Adrian Frater, News Editor
The impasse between the St James Parish Council and the Montego Bay United Football Club (MBUFC) over rental cost for the Montego Bay Stadium has been settled and, as a consequence, the city's NPL outfit will not switch their home ground to St Elizabeth.
In a joint press conference at the St James Parish Council yesterday, Montego Bay's mayor, Councillor Glendon Harris, declared that an amicable deal has been worked out with MBUFC, paving the way for the team to continue using the Montego Bay facility for home games.
"After careful deliberations, as mayor of the city of Montego Bay and chairman of the St James Parish Council, I wish to officially announce that an amicable solution has been reached, which will see MBUFC utilising the Montego Bay Sports Complex," said Harris. "Gate receipts will be used to cover the costs associated with the games."
Jamaica Football Federation boss, Captain Horace Burrell, who helped to broker the deal in a meeting between the parish council and MBUFC on Wednesday, was back in Montego Bay, along with the federation's General Secretary Horace Reid, for yesterday's announcement.
"I am delighted ... I am feeling a sense of relief," noted Captain Burrell. "I felt I had an obligation to come down here and try to help resolve the matter and I am glad I did ... I am really pleased with the outcome."
In seeking to demonstrate the council's good faith with the deal struck with MBUFC, Mayor Harris said the club and the parish council will be working together as partners to help develop practical solutions to aid in the development of football in the parish.
"The St James Parish Council and MBUFC will work assiduously to garner and increase support both from the public and corporate Jamaica," said Harris. "We want Montegonians to be proud of this team."
MBUFC's Chief Executive Officer Orville Powell, who had negotiated an arrangement with the St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) and the St Elizabeth Football Association to use STETHS as their home ground prior to yesterday's announcement, said he was happy with the settlement.
"We are a Montego Bay team and this is where we have always wanted to stay," said Powell. "I want to publicly say thanks to Captain Burrell for his role in helping us to reach the amicable settlement."
To show gratitude to the people of St Elizabeth, who were prepared to welcome MBUFC with open arms prior to yesterday's settlement, Powell has promised to give them one of the team's NPL home games as a thank you gesture.
"I have spoken to them and have offered them a game and they have accepted," said Powell. "They have asked for the game against Sporting Central so we will be giving them that game."