Abrupt postponement of schools’ football competition underscores Simon’s criticism of Minister Matthew

Criticism by MP Kelvin “Shugy” Simon about the Government’s
lack of interest in sports appear to be justified, as the Ministry of
Sports has announced the postponement of a schools

On Thursday night, MP Simon chastised the minister of Sports,
Daryll Matthew, and the Administration, in general, for their failure
to do more than give a passing nod to sports during the Budget
Debate last December.

Simon told his audience that less than one million dollars has
been allocated to all the sporting disciplines, collectively, for
development in 2024, and this is an indication of the
Government’s indifference.

The abrupt notice that the highly anticipated semi-finals and finals
of the Secondary School Football Competition 2023 came today,
Friday, January 19.

The event has been pushed back by another two weeks at least,
due to the state of the venue, the Antigua Recreation Grounds
(ARG), where the One Nation Concert was held last Saturday,
January 13.

Officials say they were forced to take the decision to reschedule,
because the ARG is dirty and there are broken bottles on the
playing field.

“The safety and well-being of players, officials, and fans [has]
been cited as the primary reasons behind the sudden deferment
of the matches,” the Ministry of Sports has said, while apologizing
for any disruptions to plans.

It notes that “uncleanliness and the presence of hazardous
materials on the field are not conducive to a safe and competitive
sporting environment.”

However, the Ministry says it is fully committed to rectifying these
concerns promptly.

The new dates for the semi-finals and finals have been set for
Wednesday, January 31, and Friday, February 2, respectively.

Both events are still scheduled to be hosted at the ARG, the
Ministry adds. 

It assures the public that concerted efforts are being made to
address the current challenges and to guarantee a secure and
enjoyable experience for all participants and spectators.

Meanwhile, a critic is asking why the Browne Administration
would host a concert there on the weekend prior to the important
sporting event, knowing the field would not have been cleaned in
a timely manner.