Thu | Dec 3, 2020

Technology crucial for Premier League growth – PFJL

Published:Wednesday | November 18, 2020 | 12:18 AM
Distant
Distant
Venton Evans (left) from UWI and Shavar Campbell from Tivoli Gardens in a keen tussle for the ball during a Premier League match, which was played at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex on Sunday, January 19, 2020.
Venton Evans (left) from UWI and Shavar Campbell from Tivoli Gardens in a keen tussle for the ball during a Premier League match, which was played at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex on Sunday, January 19, 2020.
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Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) President and Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL) independent board member Lloyd Distant says that the PFJL will utilise technological advancements to enhance the quality of the National Premier League (NPL) both locally and internationally.

Distant underlined that the PFJL wants to make the NPL a more marketable league while noting that more local players are being exposed to technological advancements through their overseas engagements, which has given them the opportunity to improve their performances.

“Technology is used a lot in deciding the make-ups of football boots and football themselves, and those are the areas we see us diving into right away,” Distant said. “Football boots in the old days were made of leather with steel and metal studs, long laces, and they came up to your ankles, which were hard to run in and affected performances negatively. Now, the boots that are used impact speed, shot power, accuracy, and the balance of players on the field, which we know that we need to start doing more broadly.”

“I think in the medium term, though, we will have to spend some more time looking at how we use technologies to assess the training of our players in terms of analysis on fitness, correct inconsistencies in the way they are kicking the ball, electronic performance and tracking, and these are things that are currently used worldwide, and we intend to bring to the game in Jamaica over time.”

“We have to think about how the clubs will operate and what we might do in the league. We know the use of technology in areas of goal-line technology, the virtual offside line, video assistant referees (VAR) are all the things that are taking place internationally,” said Distant.

LIFT STANDARDS

While noting that better-performing clubs are more likely to receive greater sponsorships to support their teams, Distant shared that the PFJL is also working towards giving each club the opportunity to lift its standards.

Meanwhile, Harbour View Football Club’s General Manager, Clyde Jureidini, agreed that introducing technology to the NPL would boost the development of the sport locally and would assist football stakeholders with accurate recordings, profiling of players and coaches, and the overall performance of the league.

“Implementing technology can always assist the league in many different ways,” said Jureidini. “I would start, however, with the more basic one that I and the Premier League Clubs Association, before changing to the PFJL, introduced a few years ago with the recording of the statistics.

“We would be looking at getting the reading of each player’s performance on the ball, off the ball, the distance they run, the amount of touches they have, the success ratio and goals scored. That can give you at any game, a 29-page dossier of in-depth details of the games that would help coaches, players, analysts, and media personalities to accurately analyse what is really happening as against what we think we see and don’t see,” added Jureidini.

“By extension, coaches, clubs, scouts and owners internationally are on that system, and they are able to judge and look at our league in terms of performance in the same set of criteria that every club around the world are being judged and recorded. So many clubs would know if they are above par, below par, or just average,” he added.

The 2020-2021 National Premier League season remains in limbo as approvals are yet to be received for the staging of the competition given the COVID-19 situation.

Athena Clarke