Up to speed! - JFF Gen Sec says local clubs not far from CONCACAF requirements
Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) general secretary Dalton Wint says Jamaican football clubs are not far off from the stipulations required by CONCACAF to see that football across the region becomes more professional and regulated as of next year.
Wint told The Gleaner that proper infrastructure remains the main obstacle for clubs, though he is confident that with desire and dedication, they can meet next year's deadline for implementation.
"Infrastructure is the biggest hurdle they face. Quite possible people (teams) will have to have multiple use of venues that can meet the requirements, so we may have to double up," he said. "One route we want to take is professionalising it (league) through the franchise system," he added.
Requirements include publish audited statements, a complete staff in place, including a marketing plan and personnel, goalkeeper coaches and physical trainers. Teams are required to have training fields separate from match day surfaces. Increasing seating capacity at some venues is another mandate.
"Seating capacity for some needs to be increased. Most venues don't have a media area and parking facilities. These are some of the outstanding issues.
"The qualification of our coaches, is not bad and we're on track as it relates to our players being registered as professionals. We are about 80 per cent, and we have to be 100 per cent next season," he revealed.
However, lighting presents a major difficulty. "In terms of lighting, we are way behind in our infrastructure to deal with lighting," Wint said.
However, he said local clubs are not far behind and just need the will to complete these requirements.. "We just have to have the will and the resolve. If we don't, it will set back our football another 10 years. The franchise system is the route we have identified that can help us," he reasoned.
Although teams face possible sanctions if they fail to comply, Wint pointed that many incentives will be available to clubs, when they meet the professional requirements set by CONCACAF.
"There are sanctions. If we are not fully professionalised, it can hurt us. But there are incentives, because it is an incentive based thing. If you are fully professionalised, you can compete in the CONCACAF Champions League, where there are certain incentives. But if you don't have a professional system in place, your teams will start at the bottom and you cannot rub shoulders with the big boys, so it has great implications," he said.
The CONCACAF Club Licensing system which became mandatory in 2015, will form the foundation of the eligibility platform. The designation of the member associations' league will be based on a CONCACAF League Survey, to be completed by member associations. To receive a licence, clubs must complete forms related to infrastructure; youth development; finance and other general information including, among other requirements, the submission of club statutes; proof of contract/agreement for field/stadium where home matches are played and confirmation of registration of first team players.