Minister: ARG Upgrade Delayed, Surprised At ABFA Remarks

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Sports and Culture Minister E P Chet Greene says the Antigua Recreation Ground will not be upgraded any time soon.
Speaking against the backdrop of the grounds being extensively damaged when the Carnival Stage was recently dismantled and after revelations by the General Secretary of the Football Association Gordon “Banks” Derrick that the organization had to engage a number of experts after the stage was removed, Greene expressed surprise at Derrick’s statement because a decision had been taken on the matter since last year.
“We have not time tabled any work because it was agreed last year between the ABFA and the ministry that this year, after carnival, we would proceed to fix the surface at the ARG,” he said.
“I am hearing this on the media for the first time as opposed to the ABFA saying to us that they would like a re-consideration of our agreement of last year because the agreement from last year was that after carnival this year the government would have moved into repairing the surface at ARG to allow for football to have a better playing surface because over time the surface has been badly affected,” he added. 
“Reports are that the start of the Premier Division could be pushed back again…so it might not begin in October.”
Football Association President, Everton Gonsalves, says the organisation is exploring its options and will meet with stakeholders before moving forward.
Greene says that wasn’t quite the arrangement.
“They were asked to come up with a recommendation since our meeting last year so that we could have assisted them in preparing a venue for this year’s programme and they never came back after the discussion last year and if you [OBSERVER media] go back and check your records of last year, you would see those kind of discussions were actually in OBSERVER news and why would they rush to the media about damage to the grounds when the ministry in charge of the grounds have not been even spoken to,” the minister said.
The ABFA is still uncertain as to when the 2017/18 Premier Division will start.

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