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(Audio) Bahamas American Football Federation clears the air
By Bahamas American Football Federation (BAFF)
Sep 11, 2015 - 4:44:59 PM

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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 (BAFF).

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)[1] 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.

In closing, 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.

QUESTIONS:

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 country.

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 Providence.

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 society.

 



[1] 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




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