‘It’s going to be difficult’
General Manager Wilks aware of challenges for funding from SDF in 2023
Sports Development Foundation (SDF) General Manager Denzil Wilks is already cognisant of the huge task that the entity will have to assist Jamaican teams in a packed sports calendar for 2023. But he said he is hoping that, for the new fiscal year,...
Sports Development Foundation (SDF) General Manager Denzil Wilks is already cognisant of the huge task that the entity will have to assist Jamaican teams in a packed sports calendar for 2023. But he said he is hoping that, for the new fiscal year, they will be able to help the various sporting associations prepare for major international competitions.
Wilks’ anticipation of the difficulties comes even as the SDF continues to provide support, most recently a $600,000 sponsorship for the Camperdown Classic meet scheduled for February 11, at their launch on Monday.
Among the major competitions Jamaica will compete in this year are the World Athletics Championships, the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Netball World Cup, as well World Lacrosse Men’s Championships. Wilks said, with Jamaica now on the other side of the pandemic, he expects that this will be a difficult year to assist teams in major competitions.
“It’s going to be difficult. It is difficult. We are already feeling it,” Wilks said. He added that help from the private sector or any other entity would be welcomed, not just in terms of sponsorship on their own but to help the SDF with additional funding. “But, after COVID-19, it really is an outpouring of activities and seems to be almost overwhelming,” Wilks added. “We are in there, we are navigating. We are trying to see as much as possible how we can spread ... but the challenges are tremendous.”
Wilks, in March 2022, quoted a budget of $650 million that they were allocated for sporting activities, a budget that he expected to be stretched especially with the return of non-traditional sports such as boxing, volleyball, and badminton. As the fiscal year begins to wind down, Wilks said that they will have to wait until April to determine how much more they will have available to work with. While acknowledging that their allocation is never ideal, they are hoping to remain of assistance to the various sports teams.
“Fortunately, in their wisdom, the Ministry of Finance allows us to operate as a calendar year. So, yes, we do have to wait until April to know what we have but there is a continuity that takes place because we know that, in the first quarter of the calendar year, things (events) are of such (intensity),” Wilks said. “So we have prepared. Our budget is never what we want it to be but, overall, we have an indication of what things are likely to be. I wouldn’t want to pre-empt and call figures. We will await the Ministry of Finance. But we do have a carryover amount that we can use between now and then.”
Sport Minister Olivia Grange said that her office is committed to getting more financial assistance to provide more for athletes, as well as more initiatives to meet the challenges.
“We have been very prudent with the funds that we have received for sports. We have been able to maximise and stretch the funds to do a lot of things, for example, the success that our athletes have had with our insurance plan (Athletes Insurance Plan). We will continue to advocate for more money and to introduce more programmes to assist them,” Grange said.