Sat | Jun 6, 2020

RSPL cancellation a big shock for Waterhouse skipper

Published:Wednesday | May 20, 2020 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Keithy Simpson.

Captain of Waterhouse Football Club, Keithy Simpson, says the cancellation of the 2019-20 Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) season was a real shocker.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) pulled the plug on the football season last Friday, due to the coronavirus pandemic which has disrupted sports across the world. As of 1 p.m. yesterday, Jamaica had recorded 520 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Recoveries stand at 131 while there have been nine deaths.

Simpson said the cancellation was a big surprise as the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) had recently announced that they were aiming for a July restart.

“I thought we were going to wait it out. When they (PLCA) said they were looking at a July restart that was encouraging for players, so we were looking at it (period before restart) like a preseason. So for them to make that announcement and then to hear a cancellation soon after was a bit disheartening and shocking,” Simpson said.

Good for some teams

He also argued that making the season null and void has worked more in favour of teams sitting at the bottom of the table. Waterhouse were the RSPL leaders when the season was suspended in mid-March.

“It was one of the best seasons for us. Everyone has a bad feeling about it as we were training and everybody was isolating themselves and trying to keep safe, and at the same time working hard, so it was really bad news when we got it,” he said.

“The fact that they made it null and void is good for some people, like those who were going to get relegated. But for those who were looking to win a championship it’s not good. But there is nothing we can do, the decision has been made and we just have to try to recover mentally and prepare for a new season,” he added.

The decision to make the league null and void and to use league positions from last season to determine ranking will most certainly rob St Ann big spenders Mount Pleasant of a legitimate opportunity to play in the next Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championships, but captain Ladale Richie still believes they have a chance of getting into the regional tournament.

“That’s what I was saying also (that Portmore and Waterhouse would retain CFU places for next season) but I asked and they haven’t really come to that conclusion as yet. It’s our aim to play the CFU,” he said.

Richie also felt that the JFF could have waited before calling a halt to the season.

“I think they could have waited because other leagues overseas have restarted and those are much longer than ours. Only four games were left to be played before the play-offs, so I think the decision to cancel the league was a bit early,” he added.

UWI FC’s Thorn Simpson said he was gearing up to come back tougher mentally and stronger physically, and although the ruling will benefit his team who were basically one defeat away from relegation, he thought there was still enough time to see out the season.

“I feel they could hold off a little bit and finish it, but then again the decision has done us a favour so it is good,” Thorn Simpson said. “We can’t really kill them because we don’t really want to risk the lives of the players.”