Gonsalves: Funding affecting development of women’s football

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President of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), Everton Gonsalves, has identified a lack of funding as the organisation’s biggest roadblock in the advancement and development of the women’s game here.
He said very few businesses are willing to financially support the women’s game and that those who do support it are often stretched beyond their budgetary allocations.
“We have limited amount of corporate sponsorship and they have to take care of so many different things and sometimes when they do their analysis things are not as good so they have to cut down on the pieces of the pie they share out but I want to thank all who have been supporting,” he said.
“What will happen is that the sponsors help us to get to a particular destination and if we get over that then the TV rights kick in so every match the Antigua and Barbuda national team will play [after the TV rights become active] there is revenue from the TV rights but if we are not able to get over that hurdle into the TV rights then we are not going to recuperate our money. We are always spending and that is why we have changed the system a bit and we think that this cycle, we might just be able to recoup significant funds we have been spending in our development,” he added. 
Following the exit of the senior women’s team from the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers last month during which they gave up 26 goals in four matches to finish at the bottom of the five team group, the issues of the standard of play and the level of development for female players have dominated the air waves.
Gonsalves said the FA has initiated a scholarship programme for young players which he hopes will bear fruits going forward.
“We have embarked upon a new dispensation where we are now involved with a number of universities and colleges and we would have sent overseas, about 12 girls during the cycle and we have about six boys so when we select our representational teams we will have top quality people who are being trained in the United States to represent us because that is what the other nations who are doing well like Jamaica and the Trinidadians where almost all of their representational athletes play in the universities,” he said.
Antigua and Barbuda lost their opening match 5-0 to Jamaica before going under 7-0 to Cuba. The Benna Girls then suffered a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Trinidad and Tobago before losing to Bermuda 5-0.

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