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BFA never asked us to move game – Hiscox

Ready to talk: Speight, left, and Mussenden arrive at Devonshire Recreation Club ahead of yesterday’s hastily-called meeting (Photograph by Stephen Wright)

Bermuda could still end up playing next weekend’s Caribbean Cup second-round match against Dominican Republic at the National Stadium after all.

With the venue already booked for an exhibition rugby match and the North Field hosting the Hiscox Celebrity Cricket Festival during the day, it looked as though Bermuda would have to play in front of fewer than 2,000 spectators in a night game at the North Field.

Tickets for the game went on sale yesterday, although the Bermuda Football Association, which has spent the past week sourcing seating for the match, said the exact number of seats available was “still to be determined”.

Last night, however, Hiscox Ltd said the BFA “can have whatever they want, whenever they want, they just have to ask”, paving the way for the potentially decisive fixture to be switched to the home of Bermudian football.

An urgent meeting had been held earlier yesterday at Devonshire Recreation Club after several BFA-affiliated clubs took exception to the Caribbean Cup match not being held at the National Stadium.

Bizarrely, Hiscox said not only had it not been invited to the meeting, attended by both the BFA and Bermuda Cricket Board, but it had not been contacted about the conflict surrounding next Saturday’s sporting clashes.

“The strange thing is that nobody has ever called us to ask us to do anything, we are completely blindsided by it,” said Jeremy Pinchin, the Hiscox chief executive officer.

“Because of what I read [in The Royal Gazette] I rang up Neil Speight at the Bermuda Cricket Board and said, ‘I entirely understand that whilst our cricket is really important, Bermuda playing an international football match in a tournament of this kind is absolutely the most important thing on the agenda.

“There is no question that we wouldn’t move heaven and earth to make sure that we do all we can to make sure that goes ahead at the right time.

“The challenge for me is that nobody has ever called us, nobody has ever asked us to do anything. We will do whatever we need to do. This is a charity event, but football has to come first given the size of the match; we understand that.”

Pinchin said another meeting will be held today between Hiscox Ltd, the BCB, the BFA and the National Sports Centre’s board of trustees to finally solve the issue.

“We haven’t said no and we would never say no,” said Pinchin, who pointed out that last year’s cricket festival was moved so as not to clash with Bermuda’s World Cup qualifying warm-up match against Puerto Rico at the National Stadium.

“Football has to be the most important thing, and rugby and cricket are determined to work together to do whatever we can to fix it.”

The organisers of the rugby match between the Bermuda Barbarians and Aviva Premiership side Harlequins are also willing to switch their event to the North Field, freeing up the National Stadium to host Bermuda’s football match.

“I’ve spoken to Gareth Nokes at the rugby, and he also says they will do everything,” Pinchin added. “In my view, the football has to come first.”

At the conclusion of last night’s 1½-hour meeting, no decision was made to change the venues.

Alfred Maybury, the Somerset Cricket Club president, was among those who attended the meeting along with Speight, the BCB chief executive officer, Larry Mussenden, the BFA president, David Sabir, the BFA general secretary, and Sean Tucker, the chairman of the NSC’s board of trustees.

“There has been no change [to the venues],” Maybury said. “It was a productive meeting and we’re working to keep things going so everyone is happy.

“Nobody discussed [withdrawing from the cricket festival], we didn’t have that discussion.”

The BFA would have to cover the costs of upgrading the North Field to host the game against Dominican Republic. Initially the CFU had agreed to Bermuda’s request to move next Saturday’s game to June 7, however, Dominican Republic were already scheduled to play French Guiana in the final group four match on that date.

At a meeting between the BFA, their French Guiana and Dominican Republic counterparts, and CFU officials in Mexico City during this month’s Concacaf Congress, the other two countries in Bermuda’s group objected to the decision.

As a result, the BFA had only four days to rearrange a match that will be crucial to the island’s hopes of progressing any farther in the competition.

Bermuda are scheduled to play French Guiana in their opening group game in Cayenne next Wednesday.

• Concacaf named Philippe Moggio, the former NBA executive, as its new general secretary yesterday as it continued to try to clean up its act after years of turmoil.

Moggio, a former Colombia Davis Cup tennis player, was named two weeks after Victor Montagliani, the Canada Soccer Association president, was elected president of Concacaf, which governs football in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

“The key appointment of Philippe Moggio as general secretary adds yet another layer of stability to our business operations,” Montagliani said.

Moggio, who was the NBA’s senior vice-president for Latin America, will be responsible for the day-to-day running of Concacaf and implementing reforms passed in February.

“My focus is to continue implementing the reforms, while leading the front office in strengthening our business performance to further position Concacaf as a leading sports organisation,” said Moggio, who also holds French citizenship.

Concacaf said that during his time at the NBA, Moggio, formerly an investment banker, oversaw “unprecedented commercial and developmental success in Latin America and the Caribbean”.