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BFA president Mark Wade calls for social issues to be addressed

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Edward "Ice Water" Smith, who formed and coached Ireland Rangers, Football Club in Dockyard, was one of five who received an Order of Merit from the BFA for their long service to football at the awards ceremony on Saturday night. Pictured with Smith are Mark Wade, the BFA president and Ernest Peets, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport. (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)
Shervin Dill, president of North Village, shares in the success of his nephews, Marco Warren and Enrique Russell of PHC who won MVP and top goalscorer awards at the BFA Awards on Saturday night (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Mark Wade, the Bermuda Football Association president, made an emotional plea to those attending the BFA Awards on Saturday night to do more to address social issues in our community.

Earlier this season, the BFA introduced the ‘One Team’ initiative to tackle antisocial behaviour in the wider community and at football matches.

Wade challenged those at the ceremony at City Hall to “do more to address the three pandemics in Bermuda, violence, antisocial behaviour and road traffic accidents”.

“Tonight the theme I’m going to talk about is, ‘One Team’, some of you may remember the banners that we put up before games,” he said.

“We started the campaign because we needed to use the voice of football to speak loudly against antisocial behaviour, violence and of course road traffic accidents.

“Among the BFA executives and club administrators we have another programme that we’re running called ‘Changing the Landscape’.

“One might argue that the landscape is not so bright, some would say it is dark, in fact last month for me personally it was very dark.”

Wade was referring to the recent deaths of Jason Lee, of Wolves, and Freddy Hall, the former St George’s Colts goalkeeper, to road crashes.

“I attended the funeral of Jason Lee and his brother said ‘we need to turn this pain into purpose’,” Wade added. “For me this is a call to action, we need to turn this pain into purpose. So I question, what are you going to do?

“We came here to celebrate all that is good in football but before that I’m making this plea for action. My question again is what are you going to do, to help address what I call the three pandemics”

“These plagues are not limited to our young men, a disproportionate, yes, but for me we must extend ourselves beyond putting one foot in front of the other.”

Wade added: “I’m asking for more, that we do something. If you are not working with our young people, do it.

“If you are working with our young people, I’m asking you to do more, because this is where we are in our country.

“Coach, mentor young people; if you are a religious person take that religion into an organisation and let your light shine.

“If you are a tutor I am demanding more from you, if you are a tradesman, take a young man or a young lady under your wing and teach them a trade.

“If you are in the corporate community, open your office, bring a young person into your office and show them what it is that you do. Let your light shine.

“I came here to celebrate all that is good in football, but let’s start by celebrating all of those who are not here with us.

“Right here, right now, stand on your feet and celebrate all those persons who we lost Osagi [Bascome], Jahtino [Richardson-Martin], Jason, Freddy and anybody else that we lost and let them know that we miss them.

“Let them know that we commit to doing something in their honour to address the problems that we have in our country.”

Young players were recognised for their accomplishments throughout the season, with awards such as young player of the year in both the Premier Division and First Division, defensive player of the year, as well as awards for young referee, youth referee and referee of the year.

Marco Warren of PHC, who was voted player of the year for a second time in four seasons, spoke in a Royal Gazette article in March about the state of the game locally while offering suggestions on how he thought it could be improved.

“In that interview, I said something that was very important to me; I look around at the state of our environment and I feel like sports can help mend our environment.” the PHC captain said after receiving his award. “Seeing the state of our league and the interest level being at an all-time low I feel that hurts the state of our country.

“I feel if we can fix our league then we can fix our country, because sport has saved many lives. It saved mine, it changed mine.”

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Published May 11, 2022 at 8:02 am (Updated May 11, 2022 at 8:02 am)

BFA president Mark Wade calls for social issues to be addressed

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