$100 million for better football - Forbes
It would cost the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), the governing body for high-school sports in Jamaica, approximately $100 million to make competitions like the daCosta Cup and Manning Cup more desirable, said George Forbes, competitions director.
Forbes, in assessing the just-concluded high-school football season, told The Gleaner that while its operations were satisfactory, there remains scope for large-scale improvements, particularly as it relates to playing surfaces.
"What the general public doesn't necessarily know is that ISSA is in need of cash to make competitions like daCosta Cup and the likes better," Forbes said.
"You take the playing fields, for example: We would have liked very much to be in a position to assist schools on that issue, as it would make for more technically sound players," he stated. "But our budget is not healthy enough to go there."
"Unfortunately, we cannot do so, because we just do not have that amount of cash, which is why we still urge corporate Jamaica to come on board with us as associate sponsors ..." Forbes added.
ISSA currently gets approximately $30 million a year from title sponsors FLOW, which, according to Forbes, goes into printing jerseys for the approximately 120 teams that took part in the 2016 season.
"In addition, each school is also allotted $80,000, and the referee groups also get paid for the season from that," said Forbes.
Seventy-seven schools took part in the 2016 daCosta Cup season; a further 38 teams participated in the Manning Cup.
Cornwall College defeated STETHS for the rural area title, while Jamaica College claimed a fourth successive Manning Cup win.
Forbes said he was pleased that in spite of challenges, such as a referee strike and postponement of matches due to the passing of hurricane Mathew that disrupted games particularly in the eastern end of the island, it was a successful season from an administrative standpoint for ISSA.
"There can be no doubt it was a good season and a successful one when based on how things unfolded over the nearly four months-long competitions," Forbes said.