Gloomy forecast for amateur clubs
Jamaica Football Federation Technical Committee Chairman Rudolph Speid is anticipating that a number of lower-league clubs will become defunct when football restarts.
Speid says that financial difficulties will cause personnel at these amateur clubs to become disheartened and move on to other ventures.
“I can predict that at least 10 to 15 per cent of clubs will be no more after this COVID pandemic,” Speid told The Gleaner.
“After this, a lot of the amateur clubs will not bother again. Some people have already moved on to other things and can’t bother to start off again, so this is going to kill amateur clubs.
“It comes down to money and resources. It is going to take money to get amateur football back to where it was, but we don’t have it, and where are we going to get it from?
“Some people will take to other professions, sponsors and [club] supporters will move on, and there is no commitment
“So we might not get back to the level that amateur football is at right now. It will take some time,” he said.
Speid said that losing these clubs will means losing talent as a result.
“It really is going to curtail the development of players and the game in the long run,” he said. “Amateur is the base of professional football and all football systems, so if the amateurs dwindle, so will the production of top-quality players.
“It will reduce the number of players we bring through to the professional ranks and to represent the national team.”
Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) President Wayne Shaw refutes Speid’s opinion, saying it has been even tougher for these clubs, but expects all the association’s registered clubs to return to action whenever that time comes.
“Things are really difficult, but I don’t believe so. I think the clubs want to be back once football is back,” he said.
“In KSAFA, we expect all our clubs to return. Our league usually starts in January, so once we get the go-ahead (Government’s approval to play), we will be okay. We might have a later start to the season, but we have to find some way to help them. The club presidents are also very resourceful, so they will find a way, with the support of KSAFA. So I’m confident all KSAFA clubs will remain.”
Clarendon Football Association President Ewan Scott says the lower tier is navigating a challenge at this time and clubs could turn either way, depending on their strength in structure and personnel.
“It will affect different people in different ways,” Scott said. “Some will use the downtime to strengthen their plans, while some will become disheartened and just give up. But it all depends on the structure and the personnel of the clubs.
“Some that used to contribute to the clubs might start to channel it (funds) into another area.”
Scott says, though, that if the Jamaica Premier League can set a template for football to be played in the pandemic, the parish associations can use that to guide the restart of their competitions.
“We would have to look and see how we can tailor it for the lower level,” he said. “So the Premier League is what we need in order to get anything going at the lower level.”