By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) and former national striker, Everton Gonsalves, has suggested that his intended challenger and floor member of the body, Barbara Coates, is still part of the decision-making machinery of the association, and shares collective responsibility.
His statement was in rebuttal of Coates’ recent claims that some executive members are being kept out of the loop regarding major decisions. Coates pointed to the June appointments of former national players Sowerby Gomes and Kelesha Antoine as technical director and referee department head, respectively, as one such decision, stating she had only learnt of the selections via the media.
Gonsalves said however that proper procedures are always followed.
“Every administrative decision is discussed at executive meetings and the full executive is invited to have their say. If it comes down to a vote then they vote and the majority decision will be upheld so there is nothing at all ever hidden. I hear the opinions, I hear what people are talking about in terms of the visa issue but there are certain facts that will be brought to light,” he said.
Gonsalves, who also denied claims that the FA should be blamed for failing to secure US visas for members of the women’s under-17 team ahead of CONCACAF qualifiers.
He said the “facts” will soon be presented to all executive members.
“I have the facts as I know them as leader of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association but other people seems to have facts so I will see the quality of their facts before I answer because I know what the facts are from Barbados and from CONCACAF whom we have always been contacting. All the dates of when we applied and all that will be settled at executive meeting and if any of these people want to come back or I have to come back to have a discussion on it, I will,” Gonsalves said.
The under-17 girls were forced from the tournament after the FA could not secure dates for visa appointments ahead of the ongoing tournament.
Antigua and Barbuda were scheduled to contest Group D alongside St Lucia, Guadeloupe and Guyana. St Lucia and Guadeloupe have also pulled out of the qualifiers reportedly for similar reasons.