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Hopes dashed for Belmopan Bandits - FFB unable to have stadium ready for play! Print E-mail
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Thursday, 14 August 2014 00:00

belmopan bandits.jpg - 95.39 KbThe hopes for Belize to have represented itself in the CONCACAF Champions League Tournament came to an abrupt end when the sporting organization announced that Belize will not be allowed to participate. The decision was taken after officials from the federation visited Belize to do a final inspection on the FFB field in Belmopan on August 10.

According to the Football Federation of Belize president, Ruperto Vicente, the first inspection was done at the end of May when the FFB was allotted more time in order to bring the FFB stadium up to FIFA standard. Another visit was made on June 19th and again more time was allotted up to July 2nd and finally extended up to August 10. Vicente maintains that after investing 1.8 million dollars in the rehabilitation of the facility all that did not meet the standards was the pitch. According to the president, there were brown spots on the field. Being that the match between Belize’s Belmopan Bandits and AD Isidro Metapán of El Salvador would have been televised on August 21, the brown spots would not have looked good on television.

Vicente told the Guardian that as for the lights, bleachers, locker rooms and other amenities of the facility, they all met FIFA standards. All the renovations to the field was done through funding from FIFA through the GOAL project which provides Belize with a million dollars every four years. Additional funding came from FIFA’s program where it supports less privileged associations for another million dollars. Even with the available finances however, the pitch simply could not be completed in time. According to Vicente, the FFB had been behind the contractor to complete the work but there was some foot-dragging on that end which inevitably caused the forfeiture of Belize’s participation. The contractor according to Vicente is Marvin Otley.

With the decision taken to remove Belize’s Belmopan Bandits from the competition, it ends yet another hope for Belize to have been represented in international play. The most aggrieved party in the entire situation is the Bandits; team owner Hon. John Saldivar posted the following on Facebook, “It is with a heavy heart and deep sadness as the owner of the Belmopan Bandits FC that I must accept the decision of CONCACAF to remove my Club from the Champions League Tournament due to an inadequate FFB Stadium. I believe that my Club, its players, and I would be justified in our indignation towards the FFB and its officials who are responsible for this sad state of affairs. However, the blame game will only cause more disappointments as we prepare to defend our national pride in the Nations’ Cup in three weeks. I will therefore hold my fury and instead offer to assist in whatever way I can in our preparations for the Nations’ Cup. I must though, thank all those who had assisted thus far in preparing our team for Champions League. Thanks also to our loyal fans. We shall overcome some day!!!!Go Bandits!!!”

The last time Belize participated in the Champion’s League was in 2004, at that time Verdes FC represented Belize.

This year’s competition runs from August 5 to October 23. Twenty-four teams participate in tournament, nine of those are from the North American Zone, twelve from the Central American Zone and three from the Caribbean Zone.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 August 2014 15:44