World Cup Qualifiers’ delay beneficial to VI national team

BVIFA President Andy Bickerton believes the decision taken jointly by CONCACAF and FIFA to delay the World Cup Qualifiers will prove to be beneficial to the Virgin Islands’ national team.

According to BVI Football Association President, Mr. Andy Bickerton, the decision taken jointly by CONCACAF and FIFA to delay the World Cup Qualifiers will prove to be beneficial to the Virgin Islands’ national team.

CONCACAF and FIFA agreed that the CONCACAF Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will not be played in the match windows of October or November 2020, and will instead begin with the first round in the FIFA match window of March 2021.

“From the BVIFA’s perspective the delay in the World Cup Qualifiers until March 2021 makes a lot of sense,” commented Bickerton. “Hopefully by that time spectators will be able to attend the home matches and we will be able to bring all of our players together for preparation without facing the COVID-19 quarantine regulations. Travel will have become more relaxed allowing the BVI to benefit from the economic effects of the Sports Tourism opportunity provided by the visit of the fans from Guatemala and Curacao.”

Many parts of the region continue to have very challenging public health situations, and that has been a key factor in this decision.

Additionally, several countries across the confederation have travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, which would make international football involving 30 national teams extremely difficult. CONCACAF will now work with FIFA to finalize a new schedule, beginning with the first round in March 2021, which will be communicated in due course.

BVI to face ‘tough’ group in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers

BVI drawn to play in Group C of the first round of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers for Qatar 2022

The Draw for the first round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying for Qatar 2022 took place in Zurich, Switzerland on August 19, 2020. The six highest ranked teams of were pre-seeded into groups A through F and revealed a number of exciting match-ups among the 30 teams.

The British Virgin Islands, led by 18-year-old Tyler Forbes, are in Group C and will look to rekindle the same fighting spirit they displayed in the CONCACAF Nations League Qualifiers. The BVI faces tough competition from Group C which includes Curacao, Guatemala, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Cuba.

“The team is very excited to play in this group especially with the talent we have and the growing bond we have together,” commented Forbes. “It won’t be easy, but we like a challenge and us underdogs we always seem to perform better like in the game against Martinique. I feel the BVI will be proud of us – and surprised too – when, hopefully, they get to see what we have to offer with some home games. After the hurricanes of 2017 and the Covid-19 pandemic, the team is hungry for success and ready to finally play in front of our home fans.”

BVIFA President, Andy Bickerton noted the World Cup Draw had thrown the BVI into a tough group and is hoping the pandemic won’t stop the opportunity of staging home games. “We have been drawn in a very strong group and have to hope that despite the COVID challenges we are able to play our home matches against Guatemala and Curacao in the BVI.”

Matches in the group are expected to take place from October 2020.

Full CONCACAF World Cup qualifying groups:

Group A: El Salvador, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat, United States Virgin Islands
Group B: Canada, Suriname, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Aruba
Group C: Curacao, Guatemala, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba, British Virgin Islands
Group D: Panama, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Dominica, Anguilla

BVI to participate in CONCACAF Nations League

By BVI Football Association

BVI Football Association President, Mr. Andy Bickerton, Mrs. Julianna Luke (BVIFA General Secretary) and Mr. Avanel Morton (BVIFA Vice President). Photo: BVIFA

The BVI Football Association President, Mr. Andy Bickerton has expressed optimism and confidence following the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League Draw held in Miami, Florida.

The Senior Men’s team will be facing Martinique, Suriname, Bonaire and the Turks and Caicos in the Nations League qualifying rounds, with the first fixture, against Martinique, scheduled for September 18th, 2018.

Further games will follow on October 18th (Suriname) and then an enticing home game against Bonaire on November 18th, before the final game, also at home, features the Turks and Caicos.

“It’s a good draw for us as we are confident we can be competitive in each game, especially the two home games, given we can use the A.O. Shirley Ground,” commented Bickerton.

The CONCACAF Nations League begins in September with a one-off qualifying phase, while the group phase, consisting of three tiered leagues, will kick off in 2019.

The top league will end with a Final to crown the Nations League champion, and the competition will also serve to unify the qualifying path for the region’s national teams to the newly expanded Gold Cup.

League A will contain four groups of three teams. The winners of each League A group will qualify to the CONCACAF Nations League Final Championship, which will determine the champion of the new competition. The teams at the bottom of each League A group will be relegated to League B for the next edition of the tournament.

League B will contain four groups of four teams. The winner of each League B group will be promoted to League A, and the bottom team of each League B group will be relegated to League C for the next edition.

League C will consist of the remaining MAs divided into four groups. The winner of each League C group will be promoted to League B.

The first edition of the CONCACAF Nations League will begin with a one-off CONCACAF Nations League Qualifying phase, which will determine which teams are assigned to each league.

By virtue of having qualified for the Hexagonal Round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Russia 2018, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, the United States and Trinidad & Tobago have earned the right to be seeded directly into League A and therefore will not participate in Nations League qualifyiers.

CONCACAF sets dates for Member Association Licensing decisions

By BVI Football Association

Director of Football for CONCACAF, Mr Manolo Zubiria. Photo: Provided

The CONCACAF Chief of Football, Manolo Zubiria, has provided some insight as to the initiatives and processes that will be put into place to help professionalize football throughout the Member Associations.

In 2017, it became mandatory for all Member Associations (MAs) to formally implement Club Licensing at the domestic level. It also became a requirement for MAs to properly inspect clubs participating in regional tournaments (Caribbean Club Shield, Caribbean Club Championship, Scotiabank CONCACAF League and Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League) as to assure their compliance with the regional criteria. Therefore, Zubiria is encouraging all Associations to continue their excellent work in 2018, as Club Licensing is still in full effect and will be a key driver for the success of the professional football initiatives being put into place.

The deadline for every Member Association to communicate their Licensing Decisions for First and Second Division Clubs to CONCACAF at clublicensing@concacaf.org will be the following:

Tournament Communication Deadline:
2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF League 1-Jun-18
2019 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League 1-Jun-18
2019 Caribbean Club Championship 1-Jun-18
2019 Caribbean Club Shield 1-Jun-18

According to CONCACF, failure to communicate the Licensing Decisions by the stipulated dates may affect the eligibility of Clubs within the Association as it relates to these competitions. It is also important to note that if the license was granted to the Club as of the communication deadline, but the license is not valid at the time of the competition, it will be the responsibility of the Member Association to send an updated communication once licenses are renewed.

There is a plan in place for the Professional Football Development team at CONCACAF, alongside FIFA, to conduct Compliance and League Assessment Visits on all Member Associations that have clubs participating in upcoming regional competitions to assure that MAs and Clubs are on the right track to obtaining professional status and becoming eligible for our competitions.

Visits for participating Member Associations / Clubs for the 2018 Caribbean Club Shield will be January – March; March – April for the 2018 Caribbean Club Championship; May – June for the 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF League and August – December for the 2019 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League.

The coordination of these visits will be communicated directly to the Associations Club Licensing Manager via CONCACAF’s Professional Football Development team.

Any questions or concerns re Club Licensing should, in the first instance, be directed to the FA General Secretary, via email gensec2@gmail.com

New CONCACAF rules require all BVIFA member clubs to become licensed

By BVI Football Association

(l-r) Paul Hewlett, BVIFA General Secretary, Alfredo Quiroz, CONCACAF, and Andy Bickerton, BVIFA President. Photo: BVIFA/Charlie Jackson

(l-r) Paul Hewlett, BVIFA General Secretary, Alfredo Quiroz, CONCACAF, and Andy Bickerton, BVIFA President. Photo: BVIFA/Charlie Jackson

According to Alfredo Quiroz of the The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, (CONCACAF), Club Licensing Department, all the member clubs of the local F.A. will have to become licensed.

“Football is changing and CONCACAF wants to make the game more attractive, as well as more organized, from those that run clubs to those that go watch,” said Mr. Quiroz. The statement was made at a meeting to which all clubs had been invited and which took place on Wednesday 18th January at the BVIFA Head Office.

Moving clubs into the process of falling into line with both FIFA and CONCACAF guidelines has begun, with a National Criteria to be reached by the end of 2017 and more immediate target dates for the various stages of completion by the end of March 2017.

All Clubs will have to fill out and submit four online documents as well as complete eleven additional criteria, such as naming a Head Coach, General Manager, Media, Finance and Marketing personnel, budgets and various legal documents.

“Going forward the process will be constantly reviewed and made more challenging as we look to develop stronger structures and levels of control,” said Quiroz.

Databases will be built of all CONCACAF’S member clubs and used to create effective tools for planning future competitions, such as the Champions’ League, where it will now become possible to see, at a glance, the type of facilities and infrastructure each participating club has.

“Sanctions are yet to be determined for non-compliant clubs,” explained Quiroz. “CONCACAF certainly won’t be coming in and saying if you are not licensed, then you cannot play, but there have to be some incentives to comply.”

The local FA office remains the first point of contact to assist the clubs in the process and provide support, but then, once the online forms are submitted. a ‘first instance’ body will be set up locally to review the applications and grant licenses.

There will also be an appeals body, but according to Quiroz it is a win win situation and clubs should not be put off by change or in adhering to the new policies and programmes implemented by CONCACAF.

“The benefits are there for all to see,” he concluded. “We will all be doing things a little better, step by step, for players, fans, sponsors. It can help identify the need for improvements on and off the field, increase the knowledge of support staff and help everyone understand what we need to do to move forward.”

Dozens celebrate CONCACAF Women’s Day

By BVIFA

Celebrating CONCACAF Women's Day in the BVI. Photo: BVIFA

Celebrating CONCACAF Women’s Football Day in the BVI. Photo: BVIFA

Nearly fifty young ladies and women gathered on Greenlands Playing Field on Saturday 23rd May, 2015, to participate in the inaugural CONCACAF Women’s Football Day, hosted by the BVI Football Association.

This initiative, which was presented at the CONCACAF “Let’s Develop Women’s Football” seminar held in October 2014 in Philadelphia, aimed to unite all 41 Member Associations to simultaneously celebrate women’s football throughout the region.

“I’m happy to see so many young girls and Ladies here today,” commented BVIFA Executive, Shereen Flax Charles, who is responsible for women’s football. “The event is geared to promote and develop women’s football and looking at today’s turn out, we have much to look forward to.”

The Girls, after completing registration forms, were then split into Age Groups to experience different aspects of the game, from playing games to competing in various skill challenges, including dribbling, shooting, juggling and passing.

In the 6-8 Group, Kirsha Nisbett won the Passing Challenge and the Juggling Contest, whilst Tezaria and Mykah shared Shooting Honours.

In the 9- 12 Category, J’Nya Demming was Passing Champion, Javiola Hodge Best Juggler and Fastest Ball Controller, whilst Demming also won the Shooting Contest.

Laresha Martin won the 13-15 bracket for Juggling, Kayla Bolus won the Speed Challenge and Martin also shared the Shooting Challenge with Lilly Pierce.

In the Open Age Group, Christine Jackson was top Juggler, Shooter and Passer while Yasmin Ruffell-Smith was Speed Queen.

“This event also marks the beginning of the BVIFA’s Summer of Soccer,” concluded Flax Charles. “Next week we have the Women’s World Cup League for 13 years upwards. It will be held every Sunday for the next four weeks and even if you have never played the game before, it will be a great way to get involved.”

There are also a Grassroots Festival and summer camps to be held on Tortola and the sister islands and National Squad Training for all age groups, both on Virgin Gorda and Tortola.

“Football is a great way to keep fit and also provides many opportunities for scholarships,” said Flax Charles. “We have already sent many kids away and the FA will continue to do so as well as send people to summer camps. We will also provide information to all who may not want to play or have finished playing but want to be a coach, a referee, or just volunteer to help on the various sub committees.”

Next up is that Women’s World Cup League, which sees teams representing those who are taking part in the Women’s World Cup, being held in Canada in June.