Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Williams proposes fewer JPL teams

Published:Thursday | January 26, 2023 | 1:16 AMOrane Buchanan/Staff Reporter
Montego Bay United’s Renardo Wellington (left) and Harbour View’s Nicholas Hamilton in Jamaica Premier League action at the Jamaica College Ashenheim Stadium.
Montego Bay United’s Renardo Wellington (left) and Harbour View’s Nicholas Hamilton in Jamaica Premier League action at the Jamaica College Ashenheim Stadium.
Christopher Williams
Christopher Williams

FOOTBALL ADMINISTRATOR and current chairman of Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL) Christopher Williams has come to the conclusion that there are too many teams playing in the country’s top-flight league.

The Jamaica Premier League now sports 14 teams, and according to Williams, ideally, the league should have 10 teams for there to be the potential for real growth and stability.

Williams, who insisted that his opinion was a personal one and was not to be taken as the opinion of the PFJL, believes that is experience in a number of fronts has led to an inevitable conclusion.

“I’ve had the opportunity to come to this issue from two experiences. One is from my 25-30 years in executive leadership in business in Jamaica, and two, having being exposed to professional football for the last three years as the chairman of the PFJL. From those experiences, I’ve recognised that the mandate for developing professional football in Jamaica is a good one. The local talents help to pivot the performances of the national teams much better, and you’ve seen that in track and field in them being the catalyst for our dominance,” said Williams.

According to Williams, with 14 teams, whatever the profits the league makes and then distributes among the clubs leaves most struggling, and so a reduction could create a scenario where all the teams come from a more stable base.

“My suggestion is instead of having 14 teams struggle, drop it down to 10 and get those 10 stable and then pivot forward instead of having 12 or 14 on the verge of death. That is the basis of my recommendation. Secondly, what is the quality of the product? And in my opinion the quality comes down to the play on the pitch,” he said.

When asked how fewer clubs would impact the quality on the pitch, Williams pointed to an increase in competitiveness to make JPL squads.

“This (quality) will rise by limiting the number of spots available so that you’ll have greater competition for spots and, therefore, the individual team performances will rise because you’re now getting a better quality of input. The pool that the coaches can now pick from will be better, and so when we go to the games, the quality will be stronger. Limiting the number of clubs allows us (PFJL) the opportunity to build out the infrastructure required for the clubs. So tighten it up and allow us to lift the standard of infrastructure, performances, and finance.” Williams added.

Another aspect of having fewer top-flight outfits is the issue of player compensation, which Williams believes, at the moment, is too low.

“The clubs can hardly afford to pay the players, and even so what they’re being paid is a joke. You can’t want to have your best talents and professionals getting that, so I’m saying, let us have 200 footballers getting good money – can purchase a car, get a mortgage – rather than everybody struggling.”