Gonsalves defends make-up of Covid-19 Relief Funds steering committee

ABFA president, Everton Gonsalves.
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By Neto Baptiste

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), Everton Gonsalves, has not taken kindly to suggestions that members appointed to serve on the body’s Covid-19 Relief Funds steering committee are not qualified to do so.

Gonsalves, who called into the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show in an attempt to defend his association’s decision to pay out what he has called a first tranche of EC $8,000, sought to defend the association’s selections for the important committee.

“I hear what the others are saying but I find this as an affront and I don’t care what anybody says, — especially now that black lives matter — that people could be saying publicly that Jason ‘Basu’ Peters and a number of the other black guys that are on that steering committee are not competent and they don’t have the integrity to serve on that steering committee. I defer with that and I will stand up for that until I am proven wrong,” he said. 

According to the regulations of FIFA Covid-19 Relief Plan, members sitting on the steering committee should “offer senior experience in international banking and lending or audit or finance environments or broad knowledge of public administration”.

President of the Liberta Sports Club, Kenneth Benjamin, had argued that the current make-up of the committee is flawed based on those stipulations.

Benjamin also argued that the form sent out by the ABFA is vague regarding the stipulations of how the funds will be distributed and how they must be spent.

Gonsalves said this has since been made clear.

“You have the regulations on the back of the forms now, indicating exactly how the monies can be spent by the clubs, like hiring of staff, payment of persons that you would have had working for the clubs; so it is quite clear what you are to use these things for,” he said.

The Liberta Sports Club has been vocal against a decision to distribute only EC $8,000 to clubs in a first tranche of the FIFA Covid-19 Relief Funds. They have also objected to the make-up of the committee and what they have called a lack of communication between the FA and its clubs regarding the funds.

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