By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), Everton Gonsalves, has sought to quell grumblings over what some have said is an insignificant payout of EC$8,000.00 (US$2,900.00) to clubs by the ABFA as part of the FIFA funded Covid relief initiative.
The former national striker who called in to the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, said the payouts represents a first wave of assistance to the clubs, and that it must be distributed equally amongst those who competed in the 2019/20 domestic season.
“It is quite clear that the $8,000.00 is the first tranche, [and] first tranche is the first payment without restrictions; so just like how FIFA presented us with a first tranche without restrictions, this is a first tranche without restrictions to all the clubs,” he said.
Gonsalves clarified that clubs would then be allowed to submit claims based on their losses owing to the coronavirus pandemic that has affected the sport here since March this year.
“The issue is that if you have expenses or loses in terms of your business model then submit them to the ABFA and those will be taken into consideration at the time of your second tranche, and we go along. What we are saying to all our clubs, a total amount of money was sent to assist the clubs, and we are saying, start in the first tranche with eight and let us see, when we get back all the forms from who are able to apply for it, who all have said they have received it, that it has hit their accounts and they are using it,” he said.
“At the second tranche and they may even give me a third tranche until we liquidate all of the monies that are due to the clubs,” Gonsalves added.
The FA boss was responding to concerns from one coach, Rowan Benjamin, who believes that the payout should have been staggered across all three of the FA’s divisions with the upper tier benefiting more that the two lower tiers.
Gonsalves said that there must be equity in the first phase of the paying and that once proper accounting of those funds are submitted by the clubs then a second tranche would be issued.
“We [ABFA] will be held accountable as to what our members do just as how we are held accountable when the association gets its money from FIFA, and that’s all we are taking into consideration; you get your money, indicate how you are going to spend it. We don’t want your receipts and all of that, [but] when you’re substantiating your amount then get your internal people,” he said.
“We are not supposed to do the business of the clubs, but I want to make it [known] that the $8,000.00 is the first tranche of amongst a number of other things including payments in kind,” he added.
In a release, the ABFA announced that it would immediately disburse USD $146,000.00 to the 49 clubs that took part in the 2019/20 season. The release added that the clubs stand to benefit from USD $80,000.00 in kind donation that will be split amongst the organisations.