Tivoli FC shall play - MP assures west Kingston team will participate in RSPL
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Desmond McKenzie, Member of Parliament (MP) for West Kingston, has given an assurance to supporters of the Tivoli Gardens Football Club that they will be participating in this season's Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL), following a threat by the club's president Edward Seaga to withdraw the team owing to financial constraints.
Seaga, in a release to the media on Friday, threatened to pull the club from the RSPL. He said the club had fallen short of the amount of funds targeted to finance the team in the Premier League 'because of a fall-out of major sponsorships due to economic stress'.
However, McKenzie told The Gleaner in an interview yesterday, that he has had dialogue with Seaga about the situation and the latter will be making an announcement on the matter very soon.
"I have met with Mr Seaga and he will be making an announcement soon and so there is hope for Tivoli and for us to participate in the competition," said McKenzie.
"It is tough and the times are hard and football is not a cheap sport anymore and a lot of players depend on it as a means of living," he said.
"We are going do whatever needs to be done to ensure that Tivoli remains in the competition for this year, but I will leave whatever is to be said to Mr Seaga," noted McKenzie.
The MP was coy when asked if he plans to use money from the Constituency Development Funds to assist the team.
"I can't comment on that aspect until Mr Seaga makes another announcement," McKenzie pointed out.
effects of club's absence
McKenzie added that the club's absence from the Premier League could have dire effects on the community.
"It would be a blow to the community because a part of these persons will be taken away because of their love for the team," he said.
"It would be unheard of for Tivoli not be playing in top-flight football," McKenzie pointed out.
"In my days of playing, we were the ones that took Tivoli from division three to division two and then we went to division one, until the name was changed and now there's over 40 years of us playing top flight football," he stated.
The RSPL is set to begin next month. Tivoli have won five Premier League titles and were the runners-up in the 2004 Caribbean Football Union Championships.