WFA pushing for matches under lights for Major League
The 2015-16 season of the Captain's Bakery and Grill, Charley's J.B. Rum Westmoreland Football Association (WFA) Major League began on Saturday in the heat of the midday sun.
However, if Everton Tomlinson, president of the WFA has his way, these mid-afternoon games will soon be a thing of the past.
Tomlinson is on a mission to have the majority of matches played under lights at the Llandilo Sports Complex, beginning with the fourth round on Wednesday, March 11.
That means removing the lights from Frome Sports Complex, which could lead to a bigger problem.
"The maintenance at Frome has become an issue. First thing, the lights are unused there for many years now, there is no demand to use that facility at nights, and Reno has not played a night game there even now that they are back in the premier league," he said.
"What that simply says is that the lamps there are used less. We (the FA and affiliates) have seen the need to introduce night football in a recognisable and structured way and it is the way to go for the very solid reason that our major league players are really amateurs," reasoned Tomlinson.
"They need income and so many of them work to support their families, but still want to play the game. The understanding is that the clubs suffer as a result as they cannot get the services of their better players. But if we have the games at nights, these clubs will have their best players and the atmosphere will be electric, to say the least," Tomlinson reasoned.
Some of the lighting fixtures at the Frome Complex have already been taken down, even before permission has been granted.
The lights were installed at Frome in 2002, with Tomlinson and the Westmoreland Sports Council leading the drive for their instalment, as a way to benefit the premier league exploits of Reno FC.
That year has been the only time that football fans in Westmoreland enjoyed competitive football under lights at Frome. Since then, they were deemed insufficient for premier league football by the Jamaica Football Federation, Tomlinson said.
But with Reno FC in and out of top flight football in recent years, there has been no real attempt to host matches at nights there again.
push for installation
Now, with the Westmoreland FA and its affiliates hungry for an improved product for its sponsors, the push is on for the installation of those lamps at Llandilo, which is fast becoming the premier sporting facility in the parish.
"There is no real argument against night matches in our major league," Tomlinson told The Gleaner. "The vast majority, if not all our affiliates, supporters and the communities at large, is for us to hold these games at nights. It's what they desire and it is what I want to get done as soon as possible," he said.
On Saturday's opening day, Dream FC came from behind to defeat Golden Touch FC 2-1 in the first game, thanks to goals from Shamio James (21st minute) and AndrÈ Smith (58th, penalty) and perennial challengers Petersfield FC shot past Westmoreland Police 1-0 on a penalty in the 41st minute from Hugo Hall.
Golden Touch 1 Dreams FC 2
Westmoreland Police 0 Petersfield FC 1
Chantilly Forever vs Roaring River at 3 p.m. at Llandilo