Sports Minister, ABFA To Discuss ARG Future

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Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, has expressed concern over what appears to be a lack of maintenance at the historic Antigua Recreation Ground (ARG), which the government has leased to the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA).
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Matthew, who was installed as the sports minister in March, said that he will meet with the lease-holders following the ongoing Carnival celebrations in an effort to possibly rectify the issue.
“I know that we definitely need to have a discussion with the football association. They’ve had a lease for the ARG for several years but I am really not satisfied with the condition of the ARG. In fact, when we went up into the pavilion and boxes and so on to get prepared, they were in a terrible state,” he said.
Matthew, a former president of the Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association (ABBA), added that the intention is for the ABFA’s Premier Division to return to the venue following the carnival festivities but that measures must be put in place before then.
“It begs the question as to whether or not the FA can really manage and maintain the ARG, but it is a discussion that I will have with them after Carnival. I know the previous minister [E.P. Chet Greene] had his feelings about it and, like I said, we will have the discussion,” he said.
President of the ABFA, Everton “Batow” Gonsalves, expressed the association’s willingness to meet with the minister to discuss the way forward.
“This like the previous minister, in ABFA terms, is a friend of the ABFA and we will be more than happy to sit down with the minister and iron out anything that needs to be ironed out for the further rehabilitation of the ARG,” he said.
“We are committed, but it has to be dual. The owner and the tenant must work in harmony to rehabilitate the Antigua Recreation Ground,” he added.
The association has undertaken some works at the facility, repairing seats,
steps and painting some stands. The body, on several occasions, has also had to undertake immense rehabilitation work on the playing surface after it had been left in a state of disrepair following the annual Carnival celebrations.

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