(Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News)
Both the FIFA President Gianni Infantino, and the FIFA Vice-President/CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani, announced that they are pleased with the progress that is being made with the Greenland field and stadium.
The visit was part of the FIFA leader’s tour of the Caribbean and it was announced that this is the first time someone at the organization’s presidential level visited the Territory.
After touring the facility, the visiting delegation sat down for a press conference and remarked that they are pleased with what they saw.
The FIFA President lauded the achievements of the BVI Football Association. He said that he has always believed that paradise would have a football field, and noted that when he arrived he saw that the BVI is paradise and the Greenland football stadium is a short drive from the airport.
Infantino declared that he was pleased with what he saw on the tour of the Greenland facility. He noted that he was especially happy to hear of the new phase of the work that is to commence, and about the link the facility and the association has with the community and schools.
In fact, the FIFA President likened his joy about what heard to the feeling of winning the World Cup. “It is the World Cup that we win everyday when we see the smile of the little boys or girls,” he said.
Infantino said that he was pleased to visit the BVI and noted that the organization treats all of its members the same.
“When I hear that it’s not for FIFA President to come to such a small country, it’s what I love to do; what I have to do, but I love to do. This is our passion, our work and to be able to see committed people here putting in place our dreams and our vision, that is the reward that we need to...to invest more financially, but also emotionally and that’s why I am proud to be here,” he said.
“I think one of the strengths and the key for success of FIFA is in FIFA we have 211 members — member associations, member countries and they are all truly fantastic and this is how the world should be,” Infantino added.
The Vice President of FIFA and President of CONCACAF, Montagliani said that he was also pleased to see the great progress that has been made so far.
“I know that they are aggressively working to finish...I think once it’s done it would be fantastic not only for BVI football, but for the community itself, so yeah I am very satisfied with the progress and also the upcoming plans,” he said.
Both Presidents agreed to return to the Territory for the opening of the stadium, which Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie mentioned would be done within two years.
Further, the Premier, who said he appreciates the visit, noted that the project goes beyond politics.
“FIFA is one of those organizations that transcends politics and the Minister of Education has already stated to me how much money is needed for the track...l am really glad that Government after Government has taken football on seriously,” Hon. Fahie said.
The Premier further explained that another phase of the stadium construction would be moving forward after the hurricane season is completed. “Within a two year period we’ll be able to turn over the full facility and have a grand opening ceremony.”
Hon. Fahie also praised BVI Football Association President, Andy Bickerton for his commitment to the development of the sport in the Territory.
Minister for Sports, Dr. The Hon. Natalio Wheatley said that he sees himself as very fortunate to come into office at a time when so many special things are taking place. “FIFA is a massive organization; it is one of the largest organizations in the world.”
The Minister in noting the significance of the stadium that is being constructed at Greenland said that FIFA ought to be applauded for its agreement to fund the facility.
“I am searching my mind to see if any other international organization has made such a massive contribution to the BVI in terms of dollars and cents and all of the technical support that we have had,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, the BVI Football Association President thanked Infantino for agreeing to visit the Territory.
“Such a small organization as the BVI Football Association, we are happy that you decided to come and visit us. Thank you very much for that.”
Bickerton also mentioned that the association was severely affected by the 2017 hurricanes.
“We all know that we suffered from hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and we’ve come to the stage where we cannot blame hurricanes Irma and Maria for any problem. We as an association have had to cope with the fact that we lost everything — our offices were completely devastated there was nothing left,” he said.