The Carl Dickson-led SVG Football Federation’s executive is committed to further enhancing its service from admin to the field. Dickson pointed to the “accounting policy and procedures guidelines that would help to direct the way things are done around the office in a standardized manner.”
Which, he told Asbert News Network, “is important because too often football has been managed through the whims and fancies and emotional roller coasters of people’s feelings.”
The implementation of this standardized approach, he said, could be chalked up in the success column given that “it has already been accepted by our local auditors and our FIFA auditors. The procedural guidelines that we have in place are standard to accounting and transparency practices.”
Currently the SVGFF admin is “in the process of developing an HR policy manual that would govern our administrative staff and those who are engaged under contractual arrangements as well. That is about 95 percent done.”
Customer service, “a historical sore point for the SVGFF” is also being addressed as another valuable in house resource.
Club licensing is another success story in the making that is being emboldened by the Dickson administration.
Last year, First VP Grant reported, some 4 clubs out of the 32 member population found their licenses revoked because they failed to meet the requisite standards. The first time in the local football federation’s recent history even though “our parenting body” mandated that the club licensing procedure got “started a few years ago.”
The president painstakingly noted, “there’s absolutely no agenda to make any clubs extinct the purpose of the licenses is to strengthen clubs so they could participate not just locally but regionally as well.”
Other initiatives include relocating the technical team to its new home at the recently refurbished football facility in Brighton although ultimately the Federation hopes to operate its own facility instead of leasing one.
Additionally technical plans are being put in place, even as the current pandemic has stymied several others. Together, they are all expected to help aid the local players’ on-field performance.
According to Keith Ollivere, the SVGFF’s Technical Director, plans are afoot to enhance the competitive edge of all the teams under the Federation’s purview.
Ollivere highlighted, “we are putting plans together that will deal with coach education and we’re working along with our regional counterparts which is CONCACAF and we’re almost to completion with that.
“We have also completed our Females Strategy Plan and that would span the next 5 years and we are presently working now on setting up our Elites [programme] because Pres mentioned that sooner or later we are going to get the use of the refurbished facility at our center. Plans are way ahead now as to how we are going to use the center and how we’re going to utilize it for our various national teams.
“So we’re in the process of setting up our Elites Programme. We never had an Elites Programme before we used to just do selection based on national teams and competition. We are moving away from that. Now, we going to try and set up what we call an Elites Programme for St. Vincent footballers which we believe would make us more competitive.”
The idea here, Ollivere explained, would be to equip players “from grassroots right up to maybe the U-23 level [so that] they would be playing the same formation and same playing styles.
“And if you notice I did not mention the senior national team because everything is supposed to spill over. But with the senior national team it is basically results oriented. So we’re supposed to produce the product that would filter into that particular arena.”
The local juniors competitions are some of those plans which all agree must be resolved, post haste, to ensure a continued premium stock of athletes. Alas these plans were retarded by both the volcanic eruptions and COVID.
In the meantime the SVGFF has assumed chairmanship of the schools’ competition committee. Additionally some 16 secondary schools’ female senior teams are already outfitted and awaiting the national all clear to go head to head, SVGFF’s technical director, Keith Ollivere, confirmed.
Another symbol of the Dickson-led administration’s commitment to ensuring better results on the field of play was described by the Federations First Vice President, Wayne Grant as the level of investments made by the member associations to finance the national team’s participation in the “World Cup qualifiers.”
This, he contrasted, to what pertains with their St. Lucian counterparts; who – according to Grant – aborted their football agenda due to the fallout from the ongoing pandemic.
“The sojourn alone for the Curacao aspect of things cost the MA over 600, 000 EC dollars. And I mean to say when we speak of progress and its evaluation we must look at things and evaluate them on an equal level.”
Grant lamented the fact that the SVGFF was unable to field competitive teams, even though plans were already in place, through no fault of the Federation.
“Look we have been planning since 2020 for youth tournaments. We registered to participate in a number of youth tournaments but to date we keep hearing that they are being pushed back. Our last commitment is for July this year in Grenada.
“A U-15 Boys and U-17 Girls competition. So we have been trying our best to weather the storm and make sure that our national teams go out and represent us.”
The gentlemen pointed to the current administration’s hands-off approach to the players’ selection process as another pillar in their management team’s dedication to better serve the local football community.
“In the past, there was certain loopholes in terms of selections for the national team. It wasn’t broad based. We noticed that was a problem. In order for us to be competitive, I was telling my VP, we have to have what is called open selections.
“The national team is results oriented so we’re going to make available to the national coach every single possible player – locally, regionally or internationally – who wants to play for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is up to the coach to decide if he or she wants that particular player,” Ollivere said.
The SVGFF’s proposed constitutional reform, new technical and administrative policies all seek to examine that institution’s past even as they attempt to reshape its future.
A month of technical training is in the offing as Grant is certain that the onus for the development of individual players rests with their Clubs and not squarely with the national coach.
In the meantime President Dickson is urging the SVGFF’s constituency to “be a bit patient” with the teams’ performance since “these are unprecedented times” as exemplified in the multiple distresses Vincentians are currently enduring across the multi-island state.
“We are making the effort to continue to improve. Even if we can’t run, we would walk and when we can’t walk, we will crawl but we would continue to move forward,” Dickson said.
And the senior men’s head coach, Kendale Mercury, is of the view that he “is bold enough to make the tough decisions” necessary to produce better results at that level of the game. He warned though, “the tough decisions gwine mek the team and the country suffer a little bit but this is not a short term vision for me.
“This is about setting a platform and starting a conversation to do things right. We want to get to a World Cup? We want to get to a Gold Cup? We want to get up the rankings in CONCACAF?
“Do the things that you need to do! Cut the clubs… there is too much so the club competition is watered down. You need quality competition to rise the product.”
He also said that something should be done about athletes who violate Federation regulations by playing in community leagues while simultaneously representing various clubs.