Sports minister on sporting budget increase

Mr Speaker I am pleased to announce that with support of my colleagues in Cabinet and the Government, I am able to announce an increase in funding to the six focus sports in the Cayman Islands and the addition of two sporting disciplines to the list for increased focus and support by the Government.

Mr Speaker this funding will allow each Association to meet their obligations to their international parent body, as well as the requirements of the Ministry policy while at the same provide them with a strong foundation to develop their sport and be better able to provide leagues, competitions and development programmes catering from children to adults throughout the Long Term Athlete Development spectrum.

Mister Speaker I believe that with strengthened governance of the sport by the NSAs, this level of funding would yield results with increased participation, better international performances and ultimately yield a healthier society where sport and physical activity become cemented as a part of our culture.

Mr Speaker each sport designated for focus and increased support by the Government will now receive $150,000 per annum in funding from the Ministry starting in financial year 2020.

The Sporting disciplines affected are as follows:

  1. Athletics
  2. Basketball
  3. Netball
  4. Swimming
  5. Football 
  6. Cricket
  7. Volleyball and
  8. Squash

The funding to each of these will be increased from its current levels to $150,000 as follows and will result in an increase to sports in the amount of $787,925.00:

Focus SportGovernment Budget Allocation 2020Funds required to meet the proposed increase to $150,000.00 per annum
C.I. Aquatic Sports Association$71,725$78,275
C.I. Athletic Association$71,725$78,275
C.I. Basketball Association$71,725$78,275
C.I. Cricket Association$71,725$78,275
C.I. Netball Association$90,175$59,825
CI National Squash Association$10,000$140,000
CI Volleyball Federation$25,000$125,000
CI Football Association$0$150,000.00
Totals$412,075$787,925

BACKGROUND

  1. Mr Speaker each sporting discipline is Governed by a National Association(NSA) which is in turn a member of an international governing body or federation(IF). The Government only recognises one NSA per sporting discipline in line with international practice.
  2. The Ministry is cognizant of challenges faced by the NSAs with fundraising locally in a COVID 19 environment while recognising the benefits that sporting activities can bring to assist with stress management, normalising of the community and improving wellness in such an environment.
  3. The Government traditionally recognised six focus sports i.e. Athletics, Netball, Basketball, Aquatic Sports, Cricket and Football, that receive enhanced funding from the Cayman Islands Government as well as support through the construction of facilities and in some instances with community coaches at the Department of Sports to assist with the development of the sport. 
  4. The Government is adding focus to two sporting disciplines with increased funding to support their continued development:
  1. Volleyball for the following reasons:
    1. Its ability as a recreational sport to promote physical activity and build community cohesion especially in light of the low cost of participation in it.
    2. Its ability through junior leagues to develop national team representatives for regional competition.
    3. The high cost to obtain international competition for the growth of team sports.
    4. The ability to develop sports tourism opportunities by way of hosting regional competitions as it has done with the FIVB World Championship Qualification tournaments for male and female teams held at Clifton Hunter High School in Frank Sound, North Side.
    5. The exposure and additional sports tourism benefits created by the Beach Volleyball component of the sport as shown by Cayman’s participation in and hosting of the annual  NORCECA circuit. 
    6. The CIVF has distributed three volleyball sports courts into the community for development of grassroots volleyball programmes. Lion Centre – 2 courts and First Baptist Gym 1 court. The Federation also has the opportunity, through the NORCECA development programme, to received additional volleyball courts.
    7. Beach Volleyball National Teams have performed well at the-NATWEST Island Games garnering gold and silver medals for the female and make team respectively.
    8. The CIVF President has also been building strong relationships with the regional Governing Body which bodes well for the local development of the sport.
  1. Squash for the following reasons:
    1. To facilitate widened access to this sport in the schools and community.
    2. Cayman has struggled to advance internationally in large team sports due in part to the size of the population and costs associated with obtaining adequate competition overseas. Squash as an individual sport (now offering competition in teams of two) has the proven ability to allow for higher attainment regionally and globally. Squash has recently been selected for the Panam Junior Championships in 2021 in Columbia.
    3. The Cayman Islands have been a regional powerhouse in Squash for many years, producing a number of Caribbean Champions from Dean Knight to Cathryn Tyler to Chantelle Day and Jace and Julian Jervis among others. Cayman has also garnered gold and other medals in squash at the Island Games.
    4. Squash Association uses private facilities that it must rent to facilitate the sport.
    5. Cayman has been host to a number of championships over the years bringing in solid tourism dollars with tournaments such as:
      1. The Caribbean Junior and Senior  Championships
      2. The Cayman Open Squash Tournament
      3. Pan American Squash Championships in 2018
  2. Mr. Speaker seven of the eight sports mentioned above were funded through Purchase Agreements for the 2020 and 2021 financial years. Funding to the governing body of the sixth traditional focus sport, the Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA), was discontinued by the Cabinet several years ago at about the time of the CONCACAF/FIFA scandal involving several local football officials. The Ministry will resume funding to the CIFA as part of this initiative to strengthen the financial foundation of this focus sport and promote its development and recovery. Mister Speaker I have met with the CIFA executive and was impressed with the steps they have taken to strengthen the Governance of the CIFA including undertaking three separate audits on an annual basis. The sport continues to grow from strength to strength and prior to COVID there were female leagues from U 11s to U 18s in addition to the Senior League and similarly with the Boys from U 11s to Senior and Masters Leagues. CIFA has confirmed that we can expect to see increased international competition as part of the development of our national teams. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  1. Several years ago, the Technical Directors of the focus sports who were then hired at the Department of Sports to develop each sport were transferred to the NSAs along with the necessary funding. Where there was no Technical Director at the Department, funding was allocated so that the NSA could hire a Technical Director.  It is therefore a requirement that each focus sport have in place a Technical Director.
  2. The governance documents of each of the focus sports (Constitution or Memorandum and Articles of Association) requires them to present annual audited accounts.
  3. Under Ministry’s reporting policy, each sport association receiving more than $50,000 per annum is also required to submit audited financial accounts.
  4. Several NSAs have represented to the Ministry that the requirements to hire a Technical Director and prepare audited annual accounts is proving difficult for them to achieve with their current revenue streams including the Government grants and what they are able to raise in the private sector and through fundraising efforts.
  5. As a result, the Ministry had suspended several NSAs from funding due to inability to submit audited financial statements and or not providing a Technical Director.  
  6. Mr Speaker a broad break down of the $150,000.00 I annual funding is as follows: 
  1. $75,000.00 to go toward hiring a Technical Director
  2. $15,000.00 to go towards the completion of annual audited accounts
  3. $60,000 to go towards other programming (other than Technical Director)
  4. As part of the increased funding, each NSA will be required to submit updated development plans supported by this funding, bring themselves compliant with their outstanding audits and the hiring of technical directors to lead the development of each sport.

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