No-nonsense approach to discipline for RSPL
Professional Football Association of Jamaica (PFAJ) Chairman Don Anderson has warned that discipline will be strictly enforced in this season's Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL), which starts on Sunday.
The league was officially launched at the Jamaica Football Federation headquarters yesterday, and Anderson said that the PFAJ is committed to what he describes as the "smooth" operation of the league. This, he said, is to make it a "highly professional league, consistent with, and similar to other premier leagues across the world".
"The achievement of this objective will depend on us lifting the standards of professionalism at all stages - on the field and off the field," he said. "We know that football, over the last couple of seasons, has been dogged with a number of issues of discipline, regrettably. It's because the game is a highly competitive and fiercely contested one. We intend, this year, to take a no-nonsense approach to discipline. We believe that the football loving public deserves no less; that we raise the standards and that the public, the sponsors in particular, can be very proud of the execution of the league."
Anderson told The Gleaner that the association hosted a retreat for match officials in June, to explain what is expected of them this season.
"We looked at some of the regulations, and those that needed to be tightened," he said. "We did that and we're hoping now that we have a unified body going forward, that we will be able to implement the changes that we worked on during that retreat."
NO NEW RULES
Anderson said that new rules have not been introduced for this season, but the focus will be on enforcing more of those rules that were not paid enough attention in past seasons.
"We're conscious of the problems that football has endured over the last couple of seasons and the commitment of the PFAJ is that we're going to put everybody under the microscope - referees, players, clubs, everyone, because CONCACAF has us ensuring that we move into the professional environment in the shortest possible time, otherwise, we're going to be left behind."
Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) Chairman Edward Seaga was also present at the launch and addressed the audience on the role of his association and how it differs from the PFAJ. His reason for doing this was to clear up the confusion which occurred recently with regard to who is responsible for payments made to match officials and grants to RSPL clubs. These issues were responsible for the three-week postponement of the league.
"The PLCA is an independent body with its own leadership and board of directors raising funds out of which certain expenses of the PFAJ were financed, with the PLCA providing the funds," Seaga said. "Overall, we have had a relatively smooth operation, not withstanding some of the misunderstandings by the public and clubs which continue to attribute everything that happens to the PLCA."
He said that the PLCA was formed in 2008 to raise and equally distribute funds to all Premier League clubs, rather than create what he describes as "confusion and bad blood," because of each club seeking their own sponsorships. The PFAJ was created in 2009, to oversee the enforcement of discipline in the league, to ensure that the fields were prepared for matches, match officials were paid and match fixtures were drafted.
The launch also featured a random draw for round-two fixtures, which take place between November 26 and January 17.