Bermuda football team to move into SailGP bubble in preparation for World Cup qualifiers
Mark Wade, the president of the Bermuda Football Association, expressed gratitude that the Bermuda Tourism Authority has joined with SailGP and Hamilton Princess Hotel to provide a sports bubble environment for the national team to prepare for Concacaf World Cup qualifying fixtures next month.
Ahead of facing Surinam and Cayman Islands next month, the 20-member squad, as well as team officials, will spend a week at the Hamilton Princess while Government’s mixing-of-households regulations are still in place.
“The national team looks forward to building on their positive result against Aruba in the upcoming matches against Surinam and Cayman Islands next month,” Wade said.
“Being able to establish our training bubble at the Hamilton Princess is an enormous boost for our preparations.
“We are delighted to be presented with this opportunity which will help reduce the risk of virus exposure while creating a training environment that keeps the team members together. The collaboration between SailGP, the BTA and Hamilton Princess is a demonstration of what can be achieved when the community works together to benefit football.”
Organisers of the recent Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess provided a successfully executed bubble environment for 64 elite athletes as well as separate bubbles for support team members.
Bubble environments, which require daily health reports and regular testing, are designed to reduce the risk of Covid transmission. The SailGP bubble was adapted for Bermuda in consultation with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sport, and the BTA.
Tinée Furbert, the acting sports minister, acknowledged the many challenges facing the national team ahead of their qualifying matches.
“It has been a challenging year for us all, yet when Bermuda gathered virtually to support our national team against Canada and Aruba, we were reminded of the power of sport to inspire national unity,” Furbert said.
“That’s why we applaud the national team bubble contribution, realised through the generosity of SailGP, Hamilton Princess and the Bermuda Tourism Authority.
“In addition, Bermuda Sail Grand Prix has demonstrated its community values through its work with our local sailing clubs and the Inspire Bermuda youth sailing programme. And this initiative serves to further showcase the value of engaging community-centred international partners in Bermuda.”
Russell Coutts, SailGP chief executive, said they were more than happy to lend their support to the cause of the Bermuda team after a successful event in the Great Sound. “We owe a huge thanks to the people of Bermuda,” Coutts said.
“These are challenging times, and it is through everyone’s support, and that of our partners, that we managed to put on such a spectacular show in a safe way. So, when we learnt that Bermuda’s national team was preparing for two key Concacaf matches, we reached out to our local partners to help support their efforts and knowledge-share.
“We are delighted that we have been able to contribute to Bermuda in this way and wish the team the very best of luck.”
The national team will play two remaining first-round fixtures against Surinam and the Cayman Islands on June 4 and 8 respectively.
While the fixture against Cayman Island has been moved to Bradenton, Florida, it is still to be determined if the Surinam match will be rescheduled from the Dutch-Caribbean island.
Hamilton Princess general manager Tim Morrison, said the hotel was also happy to make their rooms available for a good cause.
“Our partnership with SailGP as title sponsor has been tremendously rewarding,” he said.
“The organisation has demonstrated a phenomenal commitment to Bermuda through its work in the community, including its climate-positive initiatives and Inspire Programme.
“We are delighted to again partner with them to support our national team’s Concacaf journey.
“We understand that sport can be a formidable force for national unity and are proud to host Bermuda’s footballers as they prepare to represent us on the world stage.”
New BTA chief executive Charles Jeffers II, added: “It’s beautiful to see the power of our partnerships in action, particularly when the impact goes beyond core economic metrics.
“During the pandemic, bubbled sports tourism emerged as a reliable segment of our tourism economy, even as traditional segments have softened. “In addition, this initiative will support Bermuda’s national football team and reveals another layer of value and community engagement that has materialised through our partnership.”The BFA will announce broadcast viewing options that may be available for Bermuda audiences for the two upcoming qualifying matches.
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