Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, says that the introduction of the Institute of Sports’ (INSPORTS) All-Island Community Football Championship, signals the Government’s seriousness about pumping more resources into community sports.
“It is part of the Government’s plan to give greater support to community sports,” Miss Grange said, as she spoke at the launch of the competition, at the Terra Nova Hotel, Kingston, Wednesday (October 28).
The new competition is expected to be a “positive life-changing” experience for over 14,500 Jamaican youths, who are not attached to any football team at the senior, junior or high school level.
INSPORTS’s Executive Director, Ian Andrews, said that for the next four months, the competition will afford “unattached” youths, aged 16 to 26, an opportunity to display their skills in an organised fashion for further development.
Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange (left), greets Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Hon. Shahine Robinson, at the start of Wednesday’s (Oct 28) launch of INSPORTS All Island Community Football Championships at the Terra Nova Hotel, Kingston. At right is Financial Controller, at INSPORT Andrew Wright.
Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding had informed the audience at the Courtney Walsh Awards for Excellence on October 14, that his Government will pump more funds into community level sports, to balance support.
“Our plan will tangibly demonstrate that sport is an important tool for social transformation, and an important part of the Jamaican way of life. It will also emphasise the need for social inclusion in the development of the nation,” Miss Grange told today’s launch.
She said that the policy of pumping more resources into “grassroots community sports” was fulfilling another of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) pre-election manifesto promises.
She added that sport can unite communities, give idle hands work to do and reduce tensions. However, she said that there was a need to ensure that the programme also involves young women, in order for it to fulfill its objectives.
Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, enjoying a cultural performance during Wednesday’s (Oct 28) launch of INSPORTS’ All Island Community Football Championships at the Terra Nova Hotel, Kingston. She is joined by, from left: David Mais, chairman of the Sport Development Foundation (SDF); Andrew Wright, Financial Controller, INSPORT; and, Ian Andrews, Executive Director, INSPORT.
Giving an overview of the programme, Mr. Andrews said that close to 500 communities will battle for the major prize of $500,000 to the winning team. First, second and third runners-up will get $150,000, $100,000 and $50,000, each.
He said that the competition will have three stages, starting with a knock-out rally to eliminate excess teams, where necessary, as each parish will be limited to 32 teams which will be placed in eight groups of four, each. Parish winners will automatically qualify for the national phase or Round of 16, which will be completed with the winner from Portmore and the runner-up from St. Andrew.
He said that the programme is geared at unearthing and nurturing talent from the communities, and to heighten the involvement of community members who have not been afforded an opportunity to participate in any meaningful, organised competition, such as the premier league and divisional leagues.
Other speakers at the launch included: chairman of INSPORTS Limited the Rev. Al Miller; Peter Prendergast of the Jamaica Football Referees Commission; Financial Controller at INSPORTS Andrew Wright; and representatives of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF);the Ministry of Health; the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL); and the Dispute Resolution Foundation.