St Lucia: Saint Lucia being unable to participate in the CONCACAF FIFA World Cup qualifiers has been described as heartbreaking by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.
During a March 26 press conference, President of the Saint Lucia Footballers Association (SLFA) Lyndon Cooper confirmed Saint Lucia would not be participating in the competition.
According to the SLFA President, training facilities were not available for the national team, due to COVID-19 protocols coupled with the inability to meet the required financial obligations.
The Government of Saint Lucia distanced itself from the move and claimed that no request was made by the SLFA to the Ministry of Health to allow players to prepare for the competition.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet expressed disappointment in the SLFA, declaring that Government would have no reservation in providing support to the team, be it financial or otherwise.
“I am heartbroken!” Chastanet declared.
“You have no idea as a Government how we were looking forward to having a CONCACAF qualifying match here and being able to show off the new facility in Soufriere,” Chastanet told the hosts of the Morning Heat.
While he says the SLFA and FIFA manage their own affairs, Government should have been approached to make the dream a reality.
“I am disappointed, honestly, that no attempt was made to include us in what they considered to be a problem. So if there was a problem either financially or logistically of bringing our football players back home, we would have risen to that challenge,” he said.
Chastanet cited a case where provisions were made for a football team in Vieux Fort to train for a match overseas.
According to him, a practice facility was provided in addition to getting players vaccinated and financial support was provided to assist in the purchase of travel tickets.
“Why wouldn’t we do it for our national football team? We would have moved mountains and earth to make it happen,” Chastanet said.
On March 24, Saint Lucian Footballers protested outside the SLFA’s La Clery office, demanding an explanation from the executive and the removal of Lyndon Cooper at the helm.