Mon | Oct 16, 2017

Bleachers Report

Published:Tuesday | December 30, 2014 | 12:00 AM

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), headed by Captain Horace Burrell, is adamant that Jamaica's top football competition - the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) - will become a franchise league in the 2015-2016 season.

The Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) is adamant that a franchise system will not happen any time.

Bleachers Report is adamant that there is a good chance it could happen, but not before 2019-2020 - in four years.

The first reason is all parish associations have started their annual competitions in the Western Confederation, 12 teams are already vying for a chance to be in the Confederation play-offs, 12 teams in the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) are contesting a Super League competition to determine who gets that coveted play-off spot from that region, and then 48 teams each from the South Central and Eastern Confederations are vying for two spots to make up the four teams to contest the play-off for two teams to advance to the 2015-2016 edition of the RSPL.

All are challenging to take the place of the two demoted teams.

rules in place

The rules of the competitions are already in place, and commitments have already been made by the 13 parish associations to their respective clubs, that all 120 clubs now playing and spending millions of dollars have a shot of playing in the RSPL in the 2015-2016 season.

These parish presidents make up the JFF board that runs football in Jamaica and will not sell out the clubs, as they face elections every two years, and final implementation is not yet signed off on by the board.

Bleachers Report repeats, there will be no franchise league in 2015-2016.

Even the RSPL rules sanctioned by the said JFF board speaks to promotion and demotion this season.

Jamaica on a whole has paid very little interest to developing proper infrastructure to facilitate its athletes and the sporting public and shows scant regard for the public comfort.

facilities

In Jamaica, there are only five facilities that could facilitate a franchise team at this moment with minimum public comfort that will allow women and children to visit these venues and enjoy the experience. These facilities are at Waterhouse FC, Arnett Gardens FC, Harbour View Mini Stadium, Stadium East, and Catherine Hall Stadium.

It would take at least nine months for other facilities now used to play Premier League to become up to date with amenities deserving of civilised persons watching/participating at football games such as public bathrooms, proper media centre, medical room, testing room for drugs, different changing rooms for male and female referees, individual seating for patrons, plus the enforcement of no smoking in public places, including controlled substances, etc.

Additionally, where will the funding come from to bring these venues up to date.

Venues like Sabina Park and Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium cannot be used as football venues as the cricket pitch is likely to cause severe injury to players running onto the 'square' at full speed.

Also, what will happen in a cricket season when there is a conflict with scheduling?

Economics do not allow club teams to play in the National Stadium, as not even the senior national team (Reggae Boyz) make a profit from using that venue.

questions for the

franchise committee

Finally, here are some questions for the franchise committee.

Where are the bid documents? What's the criteria? Where is the timeline for each stage until the bids are awarded to successful bidders? And if the successful bidder does not include Harbour View, Waterhouse, Arnett Gardens, and Montego Bay United, when and where will the new stadiums be built, and where will the players come from to play in this franchise league, as all the best players in the current RSPL have long-term contracts with their respective clubs?

Franchise committee members, things are not what they seem. A franchise system will be even more difficult to implement in 2016-2017 or 2017-2018, as nobody in Jamaica or the football fraternity will care about a franchise system as we look towards qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

If Jamaica misses out on qualifying for the World Cup a fifth time since 1998, in 2016 or 2017, then questions will be asked again about the franchise system and its merits.

After looking at the dilemma, Bleachers Report BR could not help thinking of Lasana Bandele's interpretation of a Jamaican proverb "you get back what you pay for".