Wed, May

CHRIS he has invested some US$8.5 million developing regional Island Cup Open

Sports Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange has given her Government's blessing for the staging of the inaugural Island Cup Open (ISCO), a franchise football tournament set to kick off in the summer of 2021 in Jamaica and nine other franchises across the region, Central and South America, including Brazil.

The private franchises are owned by investors branded under the respective countries.

“It is definitely something that we endorse,” Grange told the Jamaica Observer.

“But it is difficult to give you details on things because we are now revisiting everything and restructuring and rescheduling,” she said.

According to Trinidadian native Chris Anderson, who is chief financial officer and chairman of Caribbean Football Trust Limited (CFTL) and owner of ISCO, most of the governments and football federations within the participating nations have already given the thumbs up to the tournament.

“ISCO has gotten the endorsement of the Jamaica Government and Jamaica [Football Federation] endorsement. We have gotten Antigua endorsement. We are now in final negotiations with several other federations and governments and we are very optimistic. So we are getting there. It is a long journey, but we are getting there. And we are very optimistic,” said Anderson.

The former Trinidad and Tobago International disclosed that in the past 17 to 18 years he has invested US$8.5 million “in developing this project”.

“It is long overdue. This has been a passion of mine for years creating a short 12-team international football tournament on Caribbean soil, not a league. I am motivated to help the underprivileged youths and their families in the region.

“ISCO is designed as a charitable campaign through its own established charity, KICK POVERTY OUT, which is set up to focus on supporting...meals and nutrition before and after school, recreation and sports equipment for use during and after school, ISCO Books-to-Go support within the communities, academic scholarships, structural development, aid victims of hurricane, earthquake, hunger and under privilege youth and their families with financial support,” Anderson stated.

“The Rome Vatican has already expressed their support to our charitable campaign KICK POVERTY OUT, so its very positive. Our company CFTL will be giving back 45 per cent of all our profits to KICK POVERTY OUT,” he went on.

Anderson disclosed that franchises have so far secured players, the likes of former England and Liverpool goalkeeper David James; former England and Manchester City's Joleon Lescott; Manchester City, Barcelona and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure; and Cameroonian football star Samuel Eto'o.

Also as coaches, are England former England internationals Sol Campbell, Andy Cole, along with former England Head Coach Sven Goran Erikson, former Brazil International Roque Junior; France internationals William Gallas and Vincent Candela; Italian international Marco Simone and T&T team Coach Everald Gally Cummings, among others.

“Legend players and players who have retired from international representation of their countries will be coming from all over of the world. Players will be coming from China. There will be at least 10 players from China participating in this; from France, Italy, England, USA, Brazil, Spain, Japan, from Iraq, Iran, Africa, Asia, India, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Phillipines will be infused with local Pan Caribbean players who are not engaged with their countries national team participation in any Fifa and Concacaf competitions and are of the highest quality,” Anderson noted.

He revealed that the tournament was scheduled to shoot off earlier this year, but those plans had to be railroaded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anderson, however, noted that currently the tentative start date for the championship is late next summer.

“Beyond 2021 we looking at a May through August schedule, normally, but for 2021 we will look and see how the COVID new protocols standards are and we will go from there,” Anderson argued.

“But we can tell you that late summer 2021 there will be Island Cup. But it's unreal now to say a definitive date at this moment,” he ended.

SOURCE: Jamaica Observer