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'Total illogical nonsense! - PLCA vice-chairman blasts franchise proposal

Published:Monday | April 30, 2018 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
UWI FC's Rochane Smith (left) and Harbour View FC's Ryan Wellington battle for the ball during their Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) football match at the UWI Mona Bowl on Sunday November 5, 2017. Both clubs represent the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association in the RSPL.

Carvel Stewart, vice-chairman of the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), has blasted the Jamaica Football Federation's (JFF) suggestion of a franchise system to chart the way forward for the development of local football.

Coming out of its retreat in 2014, the JFF suggested that it was considering moving the country's premier football competition to 10-team franchise system.

However, the franchise system debate has been a very hot topic in recent weeks, as the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) accounts for seven of 12 teams in the just concluded Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) season, with five of them making the six-team play-offs.

Stewart, in a letter to the media yesterday, said the proposed idea of a franchise system is "total illogical nonsense".

"Would removing some - or all - KSAFA clubs from the RSPL foster national development?" Stewart asked.

"The truth is that KSAFA has undertaken more development programmes than any other parish association, and maybe by all other associations put together," he said.

"Development across the island requires more work from the persons making the franchise call, which is purely a political response to a glaring need," Stewart said.

Stewart, who is also the first vice-president of KSAFA, is also questioning the technical basis of a franchise system and how development would result from it.




"When did the JFF articulate details of the system, and why was it abandoned, having engaged resources to develop its concept and sensitise local football?" Stewart said. "It must be stated that there was a previous effort to establish a football franchise system and it failed miserably.

"Prior to that, there were efforts to have annual inter-parish senior competitions. There was no support, neither financial nor fan based. The current JFF-SportsMax Under-18 competition is experiencing the same lack of people support as evidenced by the small crowds attending," he said.

"Jamaica supports sports and sporting events on a community basis. School sports at all levels; football - parish and national clubs competition; [and] netball - open league (compared to franchise) are examples of this fact. We currently have cricket and netball franchises and spectator support has diminished," Stewart said.

He also stated that calls from the chairman of the Professional Football Association of Jamaica for a franchise system is regrettable because it is totally uninformed, lacking prior knowledge of football, its development to date, as well as details of the proposed system.