Wigan Athletic legend determined to raise standards in Barbados

Wigan Athletic’s FA Cup-winning skipper Emmerson Boyce will lead a delegation to Barbados this month to launch the island’s Women’s Football Development Programme.
Emmerson BoyceEmmerson Boyce
Emmerson Boyce

Boyce, who captained Barbados for many years, will be joined by ex-international referee and FIFA Instructor Janie Frampton, who specialises in the development of women on the global stage, and Brendon Batson OBE, a trustee of the PFA.

Also part of the delegation are Stephanie Boyce, a solicitor with particular expertise in overhauling governance arrangements, and Eileen Schofield, a solicitor experienced in international programmes.

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“Our aim is to help raise the standards of football in the country, developing elite players to represent Barbados in the top leagues around the world,” said Boyce, who was awarded the Barbados golden jubilee award in 2016.

“While at the same time helping to change perceptions and social barriers to participation, and also create a strong, inclusive and engaging brand to raise the profile of the game for the serious player and the casual participant.”

The programme is supported by the Barbados government, Barbados Football Association (BFA), the University of West Indies and the International Socca Federation – the governing body for small, sided football and the largest provider of small sided football in the world.

“I believe the time is right to take women’s football in Barbados to a higher level,” said Randy Harris, president of the BFA. “To set a new football benchmark, and lead by example in the Caribbean.

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“Barbados will lead the emerging countries in the development of girls and women’s participation.”

It’s hoped the programme will be the perfect vehicle to address key health and social issues affecting young women in Barbados.

The delegation – which will arrive in Barbados on October 16 – will offer gender specific training for players, coaches and referees, to give girls or young women the confidence to take an active part in football and the associated roles within the game.

It will also address equity issues, help combat obesity and promote a healthy lifestyle, while building self-esteem and giving participants a feeling of value within their communities.

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The programme will be delivered in schools, sports clubs and summer camps, with a particular focus in areas of social deprivation.

It’s designed to help to ensure any stigma or stereotypes about girls or young women in football is removed, and as a method of increasing female participation in a predominantly male-dominated sport.

The programme aims to build on the success of the women’s senior national team at the Windward Islands Football Association (WIFA) tournament in 2017, which led to the highest FIFA ranking in 2018, by growing participation in the sport of football and raising the quality and standards of all sectors of the women’s game to compete in international competitions – including the 2027 Women’s World Cup.

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