Kwesi Mugisa, Staff Reporter
Chairman of the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), Edward Seaga, yesterday warmly welcomed a $22-million subvention from engineering firm China Harbour, insisting that it could not have come at a better time for local clubs still struggling to make ends meet.
The sponsorship package provided by the China-based entity is expected to be divided among the league's 12 participating clubs, with players' salaries expected to claim the lion's share of the funding.
Players not being paid on time, and in some instances not being paid at all, has been an all-too-familiar situation facing the competition in recent years, but the PLCA chairman seems hopeful that the financial assistance will at the very least alleviate the problem.
"The majority of the funds should be for salaries of players, and we know that many players will breathe easier in so far as that aspect, payment of salaries, is concerned," Seaga said at a press conference held at the Jamaica Football Federation headquarters to announce the deal yesterday.
"It is a very significant sponsorship package; it is not every day that you pick up a sponsor of this level ... it could not have come at a better time," he added.
For their part, China Harbour, responsible for several multibillion-dollar projects across the island, said they were pleased to have secured association with the national competition.
"China Harbour is committed to playing our part in ensuring the growth of professional football, the well-being of the players and the prosperity of Jamaica," said regional and country manager of China Harbour Engineering Company, Zhongdong Tang.
"We became a sponsor because we believe in Jamaica and it's enormous potential, and the Jamaican Olympic team showed that they were deserving of our sponsorship and that of other corporate entities," added Tang.
As a part of the sponsorship package, China Harbour will also look to introduce the China Harbour Star Baller of the Month award. The $30,000 incentive, which the company hopes will help to motivate players, will go to one player every month after the following criteria are evaluated: Positive impact on a team's performance, disciplinary record, number of games played, and shutouts, in the case of the goalkeeper.
Clyde Jureidini, Harbour View Football Club general manager, believes the monthly cash incentive is a major part of the contract.
"The Baller of the Month award is a significant part of this deal as it will provide players with further encouragement to perform at their very best, and that can only be good for the league," Jureidini said.