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Weeks: Boulevard in a state of emergency

Scrapping Boulevard’s senior programme could help rid the club of their gang-related problems, according to constituency MP Michael Weeks.

Weeks, who represents Pembroke East Central, believes Blazers are in a ‘state of emergency’ and that drastic action must be taken to safeguard their future, starting with disbanding the first team.

The relegation threatened side have been blighted with troubles both on and off the field this campaign.

Last month they were forced to withdraw from the Friendship Trophy due to safety concerns, while last weekend’s fixture against Somerset Trojans was forfeited by the club because of a shortage of players, with many fearful of travelling to the West End.

That fixture had already been switched by the Bermuda Football Association from an evening to a weekend kick-off in an effort to improve safety.

“What I may suggest is that we scrap Boulevard’s senior programme completely,” said Weeks, who is also vice-president of Western Stars Sports Club.

“Their programme has gone downhill, they’re not training, they can’t travel to certain places. Dandy Town and the other clubs don’t have that yet, Boulevard do. Boulevard is really the club affected by this right now.”

Weeks is concerned that certain elements within Boulevard will lead the younger players astray should they stay in that environment too much longer.

And with Blazers almost certain for relegation, having claimed just four points from 13 games this season, Weeks believes now is the ideal time for the club to shift the focus to their young players.

“I’m not saying we should (scrap Boulevard’s first team), but we may have to scrap the first team for a couple of seasons and work on the youth so we can get that element (who are causing problems) out of the game,” said Weeks.

“We need to get rid of that element from around the club so we can concentrate on the under-14s, the under-16s.

“In four or five years time these guys will be ready to get back to the Premier Division, because there’s a lot of skill around Boulevard, so it wouldn’t take long for that group to (get promoted).

Weeks reckons bottom-placed Boulevard are in a false league position because of their gang-related issues, which doesn’t reflect the talent within their squad.

“Boulevard has a storied history and the fact they are bottom of the table is not a reflection of their skill but because they can’t train or go anywhere,” he said.

“From a realistic point of view, Boulevard’s season is over and they are doomed to relegation. But it doesn’t end there because in the First Division the players would still have travel restrictions.”

Weeks was behind a ground-share deal between Dandy Town and Boulevard two years ago after Blazers were left without a home venue while BAA Field underwent artificial resurfacing.

While the decision was not universally popular with many club officials who feared certain elements of both teams would use games to cause trouble, Weeks still believes it important the community work together to tackle gang violence.

“As a club man, if you recall in 2009, I had invited Boulevard to use Dandy Town as their home field and there was a lot of push back from within my club.

“I said from a community point of view, one must look after the other. If the opportunity came again I would reach out because we are one community.”

Earlier this week, Weeks, along with Sports Minister Glenn Blakeney, held an emergency meeting with the BFA in a bid to find some solutions to Blazers’ gang issues.

He described the meeting as productive but didn’t agree with some of the ideas put forward.

“Coming out of that meeting the BFA president (Larry Mussenden) conceded we’ve got some problems,” he said. “We have to incorporate the police more, and some of the things that came out of that meeting I don’t agree with. We have to get our head out of the sand and realise that this is a state of emergency.”

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Published February 09, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated February 09, 2012 at 7:46 am)

Weeks: Boulevard in a state of emergency

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