PORT-OF-SPAIN, April 18, 2017 – Professional football is coming to the Caribbean in the form of the Islands Cup Open, a brand-new tournament – coined ‘the biggest football festival in the world’ – which will feature a number of franchise clubs from across the region.
The tournament was officially launched on Tuesday at a press conference at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex in Barbados.
A variety of iconic names are tipped to take part in the Islands Cup Open in both playing and coaching capacities.
Clarence Seedorf, John Barnes, Russell Latapy and Everald Cummings are several names in negotiations to be involved on the management front, while the likes of Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Florent Maloudahave been tapped to play in the tournament. They will be classed as ‘Marquee Managers/Players’.
The tournament is the brainchild of Trinbagonian businessman and former footballer, Chris Anderson, who is the CEO of Caribbean Football Trust Limited (CFTL) – a Barbados registered company with offices in Orlando, Florida and Toronto.
The inaugural season will be strictly promotional and used to generate interest and momentum moving forward. It is set to take place this summer from 6-16 July at the national stadiums of Dominica, Suriname, St Lucia and St Vincent & the Grenadines, respectively.
The five franchise clubs that will be competing in the inaugural season are: Combine Islands, Trinbago Oilers, Barbados Challengers, Suriname Gladiators and Jamaica Ruffnecks.
The first competitive season will kick off in June 2018 and last for three months, featuring eight franchises placed in two separate conferences, each split into a group of four.
A maximum of 12 franchises will be established within the first three years of the tournament’s existence. All squads will include 50% of domestic players.
With games scheduled during the Carnival season on some participating islands, the Islands Cup Open will deliver a sports tourism product that will showcase the Caribbean as the festival hub of the world, featuring performances by the region’s top artistes.
The event will also have a significant charitable component. The Islands Cup Open will engage various members of the Heads of States within the Pan- Caribbean through the efforts of the United Nations to participate in the “KICK POVERTY OUT” campaign.
This campaign will focus on targeted youth and families within the region in an effort to restore hope and define a clear vision for their future.
Anderson believes one of the overarching reasons behind the tournament’s creation is to provide young Caribbean players with professional football opportunities that many currently don’t have.
“Let me first emphasize what this venture means to our young men in the Pan-Caribbean,” he said. “This is an opportunity to fulfil their dream to ply their trade in the comfort of the Pan-Caribbean atmosphere with in a developed and cultivated professional tournament with major marquee players and coaches. This opportunity also allows them to earn an unprecedented salary amount and in so doing make a significant contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of their country.”
The organisers look forward to the Islands Cup Open having a significant effect on the growth of the Caribbean game, signalling exciting times for football in the Caribbean.
CFTL Islands Cup Open Image 1 from left: Russell Latapy, Barbados Challengers Franchise Head Coach, Chris Anderson, Chairman/CFO, Roland Butcher, Head of Coaches UWI Cave Hill Campus Barbados, and Lenny Taylor,Technical Director Islands Cup.
CFTL Islands Cup Open Image 2 from left: Rivaldo, Player/Asst Coach in ISLANDS CUP, and Chris Anderson, Chairman/CFO.