking place,” she said.
The other concerned executive committee members are Ruby Williams, Curtis Charles and Arlene Josiah.
FIFA had written to the ABFA in April to remind the body that its constitution does not allow for the hosting of virtual elections. The ABFA vote, constitutionally due in May this year, was postponed due to government’s restriction on large gatherings.
The FIFA communique went on to stipulate that the vote should be held as soon as government protocols allow, and that its representatives will be on the ground as observers.