JPL clubs seek more preseason funding
Harbour View FC President Carvel Stewart says that additional financial assistance would be required for clubs ahead of any potential return to top-flight football this year.
The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is still awaiting clearance from the Ministry of Health and Wellness to start the 2021 Jamaica Premier League season after multiple setbacks involving the agreement of COVID-19 protocols forced the abandonment of its proposed starting dates.
Ahead of that proposed date, the JFF provided $1.2 million to each Premier League club from the FIFA COVID-19 relief package in preparation for November, when it was expected that the league would start. The delay has caused financial challenges for thoe clubs who spent preparing for November and are now out of funds.
JFF President Michael Ricketts had since told The Gleaner that he was hoping for a start to the league in February.
But Stewart says that Harbour View’s allotted assistance has since been used in helping to cover outstanding expenses as well as preseason training for the players with the status of the season still unknown.
“My club has consumed all of the money already by way of payment to players in particular and other personnel,” Stewart said. “We had them in training up until the Christmas week. We felt that at that point in time, we had to support them during that period of the year.
“They have started back training now and will compensate them again. We expect to incur even more expenses before we get on the field at any point in time.”
Other clubs such as Molynes United and Dunbeholden have previously mentioned their financial difficulties, with the former already seeing their allocation depleted because of the inactivity. No Premier League football has been played since March last year because of the pandemic.
Professional Football Jamaica (PFJ), the body responsible for the marketing and sponsorship of the league, has secured multimillion-dollar sponsorships with various corporate entities, but Stewart says that despite those agreements, clubs are awaiting clarification on the particulars of how the sponsorship will be dispersed if approval to start the league is given.
“If there is a league, I suspect that some or all of those might be made available [to the clubs],” he said. “We would have to await them to know what the provisions are.”
PFJ Chairman Christopher Williams says that the sponsorship money secured will be allocated to the clubs within three weeks of approval. He said that the support would hinge on that decision, but he is optimistic about its progress.
“Everything rests on that, so it’s very important,” he said. “[But] we are on a pathway to a resolution. We feel good and confident that we are close.”
PFJ is reportedly closing in on its sponsorship target of $100 million, having already secured $80 million.