JFF sets 2017 target for Franchise kickoff
The proposed Jamaica Franchise football system for the Premier League, that was set to start in the upcoming season, has been pushed back until the next two years because of concerns over infrastructure, among other things.
Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president and Franchise Committee chairman, Gary Sinclair, said that after consultations with various stakeholders, a decision was taken to delay the start of a professional football league in Jamaica.
The new timeline was ratified at the JFF's board of directors' meeting on Sunday.
"It is out for this season," Burrell confirmed. "Yesterday, (Sunday) we had a board meeting, and the matter was examined thoroughly, and it was delayed until 2017. We expected certain things to move much faster. All the objectives will not be met for this season."
Last May, during a two-day retreat, the JFF declared a franchise system would be implemented to help improve the standard of play locally, particularly at the highest club level. The plan called for between 10 and 12 franchises - purchased by corporate entities or individuals across the island. Lower leagues would accommodate clubs who could not or did not buy in.
"We have consulted with the associations, prospective owners, government and others, and it was agreed that the 2015-16 start time was always aggressive. Hence, it is revised to start somewhere between October 2017-18," Sinclair told The Gleaner yesterday.
"The Franchise committee asked for an extension during the board of directors of the JFF meeting yesterday (Sunday), and it was ratified," he added.
"It is going to be a tough process in getting it running because of the anxiety and fear. We have to be convincing. Everybody agreed that our football needs to go into a professional direction," he said.
Sinclair, who is also the JFF's treasurer, disclosed that there are commitments from six prospective owners, all from corporate Jamaica.
"We need proper infrastructure, and that will have to involve the government. It would be beneficial to the owners to promote their respective brands. We have to provide prospective investors with a long-term objective in order to regain their monies," Sinclair also said.
One of the things we are trying to put in place is what kind of network should an owner have to run a professional club."
When quizzed about details of how much money it would cost an owner, Sinclair responded thus: "We have some figures, but that cannot be disclosed at this time."
He also said, the committee is looking at the Major League Soccer and also the Mexican League models.
"Things have to change in order for us to get there. We have to keep plugging away," he emphasised.
Meanwhile, JFF president, Captain Horace Burrell, confirmed that the proposed Franchise League in Jamaica has been pushed back.