Editorial: Belize football scores big with FIFA funding

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

All eyes have been glued to the tube this week as football fans gather to watch the 2014 World Cup games. Hosted by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), there has been plenty of debate about who all will profit from the copious amounts of money the event will earn. As if on cue, FIFA issued a press release on June 11th stating, "FIFA has allocated $200 million dollars in bonuses to its national federations and confederations, as part of the $4,500 million to be raised from the World Cup. Each of the 209 members of the governing body of world football this month will receive $250,000 and $500,000 additionally early next year."

As one of the 209 FIFA members, our Belize Football Federation (BFF) will soon be coming into some easy, but well-deserved funding. The FIFA funding is designated to develop the world’s most popular sport, and Belizean players would benefit from training opportunities, team building, improved stadiums, local tournaments and more. With half a million Belize dollars promised this month, and a million dollars committed for next year, the future looks bright for Belizean football.

cuba-v-belize-2013-concacaf-20130716-225200-223Over the last few years BFF has seen positive growth and international recognition under the leadership of Ruperto Vicente. With our national team getting a shot last year at the CONCAF World Cup qualifier games and two Belizeans, Deon McCaulay and Evan Mariano now playing for US teams, Belize is slowly gaining ground in the world of football. Under Vicente's continued guidance and resistance to political influence, it is our hopes that this funding will keep Belizean football on the right track. From offering opportunities to aspiring athletes, all the way down to the school yard kids who begin their passion by passing the ball to each other, a vast part of our population stands to benefit from FIFA funding in one way or the other.

Even through Belize is not represented at the World Cup this year we are still winners. We will continue to cheer for our local teams, root for our national status and applaud our sweaty neighborhood kids. The possibilities are there, and with the FIFA funding, dreams can come true.

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