The Government of Belize through the Ministry of Finance officially handed over $125,000 Belize dollar grant to the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) today, July 13. The grant was approved by Cabinet from the Petrocaribe Fund to help them meet the national team’s training and travel costs leading up to Round 3 of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. The grant was presented to the FFB by the Financial Secretary Mr. Joseph Waight.
Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary – “Well, I was asked to represent the Government of Belize in the handing over of a small contribution that the government has made to the FFB in support of the National Football Team and their training and their ultimate travel to the next stage of the competition. I think the competition is World Cup Qualifiers, but I’m not sure. But the Cabinet had approved a grant of $125,000 in support of the team and we had a small ceremony a short while ago, a ceremonial handing over of the funds.
Reporter – “Well, there’s a lot of talk right now about the PetroCaribe, it’s a popular tune right now, is there any chance that this, your plan, is correlated to that?”
Joseph Waight – “Oh, most definitely – I should have said clearly, this is also funded from the PetroCaribe fund. It’s a support to sports from PetroCaribe. On behalf of the Prime Minister, Government, Cabinet, Ministry of Finance, it’s a pleasure to be able to make this small contribution. We wish you well and to say more is on its way as we progress down the line.”
Present at the ceremony were a few of the team players, Minister of National Security and National Team Coordinator Hon. John Saldivar, and the General Secretary of the FFB Mr. Michael Blease, who received the grant on behalf of the federation.
Michael Blease, Secretary General of FFB – “The federation, well of course, you know, appreciates any assistance and as indicated from GOB a few weeks ago that they were going to assist and we received a grant of $125,000 that has been deposited directly to an account that is used just for the National Team Program and this money will be used for player stipend, feeding the players, traveling inland from Belize to Dangriga to Placencia to wherever the team needs to go for training but it’s just $125,000 which we average nearly about $10,000 a week in expenditure for the National Team so this will go directly to that looking at about 10 weeks or so.”
Reporter – “Sir, what is the marker, judging from the last two games you had, what is the budget marker for this third round?”
Michael Blease – “The budget for this round is approximately $300,000. Why for the last two qualifiers we spent about $400,000 but what we’re doing now, the team is already back in camp and we have an average of 30 players for the A Team in camp at this time but it’s full week from Monday to Friday and with that, they do intense training. Tomorrow they will travel to Placencia and next week they’ll go to Mountain Pine Ridge. So it’s a heavier budget because we really want to go through the third round. We believe that we have the potential, the team is really motivated, we have improved in our ranking, and it’s very important for us to move one step ahead. As a Central American nation this is important for us.”
Both Minister Saldivar and Mr. Blease expressed their gratitude to the Government and said that they look forward to the continued support.