Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
There is a strong possibility that the Red Stripe National Premier League which is set to kick off tomorrow for the 2012-13 season will undergo changes next year as the Jamaica Football Federation intends to restructure local football.
The likely changes have not yet been decided but chairman of the Jamaica Football Federation's (JFF) technical committee, Howard McIntosh, is promising that whatever alterations are to be made will come into effect next year.
"Jamaica does not have the financial and technical resources to support the level of football it is currently playing and, therefore, something must happen," McIntosh told The Gleaner. "That is why so many clubs are failing, because they just cannot support themselves," he added.
The JFF has a view as to the direction in which it wants to see football move, but wants to have dialogue with the various stakeholders to arrive at a consensus.
RESTRUCTURING ON CARDS
"The JFF has a view as it relates to the restructuring of football, but it has not been discussed at the JFF board level at this point in time, and it should be discussed at the next board meeting and decisions will be taken on specific points as it relates to the restructuring of the game," McIntosh pointed out. "Whatever happens will be part of the football landscape for the next football season, 2013-2014, and that is a promise," he added.
One of the changes that vice-chairman of the Premier League Association of Jamaica, Carvel Stewart, is proposing is the reduction of the number of teams in the nation's top tier from the current 12 to 10.
"The Premier League should be reduced to 10 clubs playing in four full rounds; one club relegated and one promoted," Stewart expressed.
Stewart is also of the view that a second national competition is urgently required, which could consist of 12 teams, and the team to progress to the national league would be selected from there.
"Similar structuring of the parish league should be done and there would be no need for the confederation club competition," Stewart said.
The Harbour View Football Club chairman is further of the view that in-depth informed discussion is needed on the issues, as the restructuring is not only needed at the Premier League level but at all stages.
McIntosh shares the view that all aspects of local football need to be taken into account; including schoolboy football and community football, with clear distinction to be made between competitive football and recreational football.
"There are some people who say that there are more than 600 football clubs in Jamaica, but for a small island like us, should we have over 600 football clubs in Jamaica?," McIntosh questioned. "We should now ensure that when we restructure the game we have the competitive part of the game, and we have the recreational part of the game properly structured," he added.
Boys' Town vs Cavalier
Harbour View vs Montego Bay United
Highgate United vs Waterhouse
Humble Lion vs Sporting Central
Portmore vs Savannah
Tivoli Gardens vs Arnett Gardens