Hyde’s Chapelton hurt by amateur rule
AFTER QUALIFYING for the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) earlier this year with a brigade of schoolboy footballers, Chapelton Maroons FC’s coach Lenworth ‘Teacher’ Hyde believes his hands are being tied by a rule that does not allow more than five amateur players to his team.
According to Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Technical Committee chairman, Rudolph Speid, the rule applies to each match day and not to the entire squad.
“It will affect us big time because we will have to give them a contract now. If we give these boys that are leaving school this year, then they are not eligible for a scholarship overseas. A lot of them want to go school overseas and won’t sign a contract,” Hyde said.
“We used 14 amateur players and take the team to the premier league and now we are here and can’t use them. It’s rough. We have quality players in the squad that will still be in (high) school next year. So, this rule of only using five amateur players is tough on us because we have more than five who are starters. I must say, I don’t like this rule,” the famous footballer and coach said.
Speid said that while the clubs’ overall squad can have as many amateur players as they like, the fact that the JPL is a professional league, there must be a cap on how many non-professionals play.
“It is a professional league and every club needs to have professional players. We had to apply and got the leeway to use five. It is a professional league and not a development league, so there is nothing wrong,” Speid said.
“Remember, the clubs are spending their money and why would a club invest so much in a player that will go to college in six months? The boys don’t want to play professionally, they want to go to college,” he said.
The rule, Speid explained, has been around for the last three years and despite being in support of it, as the owner and technical director of JPL outfit Cavaliers, he knows how painful it can be.
Cavalier, like Mount Pleasant, is famous for pinning its hopes on young players more often than not.
Since Cavalier’s return to the JPL in 2017, Cavalier have boasted the youngest squad in the nation’s top flight. That is before this season.
President of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), Keith Wellington, was quick to point out that this was a Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL) matter said personally, he had no issues with the rule.
“I don’t think it is an unreasonable rule. If you look at football around the world, you can only sign players when they reach a certain age. The league is a professional one and therefore, JFF is trying to protect players by ensuring they have a contract. There are 14 premier league teams in Jamaica, I don’t know if we have 70 youngsters who are good enough to be professional footballers,” Wellington said.
“I think there is more opportunity for student-footballers to get a college education than to become professional footballers. What we need to do is to find that balance that shows where the real opportunities lie.”