New RSPL format gets strong support
With the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) set to kick off on September 4 under a new format, president of Montego Bay United Orville Powell and two of the island's top coaches have said the move will be good for local football.
For the new season, the RSPL administrator, the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), added two more teams to vie for the main title.
In a release, the PLCA stated that the play-off round will comprise the top six teams on points on the completion of rounds one to three. This round will comprise two-way quarter-finals and semi-finals and a one-way final to decide the champions.
The teams ranked third to sixth will participate in the two-way quarter-finals. The third ranked against the sixth ranked and fourth versus fifth. The quarter-final winners on aggregate will then play against the teams ranked first and second.
PLCA general manager, Pat Garel says that the decision to change the format was taken in the best interest of the league and there was no pressure from the title sponsor.
"There is no pressure from the sponsor. We believe this format could enhance the league. Last year, we had very good support during the play-off stage," Garel, who was appointed general manager two months ago explained.
"We got clearance from the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and the PFAJ (Professional Football Association of Jamaica). The PLCA put forward the suggestion to tweak the league to generate more interest. It had to be approved and that was done on August 2 by the JFF's competitions committee," she added.
Powell welcomed the new format but insisted that it should have been in place years ago.
"I am for it. I have been saying it for a while. What we need is to get back interest in football. I'm against them (PLCA) for taking too long. The straight league format does not create much excitement.
"Now, two more teams get chances in the knockout phase. It gives more clubs opportunity to make more money from home games. It creates more revenue. I love it, but it is too long in coming," Powell reasoned.
GOOD FOR FOOTBALL
Arnett Gardens FC's coach Jerome 'Jerry' Waite also supported the new format.
"Well, it will be good for football. It opens the opportunity for two more teams to win the league. This will push other teams to perform well," Waite said.
Former PLCA general manager and long-serving Boys' Town FC coach, Andrew Price, is also fully behind the new format.
"I don't have a problem with the format as it will make the league more competitive," Price said.
"We have tried other systems. At the end of the day, we have to look at ways to make the league more competitive," Price, who is one of 12 PLCA directors added.
However, Marcel Gayle, head coach of the University of the West Indies FC is a staunch supporter of the league format.
"The league format is always good for me, but I'm willing to give the new format a try. Looking at it from a business perspective it makes sense. But as a coach it is mind-boggling for a team to work very hard to reach the top and don't win the main trophy," Gayle said.