Left to right: Kelvin Adderley, BAFF Post-grad representative and BYF Assistant Commissioner for Grand Bahama; LaLisa Anthony, President BAFF; Stanford Duhaney, BAFF Secretary and Director of Football Development. (Photo: Mackey Media Ltd / TheBahamasWeekly.com)
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - After a press conference held in Nassau this past Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 concerning Tackle and Flag Football Leagues in the Bahamas, another press conference was held today in Freeport. The following is what Ms. LaLisa Anthony presented:
My name is LaLisa Anthony.
I am the elected president of the Bahamas American Football Federation
The BAFF wishes to acknowledge and respond to the concerns
raised by the adult tackle and flag American football programs in The Bahamas,
specifically the members of the Commonwealth American Football League (CAFL),
the Bahamas Flag Football League (BFFL), the Grand Bahama Flag Football League
(GBFFL), and the Abaco Flag Football League (AFFL) in their joint press
conference aired, in part, on Wednesday, September 9, 2015, on ZNS Sports and
also posted on Youtube in its full recording.
This collective group, especially the CAFL with the most
longevity of any organized American football entity in the country, has success
in American football competitions on the three islands of Abaco, Grand Bahama,
and New Providence. The BAFF supports
their efforts to create unified adult tackle and flag football leagues throughout
the Bahamas. This unification would be
in full alignment with the BAFF mission and subsequently support what the
International Federation of American Football has targeted as one of their key
initiatives as it continues to develop the sport of American football
throughout the world.
The mission of the BAFF is to utilize empowerment model
programs that allow for all of its Affiliates to establish and maintain the
resources and support necessary to sustain their grassroots community-based
initiatives. Additionally, the BAFF has
key areas of focus that include:
Personal development; social development; educational/career
development; and spiritual development.
To date, the BAFF has Affiliates in the tackle youth and
junior levels with the Bahamas Youth Football and Bahamas Junior Football
programs and has been diligently working toward solidifying affiliation with
the adult American football entities throughout the country since its existence,
which began in 2008. We have made great
progress with the Abaco Flag Football League as it became a BAFF Conditional
Affiliate on June 13, 2015, pending the submission of additional
documentation. That documentation was
submitted on August 28 and the AFFL Affiliation will be voted on by the BAFF at
the next meeting scheduled for September 13.
To this point, when the adult tackle and flag football
entities throughout the islands are unified, individual island leagues,
associations, programs, etc. affiliations will no longer be necessary and this
would definitely position the adult American football entities to be stronger
in their quests toward the sport’s growth and development throughout the
country. This is in place with the tackle
youth program, Bahamas Youth Football, which is currently underway on four
islands – Abaco, Bimini, Grand Bahama, and New Providence, all under the same
program name, structure and operation.
As resources are secured, the BAFF will support the junior tackle
program to also develop in this manner.
To be clear, the BAFF does not operate teams during regular
seasons and competitions. BAFF provides
guidance and initiatives to assist its Affiliates in establishing, building and
sustaining community coalitions to support its Affiliates to actively
participate in positive development programs in their respective communities
and throughout the country. The only
teams directly under BAFF supervision would be the national teams, like the
junior national team that traveled to Panama in 2009 to compete in the regional
competition for the IFAF Junior World Championship.
Similarly, the BAFF currently planning to host the IFAF 2016
Flag World Championship in Grand Bahama, September 7-12, 2016, is preparing to
organize national adult men and women’s flag football teams to compete among
the anticipated 20-25 IFAF member countries planning to attend and
compete. With this, the BAFF is working with
the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism to bring the current adult flag football
entities together to discuss this tremendous opportunity for the sport, MOT- Sport
Tourism, Grand Bahama, and the nation as a whole. The meeting is scheduled for September 19,
2015 at 10:00am in Grand Bahama and official invitation was sent to the three adult
flag football entities – AFFL, GBFFL, and the BFFL on September 3.
To the primary point of the previous press conference, it is
a brilliant advancement for the adult flag football entities to be working
toward unification; it will afford one body to serve as administrators of the
adult flag football which will streamline all processes and support the
continued growth and development of the sport throughout the country.
This is a major focus for the BAFF as it has recently
completed an American Football Development Feasibility Study. Specifically, it is the primary goal of the BAFF
to ensure that American football is spread throughout the country of The
Bahamas. BAFF has reviewed the data from
the Bahamas Department of Statistics (18-Feb-2015)
in order assess the population by various age groupings to determine the levels
and forms of American football that will be best suited for each of the islands
of The Bahamas. With this, taking a look
at the primary targeted group for this press conference, adult men and women flag
football: the BAFF has found that
although the sport has grown to great levels on three islands, there is
potential for the sport to be played on fifteen islands. Unification would lead to further growth and
development, inclusion of more family islands, and additional opportunities for
hosting and competing, both inter-island and internationally, all of which is
encouraged and supported by the BAFF.
the BAFF is encouraged by the current dialogue from the adult American football
entities. It has, on numerous occasions
through the past seven years, approached these same groups to become BAFF
Affiliates and to work toward the growth and development of the sport –
players, coaches, and administrators.
The BAFF receives a wealth of support and resources from American
football training and development groups such as the American Football Coaches
Association, coach clinics, the BAFF Technical Advisory, and IFAF. BAFF works diligently to implement the proven
models presented by each of these entities as well as during the IFAF Technical
and Strategic meetings and discussed during the IFAF World Congress. If the BAFF has not met all of the needs of
any American football entity in The Bahamas, it is not because of lack of effort,
it is due to lack of financial wherewithal and unified support.
Did the BAFF ignore
the invitation to meet with the CAFL, AFFL, BFFL, and the GBFFL in Nassau on
September 8, 2015?
No. The BAFF responded
directly to President of the BFFL, Mr. Jayson Clarke, that the BAFF with the
support of the Ministry of Tourism had scheduled a meeting with the adult flag
football entities in the country. That
meeting, as stated earlier, is scheduled for Saturday, September 19, in Grand
Bahama. Both the AFFL and the GBFFL
responded that they would not be attending.
There has not been a response from the BFFL received to date.
Do you see BAFF as a
hindrance in the growth and development of the sport of American football?
No. The BAFF is the
national governing body, which was confirmed August 31, 2015 by the Ministry of
Tourism is it letter to the IFAF in full support of the BAFF serving as host of
the IFAF 2016 Flag Football World Championship.
As the national governing body, the BAFF is not charged with the day-to-day
operation of the sport leagues, associations, clubs, etc. It is the responsibility of the various
leagues, associations, clubs, etc. to determine and work toward, in alignment
with their local resources, how much the sport grows and develops. Therefore, although the BAFF may serve as a
conduit, it is the primary task of these groups to grow the sport throughout
The CAFL, AFFL, BFFL,
and GBFFL have called into question the validity and credibility of the
BAFF. What support can the BAFF offer to
substantiate its standing with the IFAF?
The BAFF has never lost its standing with the IFAF, is in ‘Good
Standing,’ and this can be verified by the IFAF. If it was not in ‘Good Standing’,
the BAFF would not be eligible to host the IFAF 2016 Flag Football World
Championship, the bid was won in 2010 during the IFAF World Congress in Ottawa
Canada. Further, IFAF, as the
international governing body of American football supports its members in their
early years as they are well aware of most of the nuances and plights of newly
organized federations. With this,
although there are criteria to be met and maintained, countries such as The
Bahamas (with membership for seven (7) years) that are fairly new to the IFAF
membership are mentored to become thriving members rather than punished for not
meeting standards that would commonly be found in more established member
countries, such as the USA, Canada, Mexico, and most European member countries.
Was there an election
held to place you, LaLisa Anthony, into the office of President as well as the
other BAFF Executive Body?
Yes. When the BAFF
was first formed under the direction of Attorney Paulette Roache in 2008, there
was an election held and vote carried.
Subsequently, there was an Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in 2010,
again with an election and voting by the membership at that time. During the election years of 2012 and 2014,
there was no AGM and no election due to minimal ‘New Business’ during that
period. The BAFF Directorate unanimously
agreed, both years in December, to continue to work toward developing the
federation and building the BAFF membership.
The next AGM is scheduled for December 2016.
How will the BAFF
assist with the organization of ‘legitimate’ Bahamian American football leagues
throughout the country?
As stated earlier, the BAFF provides guidance and support
toward the individual league endeavors to organize, grow and develop. That guidance and support are not
financial. American football is not a
full IOC recognized sport and does not receive stipend from the IOC or the
Bahamas government. All monies spent
thus far for the development and sustainability of the BAFF, especially
traveling the junior team to Panama, has been from corporate sponsors and
personal funds of its members, with the exception of one year, 2010, of
Affiliate dues totaling $500 from the Bahamas Youth Football program and the
Grand Bahama Flag Football Bahamas. Also,
although it is not its practice, through a very generous gift from the Popeye’s
Bahamas Bowl entities – Popeye’s, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference, and
ESPN with training support from USA Football, the BAFF has agreed to oversee a
three year pilot youth football program, the newly aligned Bahamas Youth
Football Program underway on four island – Abaco, Bimini, Grand Bahama, and New
What the BAFF offers and makes readily available is unlimited
opportunities to develop the sport of American football by ensuring proper
trainings for administrators, coaches, and officials, with key focuses on player
health and safety. BAFF offers unlimited
opportunities to compete with any IFAF member country at all levels and forms –
youth, junior, and adult, men, women, tackle, flag, and hopefully soon, beach
flag. BAFF also offers economic growth
opportunities through hosting American football events such as the IFAF 2016
Flag Football World Championship, the pending IMG Academy sanctioned qualifying
7v7 tournament scheduled for March 2016 in Grand Bahama, and other tournaments
in all forms and levels. Further, BAFF
offers, as a major focus of the current membership, a means for the youth,
under age 19, to positively develop utilizing American football as a vehicle
toward personal, social, educational and spiritual development that will lead
to these same youth maturing into productive adult members of the Bahamian
Bahamas Department of Statistics, Key Statistics, Population & Census of
Population of Sex & Age retrieved from Website: http://statistics.bahamas.gov.bs/key.php?cat=13&page=4