The local Olympic Committee chief said, “I don’t think it is right if we have a sponsor like Addidas for instance, who provides for example, uniforms valued at about 5 million dollars; that they should be required to pay the government over 50,000 in taxes, although the country was provided with the much needed uniforms for its various teams free of cost.”
Bridgewater is of the opinion that it is about time that “We move towards the process of trying to create some sort of charitable legislation, where people who spend this level of money, could get something back in return. When we get for example from the International Olympic Committee, IOC, any sum of money to run an organization, we should not have to take out half a million dollars of that money for VAT, to pay for items that have been provided free of cost to the country. This could eventually cause the IOC and others to ask, if we are giving money to run your associations, why is the government demanding the payment of such high levels of taxes?”
To reinforce his point, Bridgewater repeated his displeasure that it is not right for the government to charge VAT on millions of dollars of free uniforms that are provided each year by Addidas to sporting bodies such as football, basketball, athletics, tennis, volleyball, and others.
The NOA president however used his address at the recent media briefing for the current CFU U-23 Olympic Qualifiers, on Wednesday, 20th July, 2011, to also praise government for its tremendous investment in sporting infrastructure generally, over the past decade.
Bridgewater also had high commendation for the St. Kitts & Nevis Football Association, SKNFA, for their proven abilities in hosting major events, such as the CFU Qualifiers. There are various tasks that the association performs well, and event management is one of those and there are many lessons that other associations can learn from SKNFA, said Mr. Bridgewater.
“The tournament is not only an opportunity for the teams and countries to showcase their skills but also to build friendships and networking,” stated the NOA leader.
He said he sees the series of games, not only as an event, but also as a program that is inclusive of many other events at various levels, including the U-17, U-20 and now the U-23 football tournament; because one age group feeds in to the other.” The former National Football coach, pointed out that his Olympic Committee has provided financial support for the various levels of football, amounting to over EC$80,000 in the past four years.
In addition, the NOA has provided support for uniforms for the various teams. He said the NOA also puts a lot of emphasis on training the officials not only in the skills of their particular sport but for more general life experiences and activities that can result in the overall development of the individual, in such a manner that their new skills can be applied both on and off of the field.
Bridges, as he is affectionately called, said as a consequence of the training, the public should be able to identify the differences in the attitude, approach, personality, and dress of the beneficiaries, compared to those who may not have benefited from the same exposure of training, as provided by the NOA.
He added that part of his association’s goal is to see people attain jobs, not only as professional players but also as coaches and trainers.
“That is the reason why beyond the EC$80,000, beyond the expenditure and investment in uniforms, we also provide training for the coaches and referees; and every single coach in football, over the past 10 years has been exposed to some level of training in Hungary, Brazil, Columbia or elsewhere, ‘outlined Mr. Bridgewater.
Before the ceremony ended, the NOA President demonstrated just how supportive his organization has been to football, when he presented a cheque for EC$10,800.00 to the President of the SKNFA.