A US$2.5 million (TT$16.85 million) grant was given to the TT Football Association to build TT football’s new “home.”
President of the TTFA David John-Williams, revealed the price tag of the facility yesterday in a conversation with Newsday during a tour of the “Home of Football”, which is located next to the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
John-Williams responded to claims of being secretive on the specifics of building the facility, dismissing them as mischief.
“I have absolutely no problem with transparency in this project. But we took a different approach that a lot of people are not too happy with,” John-Williams said.
“But we live in a society where you will get a lot of criticism. I am not new to it. I am not a president that is well-liked, because of some of the changes. We had to make some really difficult changes that people could not accept. When we came into the Football Association, football was in a bad way, and we had to take drastic decisions that rubbed people in the wrong way. But criticisms would only make me stronger.”
John-Williams expressed pride and gratitude for the progress the multi-million-dollar building project has made, boasting that building would be completed by the end of November, and that final touches would be done by February 2019.
Yesterday, during the tour, John-Williams showed off all the sections of the complex, which include a hotel, an entertainment centre and training grounds.
“This is the future of Trinidad football...This is the future of Trinidad sport!” John-Williams said as he displayed the facility to stakeholders.
During the tour he explained the complex was built using ICF technology, which utilises blocks of Styrofoam filled with concrete to make a cheap, easy-to-use, lightweight and durable building block. He said the blocks would insulate the facility from heat from the outside, making rooms “exceptionally cool.” The largest rooms in the hotel are about 24 feet long by 25 feet wide, Newsday was told.
He said despite the speed at which the buildings were erected, there were no more than 20 contractors working on the site each day.
John-Williams thanked the Government and FIFA for their investment in TT football. The Government supplied the TTFA with the 17.5 acre parcel of land on which the facility stands.
“The Government has supported this project tremendously in giving us what we consider prime land to do these three facilities that we see today. That was a huge help for us...We felt that we needed to prove the government right in building this facility and I hope that we have done such,” John-Williams said
The Home of Football project, he said, was the first fully funded FIFA Forward project — the organisation’s initiative to provide 360-degree, tailor-made support for football development.
The facility was met with excitement from various stakeholders, who included key members of multiple sporting fraternities
“This is of an international standard and I think this is what the sporting fraternity would want,” said Dr Patricia Butcher, president of the TT Netball Association.
“When you are talking sport tourism, we can now invite teams down here and be proud to bring them here to perform and relax. I am hoping we will be able to bless it when we celebrate our 40th anniversary late in 2019 or early in 2020.”
Andrew Gomez-Burke, president of the TT Gymnastics Federation, added, “I travel internationally at all times, and there are no facilities that I have seen that look so complete compared to what I have just witnessed here. I think John-Williams is doing a fantastic job. I could only hope that the other sporting organisations would utilise this facility to its maximum.”