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CFU president wants cup finals in the summer

l MIAMI

Caribbean's football chief, Gordon Derrick, is considering a new place on the calendar for the staging of the Caribbean Cup finals.

The Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president has suggested the finals be held in June or July instead of the current December period.

Derrick has publicly conceded that the timing of the just-ended tournament was not the best, and has reported empty stadiums as a feature of the ten-day competition that ended Sunday with Cuba securing their first regional title with a 1-0 extra time win over Trinidad and Tobago in the final at Antigua Recreation Ground.

The Cubans collected the winner's purse of US 100,000 dollars and a place in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the USA next year.

"If we could have our way, we would try to shift the tournament to June or July so that every team would be at full strength," said Gordon, also general secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA).

"We just came out of turmoil (cash-for vote scandal)… we have to sit down at the CFU executive level to see how we can twist it around to see how we can get a better timing".

Last weekend's tournament was in competition with a number of local events including a play, a car racing competition and an international half-marathon.

"Honestly, I thought it was a great idea to host the tournament on the holiday weekend (Heroes Day)," said Derrick who was elected to lead the CFU in the aftermath of the cash-for-vote scandal that cast a shadow over the game.

"But in retrospect, we should have had it a week before so it wouldn't clash with the holiday, or a week after, but that would have been too close to Christmas".

Derrick has also lamented the failure of the Caribbean Cup to attract a major sponsor, but said the event was staged with no major setbacks. The budget to host the Caribbean cup was in the vicinity of US $500,000.

"So we did what we had to do (and) begged CONCACAF a bit. The Antiguan government was happy to have the tournament here, so they put in a little thing," said the CFU president.

"The local organisation put in a little thing and minor local sponsors did theirs". —CMC

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