Football in Belize takes on another dimension with installation of new artificial turf

  • A state-of-the-art artificial turf has been installed in Belize to provide perfect conditions for every player

  • U15 competitions (girls and boys) already took place using the new pitch

  • The Central American’s territory national teams will be able to host international matches at home

  • Approximately 325 male and 120 female players impacted by the new facility

Belize has a very diverse society that is composed of many cultures and languages that reflect its rich history. Football is more than a passion for the Central American country, it is the number one sport and many of its inhabitants share a common love for the beautiful game. Whenever the national team puts on its official kit and competes on the pitch, the fans never fail to show up to support their favorite team, proudly displaying the colors of their country.

To keep this fervor alive, the Football Federation of Belize (FFB), with the support of the FIFA Forward programme, has completed the installation of a new artificial turf at their sports complex in Belmopan, the capital city. With this new innovative facility, Belize’s national teams will be able to take an active part in every CONCACAF championship, hosting local, national and international competitions.

The member association was amongst the first in the Central American region to implement a new drainage design and to benefit from the best technology that FIFA can offer in the development of football turfs. Thanks to this innovative technology, there is a great feeling of satisfaction to witness a heavy and sustained downpour of rain on the new pitch and to see the wetness disappear in less than 15 minutes. Thanks to the new installation, players during their trainings and after a downpour will not end up playing in mud. This will definitely prioritize the quality of the game and improve the technical capacities’ levels of all the teams.

The installation project of the turf took six months, and included activities as the old turf removal, sub-base installation, compaction tests and installation of benches, amongst others. Even though the project was impacted by intermittent rains, the works continued and it was successfully finished with very good results and a slight delay.

This turf, once completed, started to influence football in Belize. The men’s A national team was the first team that tried this turf, being followed by the rest of the categories existing in the member association. Currently, eight clubs are playing in the premier league of Belize. Through the development of more state-of-the-art premises such as this one, the member association’s development is definitely taking the right direction towards more sustainable efficiency and with a strong commitment to become more professional by developing adequate and adapted sports grounds. Once completed, the stadium renovations are expected to increase the sports ground’s capacity from 3000 to 5000 seats.

So far, the renovated field has been used for 29 matches from the 15th March to 19th July 2019 and has helped organise approximately 109 team training sessions since its renovation. A grassroots festival also took place following its inauguration. Other actors impacted are trainees that attended workshops at the federation where the field is used to organise coaching trainings. Thanks to this initiative, the following categories have benefitted from the latest technologies, among them: the first division, Elite Youth tournament, U15 (girls and boys), Elite youth tournament U17 (girls and boys), Premier League of Belize Pre-season games, national team selections U15 (girls and boys), U17 (girls and boys), national male senior A team, and national senior female A team.

FFB President Sergio Chuc asserts that: “The new turf has impacted all categories of players, from the grassroots level players, who recently completed a Grassroots Festival, to the Senior National Teams. It is currently being fully used, enjoyed and appreciated and we wistfully acknowledge that we have not officially commissioned it as yet, even though local, national, premier league and recreation teams are using the new pitch. There is also a new phenomenon; one of our local private company - Corporate Belize - is applying for use of the turf by their office teams. Of course, we welcome the interest of this sector of our economy who are now beginning to appreciate our new motto, linked to our strong commitment and potential to develop the beautiful game: believe in the process”.

As part of the envisioned process of further development of the local infrastructure with the use of FIFA FORWARD funds, the FFB is working on projects to overhaul their Headquarters in Belmopan and to follow the installation of their brand new synthetic pitch with the full renovation of the surrounding the stands.

The new turf is an affirmation of the new image that the Football Federation has been able to forge throughout Belize. It is tangible evidence of the commitment to more impactful football development thanks to the FIFA Forward programme.