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Green light for RSPL - League set to resume tomorrow after midweek protest by referees

Published:Friday | December 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMAkino Ming/Staff Reporter
Dunbeholden’s Nickoy Christian (second left) is tackled strongly by Montego Bay United’s Nazime Matalie-Grant (second right) during a Red Stripe Premier League encounter at the Royal Lakes Complex on Wednesday, December 12.

The Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) is expected to resume tomorrow after a protest by referees forced the postponement of five midweek games.

RSPL referees stayed away from all but one of the games scheduled for match day 16 on the league's calendar as they had not received payment for matches or travel allowance fees from late September.

But the stand-off is nearing an end as president of the Jamaica Football Referees Association, Malica Reid,said yesterday that his officials received part of the money owed to them late Thursday evening.

"A payment was made yesterday, and that payment was able to cover travelling for September and the match fees for October," Reid said.

Though not pleased with part payment, Reid said that the officials are willing to meet with the league organisers today to work out a plan for the disbursement of the rest of the money owed.

"We would want to meet to allow for the resumption of officiating this weekend and create a situation that would foster some discussions about putting in place a long-term plan that will prevent us from returning to the events that caused us to strike," Reid said.

After months without receiving any compensation, the referees gave the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) a noon deadline on Wednesday to pay up. The PLCA made an attempt to prevent the officials from taking action by making cheque payments before the deadline to the Professional Football Association of Jamaica (PFAJ). The PFAJ was responsible for dispersing the money, but up to late Thursday evening, the referees had not seen any new lodgements in their accounts.

General Secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation Dalton Wint said yesterday that cheques take some time to be cleared and that this was the reason for the delay in getting the money to the referees.

"We got cheques and these take at least three days to be cleared," said Wint.

League leaders Portmore United will travel to the Stadium East field to face third-place Cavalier at the Stadium East in a 5 p.m. kick-off in one of five matches scheduled for tomorrow. Arnett Gardens will host Dunbeholden at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Christmas Eve in the regular Monday night game.