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By Carlena Knight

One former national player has spoken out in support of presidential hopeful, Barbara Coates’, comments over the possible use of funds by the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) to retrofit ARG instead of their own facility in Paynters.

Reports are that FIFA, the ABFA and the government are in talks over the possible upgrading of the facility and its continued use by the football association to host top flight and international matches.

But since that revelation, many members of the ABFA have called into question why the focus would be to retrofit the ARG instead of Paynters firstly. 

Coates who is currently a floor member on the ABFA executive was one said individual that disagreed with this move. 

She mentioned that priority should be given to first complete the body’s technical and training centre in Paynters before looking at the ARG. 

This was the stance of former national player, Ivor ‘Ninja’ Luke, as well. 

The former Lion Hill Spliff player mentioned that with little information being made available to the public over the agreement with FIFA, the ABFA and the government over ARG there cannot be a full level of trust and confidence that this will indeed be the case. 

“Promises can come back and bite you in the end. We don’t know where the lease is at, we don’t know the terms of the lease, we don’t know what cost is involved at the moment, and we don’t know what agreement or what kind of discussion the government has had with FIFA and the ABFA, so how can we say ARG is our first priority, we going to fix it up?” he asked. 

Luke, who is also a part of Coates’ slate for the upcoming elections says he cannot understand why the focus would not be to complete the ‘home for football’ the Paynters facility first before the ARG which is being leased to the ABFA. 

“We have a home over 20 years building. If you have a property that is leased, and you have a property that is yours, you can’t tell me you are going to say let’s fix up this property completely that is leased. You have a home that for over 20-odd years is underdeveloped so I can’t see the sense there,” he said.

“I mean I love playing in ARG more than anything else. I have played in there for my whole career, but at the same time, we have a home that is 20 years and going, and still very far from being finished, and we have to look seriously at that.” 

 Luke was speaking on the Good Morning JoJo Sports show.