CIFA field to be completed by August, say officials

The Cayman Islands Football Association expects to complete the artificial grass field at the troubled “centre of excellence” in Prospect by August. 

The field, funded by FIFA’s Goal Project, has been beset by problems, since it was officially opened at a groundbreaking ceremony in 2009, with FIFA president Sepp Blatter and then- CONCACAF president Jack Warner in attendance. 

Officials said in January that $1.8 million had been spent at the facility, which also includes CIFA’s administrative offices, with much of the cash going toward fill in an effort to turn the low-lying wetlands, beset by drainage problems, into a usable football field. 

The Cayman Islands Football Association secured an additional $500,000 from the GOAL project this year to continue developing the center. 

The field became the focus of international media attention in the aftermath of the arrests of several FIFA officials, including then-CIFA president Jeff Webb, on bribery charges. The New York Times highlighted the money spent by FIFA on the field as a symbol of FIFA’s lopsided power structure.  

CIFA released a statement this week suggesting that the field would be completed in early August. 

Bruce Blake, acting president of the association, said in the statement, “The subgrade work, which is being undertaken by Scott’s Equipment Ltd., has commenced and should be completed within the next two weeks. 

“The artificial turf is scheduled to arrive on-island on June 25 and will be installed by Edel Grass, out of Holland – the contractor selected by FIFA – working with its local contractors Island Paving Ltd. Completion of this project is scheduled for early August. We look forward to our national teams training at this facility.”  

Mr. Blake, who took over as acting president following Mr. Webb’s suspension from football related activities by FIFA, said, in the statement, that the association’s executive committee had increased the frequency of its meetings and would be providing regular updates on football initiatives in the Cayman Islands. 

He said, “CIFA’s 49th annual congress is also scheduled to be held in August. As usual, annual reports, which include annual audited financial statements, will be presented to the membership in advance of the congress. After the congress the annual reports will also be provided to the Cayman Islands Ministry of Sports and to FIFA, as normal.” 

CIFA will host its awards ceremony at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort on June 26 for local players,coaches and administrators.