Sun | Apr 23, 2017

'No home friendlies against big teams'

Published:Monday | June 15, 2015 | 6:00 AM

ANTOFAGASTA, Chile:

JAMAICA's men's national senior team will likely tackle the United States in a friendly international before year end.

"I've been negotiating with the United States Soccer Federation over the past few days. We are nearing confirmation of a big friendly international between the United States and Jamaica in the United States in short order. This is going to be, maybe before the year ends ... ." Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President, Captain Horace Burrel, noted.

However, like most other big friendly matchups, local fans will not watch the game live as the JFF is not in a position to foot the bill of hosting matches of a certain calibre.

That's unless it's a World Cup qualifier.

The position, not for the first time, was explained yesterday to Jamaican journalists here by Burrell.

Burrell said while the performance (against Uruguay on Saturday) would have improved their 'respect' and marketability, playing big friendlies at home is not a realistic option now.

"Right now our economy is really not where we would want to see it and therefore to ask fans to pay realistic costs to enter the National Stadium to see these teams is very difficult," said Burrell. "They (fans) want to, but they just don't have the money.

high match fees

"Why I say this is ... these top teams ask for high match fees, these match fees are very, very high and with the state of our dollar and the difficulties our people face finding funds it makes it difficult."

Continuing, Burrell said it would cost as high as US$1 million (approximately J$116 million) to host such matches.

"Any reasonable big team that is coming to Jamaica, you have to put at least a million US dollars down. You talk about airfares, you talk about hotel accommodation, you talk about match fees ... " he explained.

"... How much would you have to charge the fans to try and retrieve the amount that we'd have spent?," he queried. "It is not realistic. You cannot put your hat where you cannot reach it. We've to live within our means.

"What is for sure is that the World Cup qualifying games will be played at home. Hopefully we'll go into the bigger round so our fans can look forward to attending the World Cup qualifiers, which will be played in the next few months," Burrell revealed.

"There is the draw for that next round, which will take place in Russia in the coming weeks and as soon as that draw is done we will know which teams we're going to be playing against and when. But I do expect the World Cup action to commence at the end of August going into September."