Gov’t Says ARG Lease Has Been Rescinded

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The government announced that it has rescinded a lease granted by the former administration to the Antigua & Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) back in 2013, to manage the Antigua Recreation Ground (ARG).
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show on Thursday, Minister of Sports EP Chet Greene said he had sought Cabinet’s intervention on the matter and has since received its blessings.
“I, as Minister of Sports, represented to the Cabinet of Antigua & Barbuda the position, which was accepted that we vitiate the lease. I know that the ABFA has been consulted and communicated to on this regard and as a matter of a fact, we continue to spend public resources on the ARG and do so in the knowledge or the belief, at least, that this is the case, that the lease has been vitiated,” he said.
“The ABFA is however stopped from charging persons or organisations for the use of the ARG. Any such request must be channeled to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports,” he added.
Greene, a former football association general secretary, said the body should not have been given a lease for the facility from the onset, as it was never in a position to improve the structure and or its surroundings.
“The contract entered into with the football association by the former administration was part of an IMF design which really placed no value on the significance and importance of the ARG. The ABFA, as we have seen, does not have the resources to manage and to reflect the necessary upkeep of the facility. This government is very clear in its position that football will have priority of use of the facility to play national and, once upgraded, international matches,” he said.
The minister revealed also that, outside of repair works scheduled for the ARG, government will be investing in a number of community fields across the country.
“In another week or two, the government will be spending another EC $1.5 million on upgrading [a number of] playing fields across the country in a first phase of infrastructural development. This is part of what we are doing to renew and refresh the installation and to [encourage] interest on the part of our young people to take part in sports,” Greene said.
Members of the ABFA were not readily available for comment on the matter. It is however reported that the ABFA is still presently holding a lease for the facility.

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