Audley Boyd, Assistant Editor - Sport
Burrell: Promoters must shoulder costs
Promoters yesterday called off the August 25 friendly international football match between Jamaica's Reggae Boyz and Kenya because of poor ticket sales.
A Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) advisory, later confirmed by a report by The Associated Press, stated that Samuel Sampson, a spokesman for Singapore-based promoter Ricky Swen and his company, Swen Labels International, says only 120 tickets were sold for the match, which had been scheduled for Saturday at the 40,000-seat Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut.
In spite of this development, Captain Horace Burrell, the JFF president, insists that the promoters will have to bear the full brunt of costs associated with the event, making it clear that the sport's local governing body would not be making any refunds as per its contract with Swen Labels International for the Jamaica-Kenya match.
"The promoter has claimed force majeure, which is nonsense," Burrell told The Gleaner in an interview last evening.
"Therefore, we've have advised them that our interpretation of force majeure is different," Burrell advised, referring to the clause included in contracts to remove liability stemming from natural causes.
"It is not force majeure, and we're holding the promoters responsible for cancelling the game and therefore they will have to hold themselves liable, as we've been ready and are ready to travel to the United States for the game, where we've already made all travel arrangements and completed all other arrangements," he reinforced.
"To be told at the last minute that this game is cancelled is certainly disappointing.
"It is a situation that we will not accept and they will have to therefore be fully responsible for the cancellation of this game."
The JFF has recently experienced problems with the same promoting firm. On July 28, a planned friendly international between Jamaica and Liberia - scheduled for the same stadium - was cancelled after it was revealed that no agreement had been reached with the countries and the United States Soccer Federation, which had not even sanctioned the match.
Burrell said they were guided by that encounter in negotiations for the Kenya match, which has now been called off as well.
"Based on our past experiences, we insisted that all related expenses would have to be paid for by the agent before the game.
"We insisted, prior to the completion of the negotiations, that all the funds would have to be put in place before we signed off," Burrell reiterated. "They had already wired those funds to the accounts of the JFF, so we would not be left with any financial burden.
"This was agreed to and this was done, and therefore at this point, the responsibility is now on the agent to shoulder these responsibilities," the JFF president said.
Meanwhile, Swen Labels International is pushing to have the Jamaica-Kenya game rescheduled for November, but Burrell indicated that this is unlikely.
"They want us to play on another day," he said. "But we're in an advanced stage of negotiations (friendly international) for the November date that they are suggesting."