No SDF help for JFF women's league
Despite suggestions by Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts that the Women's Premier League might receive support from the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), there is continued uncertainty about this year's staging. This is because the SDF's General Manager, Denzil Wilks, denies any discussions about supporting a full league, preferring instead to assist in development projects.
The government-run SDF rescued the league last year as long-time sponsors Sherwin-Williams decided to pull out in 2016. The foundation provided $10 million in sponsorship of the league and knockout competitions, but the lack of sponsorship could force a five-a-side competition instead this year.
Ricketts, during a television interview last week, spoke to a regular 11-a-side competition, while indicating the possibility of having a revamped league this year after discussions he had with the SDF.
Wilks said he was unaware of any discussion with regard to them again coming forward to sponsor the women's competitions.
"They (JFF) had written to us (SDF) several months ago about sponsorship, but the request was turned down," Wilks told The Gleaner.
"I am aware that they had asked the SDF board, but we would prefer to assist from a development perspective. We don't think as a government agency, the SDF should be sponsors," he added.
"That is all I know. I have absolutely no information on any discussions between the SDF and JFF on that. I heard about it in the media."
However, speaking at the Presentation of Certificates for the FIFA Women's Intermediary Coaching Course at the JFF headquarters last Friday, FIFA instructor Andrea Rodebaugh said that there could be possible FIFA support for Jamaica's women's football programme.
"I must take back to FIFA a report on the course so that we can help the FA, in this case, Jamaica, with its development. Jamaica has a high tradition in women's football," Rodebaugh, a former Mexico women's footballer, said during the presentation of certificates to coaches who participated in the JFF-JMMB women's coaching course last week.
The JFF's head of competitions, Raymond Anderson, commented on the duration of the five-a-side tournament.
"What the JFF is doing now is to prepare for the next season. We will be having a national five-a-side competition to last four to five weeks," Anderson said.
"It is not about replacing the league, but because of lack of sponsorship, we decided to have a five-a-side, starting in November. We wanted to have a premier league, but as you might be aware, we had challenges," he added.
"Instead of not having a competition this year, we will have an interim one and then have a big competition next year.
"You might have listened to the president (Ricketts) saying that he wants to have a competition this year. And if the president wants to have a competition in an eleven-a-side format, from the competitions department, which I chair, we will have to make it happen," he disclosed.
Also, the JFF director of operations, public relations, and events, Janice Rose-Brown, disclosed the logistical costs of running a premier league.
"It would take about $12 million in sponsorship to assist better with transportation and other things to run the competition properly. We would want to do elements of rebranding and improve the league," Rose-Brown said.
She also said that it would be too late to start the league now.