Sport

'We want help!'

JaVA president Steve Brown pleads for corporate support to take sport to the next level

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, January 16, 2014    

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IMPROVED financial support. It is the seemingly eternal plea from cash-strapped sporting bodies as they look to sustain development thrusts, while supporting the participation of respective national teams in regional and international competitions.

Sporting disciplines seen as lesser or which lack a certain high profile and glamour have an even more uphill task.

Steve Brown, the recently elected president of the Jamaica Volleyball Association (JaVA), was straightforward when he addressed the Jamaica Observer Sports Club at the tabloid's Beechwood Avenue headquarters yesterday.

"We want help. The challenge we have in terms of moving the sport forward is that corporate Jamaica tends not to get involved in a minor sport because they feel they wouldn't get enough mileage," he said.

Brown framed his comments against the backdrop of a busy 2014 calendar that, he says, pushes the association's budget "in excess of $25 million".

The men's and women's senior teams are expected to compete in the Caribbean Volleyball Championships in Trinidad & Tobago in the summer.

In May, the women's team is scheduled to travel to Canada to play-off for a spot at the World Championships. That Championships is to be held in Italy late this year.

According to Brown, the state-run Sports Development Foundation (SDF) provides a monthly subvention that amounts to a little over $2-million per annum.

"We don't know how much we'll get [this year], but presently they [the SDF] give us a subvention of $174,000 per month. And you have to pay backroom staff and support staff and deal with these sort of things. We submitted a budget before the World Championships. We hope they can assist us significantly."

There is also help from world governing body, FIVB, through the regional confederation, NORCECA, but Brown said that is not a given.

"They [FIVB] provide for us through the regional body, NORCECA. They assist with gear, equipment, and sometimes they assist with airfare. Sometimes they assist and sometimes they don't," he outlined.

Put into the mix the normal daily running of the association, based at the National Arena in Kingston.

Even a long distance assessment suggests the shortfall is gaping.

JusBet has sponsored the local Beach Volleyball competition, however, there is some uncertainty ahead of the upcoming season following the betting company's recent announcement that there will be a cutting back of sponsorship. Brown's hope is that JusBet "will come back on board this year".

In court volleyball, the association is looking for funding for its men's and women's club leagues.

But Brown, who has ties to the UWI Volleyball Club team, explained that an active operation has started in this administration's two-year tenure.

"We are trying to get sponsors. Yes, we have a marketing team working. We have people who are non-volleyball players who are on our marketing committee.

"We are employing a programme like the JFF [Jamaica Football Federation] did for [the Reggae Boyz successful World Cup campaign] 1998... an adopt-a-player scheme. We will be approaching the employers of some of these players and we'll be approaching individuals," he said.

The JaVA president was partnered by national senior women's coach Gatasheu Bonner, women's player Kamille Dwyer and men's captain Dellan Brown during yesterday's forum.

Brown, a deputy superintendent of Police, was unchallenged for the post of JaVA boss after Major Warrenton Dixon, the president of the previous four years, opted not to seek re-election late last year.

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