Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Wilks: SDF doing its best with money it gets

Published:Sunday | January 22, 2017 | 1:00 AMRachid Parchment
Nicole Grant-Brown
Denzil Wilks, general manager, Sports Development Foundation.
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Sports Development Foundation's (SDF) general manager, Denzil Wilks, has revealed that the entity does not have enough money to fund all the nation's various sporting associations, but it is doing its best with the allocation it gets.

In 2014, the foundation had a budget of just under $160 million to work with, but this was increased to just under $217 million for 2015. Last year's figure, however, saw a decrease on 2015's allocation by $26 million and as a result, Wilks has said that he is unsure whether the budget for 2017 will be more, less or a similar figure to 2016.

"It is a wholly inadequate budget, resulting in serious challenges for decision-making," Wilks said.

Sport Minister Olivia Grange said that she also finds the budget a challenge for both the ministry and the foundation to work with. "The SDF's demands are great and, at times, we have to say no to some people," she said.

Officials of some associations have been seeking alternate means to fund their budgets.

The Jamaica Amateur Gymnastics Association (JAGA) receives $107,000 per month from the SDF. Its president, Nicole Grant-Brown, said that this money goes towards paying officials and association debts.

She said that because the money provided by the SDF is not enough, JAGA has had to partner with private clubs to make ends meet, as she describes it.

"Some of our programmes for the primary and basic school meets are in collaboration with the Jamaica School of Gymnastics (JSG)," Grant-Brown added.

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She said another way that JAGA will look to generate revenue is to partner with JSG to sell advertising space on billboards in the gym (which is still in its construction phase), to raise some of the funds needed.

The Jamaica Rugby League Association (JRLA) receives $88,000 per month from the SDF. Its director, Romeo Monteith, said that given the level of funds needed to cover the cost of its affairs, fundraising efforts would not really go a far way in making up the shortfall.

"Subvention (from the SDF) does everything for us locally," Monteith said. "The simple fact is that when you look at what your major cost is, which is your international games, you're looking at 20 tickets and hotels, so you're looking at close to $1.5 million on average and there are very few fundraisers that can raise that money, to be honest."

The JRLA was formed in 2005, but started competing internationally four years later. Monteith said that the association has an international grant, which is used to cover the cost of the senior men's team's travels as it is the only team which plays internationally. To save money, the JRLA's senior team travels once a year and while there are teams which are based abroad, a British-based Jamaican team famously beat Ireland 68-16 and drew 16-16 with Wales last year.