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Government Concerned by Decision on World Cup Qualifiers

The Government of Saint Lucia is disappointed by reports that Saint Lucia has withdrawn from the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, a decision taken without any consultation with the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports by the St. Lucia Football Association (SLFA). The St. Lucia Football Association is an independent organization that governs football within Saint Lucia.

The Government of Saint Lucia through its Sports Infrastructure Program made it a priority to upgrade the Soufriere Mini Stadium to host World Cup qualifiers and the Government of Saint Lucia is clear and unambiguous in its commitment to upgrade facilities for this particular objective.

Image: A Drone photo of the Soufriere Mini Stadium (MOS)
A Drone photo of the Soufriere Mini Stadium (MOS)

The Government of Saint Lucia is further concerned about reports that the “authorities” turned down requests for special training permissions for a national football team. The Government can confirm that we have no record of a request being made by the SLFA to have a team train for World Cup Qualifiers. Neither the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports nor the Office of the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) has received such a request.

Despite the fact that high contact sports are not allowed under the current Covid-19 protocols due to the high risk the Government has made special provisions for national athletes and this is reflected in the legislation. The Government of Saint Lucia, through the Ministry of Health, recently facilitated training for Platinum FC from Vieux Fort South who are due to travel in April for a tournament in Curacao. The Government will also be assisting with the vaccination of these footballers and team members. The Ministry of Health has also facilitated some netballers and other athletes who requested one-on-one
training or training with strict protocols.

Hopefully, the Football Association will engage with the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports and local footballers to resolve this matter. We look forward to the full clarification from the Saint Lucia Football Association as to the reasons for Saint Lucia’s withdrawal.

The Government of Saint Lucia has made significant investments in sports in Saint Lucia, including football, with the establishment of the Sports Academy and the upgrading of all our sporting facilities in order to attract regional and international tournaments. The Government will continue to do all it can to facilitate the advancement of our athletes and Saint Lucia as a leader in sports. The Government sees the participation in activities such as World Cup Qualifiers as critical to the development of sports and has done all in its power to facilitate the involvement of our athletes.

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