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Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, says the Government has contributed upwards of $124.7 million to national sports development since 2008.
She was speaking on Monday (September 27) at the official opening of Phase I of the Jamaica Football Federation’s (JFF) technical centre, which is being developed at the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Bowl of Excellence, in Mona, St. Andrew.
She informed that the contributions, which have been made through the state-run Sports Development Foundation (SDF), were allocated to all of the national sports agencies, including the JFF, which got one-third of the funding. She said that the sum represented 40 per cent of the total budgets of the associations and facilitated training for the athletes.
Miss Grange said that much like the other sporting disciplines, football is in need of more input, particularly from the government.
“The support that the government has given to football.is not as much as we would like to give, but it is a significant contribution, based on our limited resources.but one-third of the pie is a big piece. We also contribute to the associations, and specifically the JFF, special grants for special programmes,” she informed.
She cited the administration’s input in the country’s bid to qualify for the finals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, while assuring commitment to the 2014 Road to Rio, Brazil campaign.
In the meantime, the Sports Minister challenged the national sports associations to use their positions as “autonomous non-government organisations”, linked to international bodies, “to work with government, through the relevant agencies, to promote sports enterprise and improved sports performance.”
She also thanked the private sector for their sponsorship support and other inputs, while urging them to “continue to give (and) to give more generously.”
The JFF technical centre is expected to boost the national football development programme for all male and female age groups and national senior teams, for participation in FIFA’s various tournaments and competitions, with preparations for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil as being central to these efforts.
The first phase, comprising a field, administrative block and changing room facilities, was completed 18 months after initial discussions between the JFF and the UWI, with a view to seeing how best the facility could be incorporated into the tertiary institution’s Centre of Excellence.
The technical centre project, dubbed the Goal Project (I), is expected to be developed in four phases at a cost of US$4 million. On completion of all phases, the facility will have lights, security walls, dormitories, an administrative block, and two football fields, among other features.