Fri | Oct 30, 2020

Mitchell calls for football stakeholders meeting

Published:Wednesday | July 15, 2020 | 12:21 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer
Mitchell
Mitchell

President of Boys’ Town Football Club, Leon Mitchell, believes that local football stakeholders should meet and discuss plans for the sport’s return in light of continued COVID-19 concerns.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) cancelled the domestic season, including the 2019-20 Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) season in May, as a result of the local outbreak of the virus.

Mitchell underlined that the integration of all parties, including sponsors, should be involved to create a proposal that is mutually beneficial.

“What I would like to see sooner rather than later is the football administrators coming together and see if we can somehow create a plan that benefits everyone,” Mitchell told The Gleaner.

OBSTACLES

Mitchell believes that there are obstacles to manoeuvre in the midst of COVID-19 with safety being one of the main concerns. He says that options to safeguard players and other stakeholders should be considered, including possibly playing games at secure venues.

“Would it be better if the games are played at three or four selected stadiums rather then teams having to travel over the place? I don’t know [what that is like] in terms of cost, but it may be a better way to secure the football. And don’t leave all of that to the clubs who may not have all the finances to do all of that.”

While Mitchell believes that local football will struggle for sponsorship because of the economic uncertainty caused by the virus, JFF technical committee chairman Rudolph Speid believes that the nation’s top flight will be able to court partners given the potential brand benefits..

“Since the Premier League is the only professional sport in Jamaica, clearly there will be an opportunity for the business to want to align themselves with a sport that people want to look at,” Speid said. “If there is going to be the advent of people watching more events from home, then clearly the Premier League will be one of those that people will be interested in. So based on that fact, we still should be seeing corporate Jamaica wanting to be associated with the Premier League because that’s where the eyes are going to be.”

Speid said that protocols for league resumption are being developed and once submitted, would need approval by the health ministry before the league can return.

“Once the entertainment industry opens, then it will give us an idea of what we can and cannot do. [The process] is a bit slow but it’s best for us to get it right than to get it wrong,” Speid said.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com