Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Our protest was justified – Powell

Published:Tuesday | May 3, 2016 | 5:00 AMPaul Clarke
Powell

WESTERN BUREAU:

Orville Powell, president of newly crowned Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) champions, Montego Bay United (MBU) , said he has been stung by the callous way in which 'The Establishment' treated his club in the build-up to Sunday's final against Portmore United, which precipitated what is now regarded as the 'Respect Protest'.

Powell told The Gleaner that the decision taken by MBU was to bring attention and awareness to the careless attitude of some people involved in administering football locally and that of the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA).

"Our protest was justified and justifiable," stated Powell. "We thought at the time the best way to bring to the people's attention what was really going on was to use the biggest stage for local football - the Premier League final - as a staging ground of this protest," he said.

"Now that it was a success based on what people are now saying, I would think we achieved our goal, which was simply to highlight how badly run certain aspects of our football product is," Powell noted.

In protest, MBU turned up for Sunday's final at the Montego Bay Sports Complex five minutes before the scheduled 4 p.m. kick-off clad in black with white letters on the back of shirts worn by the players spelling 'RESPECT', the word spelt with one letter each on the back of the shirts of seven players - when they turned their back to the crowd - who stood in the front line.

Then there was another part to the message: 'IF YOU WANT TO GET IT, YOU MUST GIVE IT.'

For Powell, there could be no bigger stage than the live televised final of the nation's top league, beamed to some 24 countries.

"All my players agreed that that was the way to go. We are all a family at MBU, and we felt more than disrespected by the PLCA among others about how they went about business leading up the final," stated Powell.

 

PROTEST NOT NEW

 

He said not being invited to a meeting with the PLCA, at which the date and time of the game was changed necessitated the club taking a stand.

"Lest the public forgets, we at MBU started this very same protest two years ago, when we stated the PLCA - and football in general - needed to be managed with transparency. That was only the beginning.

"Now, on top of the lack of transparency, among other issues, this club has clearly been to some degree insulted. Matters leading up the final against Portmore only made it worse, so we took the stand we did, and as I said, we are willing to face the consequences of our actions because in all fairness, our actions are about doing the right thing," Powell said.

MBU went on to defeat Portmore 2-1 to claim a second Premier League title in three years, and while delighted with the game's eventual outcome, Powell declared that the protests will continue until change is made to how football is

governed locally.