Sat | Apr 20, 2019

One-season wonders - Administrators say clubs need more help to survive top flight

Published:Tuesday | February 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMMarc Stamp/Gleaner Writer
Boys' Town's Jamiel Hardware (left) and Keniel Kirlew of Montego Bay United battling for possession during a recent Red Stripe Premier League match at the Barbican field. Boys' Town were relegated from the league along with Sandals South Coast.
Gladstone Taylor / Photographer Speid

In the last decade in the nation's top-flight league, seven clubs were demoted after only one season, the latest being Sandals South Coast of Westmoreland.

With a strong financial support and proper organisation high-lighted as key components in sustaining a place in the Red Stripe Premier League, or returning swiftly after relegation, officials are calling for a greater stake in a wider revenue stream, which they believe can be driven by wider television rights distribution and more shirt sponsorship opportunities for teams.

August Town promptly went in and out of the door twice over the period - 2009-10 season and then in 2013-14. Benfica's solo season was in 2010-11, Savannah (2012-13), Barbican (2014-15), and Maverley/Hughenden and Vere United (formerly Jamalco) both spent one season in 2016-17.

President of Cavalier Rudolph Speid pointed out some factors that he believes need to be addressed.

He noted that apart from the monthly subvention from the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), which ranges from a maximum of $500,000 to a low of $200,000, there is little that the clubs benefit from.




"We don't have a right to our shirts. There are a couple ways that you get support - the shirt front, television rights, sale of players, and gate receipts. They take away the shirt fronts and the television rights from the clubs. The sponsors of the league get the shirt front and the back, so we don't get anything for our sponsors. TV rights, we don't get anything," he argued.

Cavalier were relegated in the 2015-16 season, but returned after winning the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA)/Super League and topping the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) play-off last season.

Reno's team's manager, Dean Molloy, also said financial support is critical while playing in the RSPL and noted that promoted teams need greater support if they are to survive the drop.

"The sponsorship we get from the PLCA is nothing to shout about. It is just a drop in the bucket. However, I think the PLCA can do more. I don't think we have garnered much from TV rights as the games are shown far and wide in the Caribbean. I think the clubs could benefit more from this. It is my personal view. The clubs will be better able to function with proper funding," he further said.

"First and foremost, to stay up in the Premier League, the clubs need proper financial support or partnership. When we went down in the 2011-12 season, we had a committed technical team and players who stayed with the team. We knew that proper organisation would give you a strong chance of returning to top flight quickly," he added.




Speid pointed out that teams, particularly promoted teams, face an even greater challenge if they do not have the necessary things in place to help them stage a successful campaign or to make a swift return after a fall.

"Players are very important. You can't decimate your squad too much [if you get relegated]. Portmore went down and we went down, but both squads were never decimated, so it took only one season to return to the top flight. You also have to have a good youth programme," he advised.

"To keep the better players, you have to maintain a good pay structure. When relegated, you can't deplete your squad or management team. Those points are key to survival, and if the team is relegated, you must maintain a proper squad for a swift return," Speid added.

Boys' Town are the other team that have been relegated from this season's RSPL.