Thu | Jul 29, 2021

Now or never for ‘Prem’

Clubs meet to decide fate of top-flight football season

Published:Wednesday | March 31, 2021 | 12:22 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Mount Pleasant’s Kevaughn Isaacs (right) gets a toe to the ball ahead of Molynes United’s Tyrique Wilson during a Red Stripe Premier League match at the Constant Spring Sports Complex last December.
Mount Pleasant’s Kevaughn Isaacs (right) gets a toe to the ball ahead of Molynes United’s Tyrique Wilson during a Red Stripe Premier League match at the Constant Spring Sports Complex last December.

The members of Professional Jamaica Football Limited (PFJL) will gather this evening for a crucial meeting to determine the way forward for the Jamaica Premier League, as the island’s top football competition continues to face uncertainty due to...

The members of Professional Jamaica Football Limited (PFJL) will gather this evening for a crucial meeting to determine the way forward for the Jamaica Premier League, as the island’s top football competition continues to face uncertainty due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The PFJL top brass are expected to decide whether or not to scrap plans to stage the season and will be guided by information they were expecting to receive last night from government officials.

Clubs were also expected to outline plans concerning the secure, contained environment or ‘bubble’, that they intend to execute the season in to officials from the various ministries and agencies involved in the approval process for the return of the league.

According to Molynes United’s manager, Herman Cruickshank, failure to get a positive response would almost certainly result in the cancellation of the Jamaica Premier League season, for the second year running.

“We will vote on it tomorrow (today) at 7 (p.m.), but if we do not get any word from them (Government), we are going to call it off but it is not because we didn’t try,” Cruickshank said.

He is, however, hopeful that they will get an opportunity to stage the league or other competition, despite the short amount of time they have remaining in the season.

“Anything to let football play because it is unfair for football not to be playing. Football is not contributing to anything. We set up a committee and we never knew in our lives that people had so much money to give to football. In eight months, they have raised over $300 million,” he noted.

“But now that we finally get private sector to assist, the Government is stalling us,” Cruickshank lamented, before underlining his position that even three months of football would be worth the effort.

‘LET US PLAY’

“Football would win, as the money will trickle down to a lot of people who depend on it. So they should let us play, to let us show that we have the ability to play and organise because everything they have asked, we have put in place,” he said.

“We want to show that we have the ability to organise the league. This would help ensure our level of organisation and we can get it improved as we go on. Also schoolboy football has to be played, so they could use this as a template to play schoolboy football and other football,” Cruickshank said.

Waterhouse’s head coach, Marcel Gayle, admits that he is losing hope that football will return this season, adding that the sport’s absence is taking a toll in the communities that depend heavily on teams for a social and economical boost.

“We are looking forward to the competition. When I walk in the community, people stop me and express their sentiments about the sport. So it might not be a wide-scale league like seven or eight months, but a month or two will still go a far way because a lot if families still depend on this,” Gayle said.

He believes the league should go ahead as long as it doesn’t threaten the health and safety of anyone.

Mount Pleasant manager, David Galloway, said the wait for the league’s resumption has been frustrating for all stakeholders, but he too is hoping they can salvage something from what is left of the season.

“It is frustrating, it has been one year now. It’s frustrating for me, the players, the support staff, the spectators, the sponsors, everybody. The only thing we can do is hope and pray that they give us the green light,” Galloway said.

“We will have to make the most of it despite the short space of time but football must be played. It is for the good of the game,” he said. “So we just have to hope for the best and that they give us to go ahead and a start date, as it is a lot of us bread.”

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com