Adrian Frater, News Editor
Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) outfit Montego Bay United FC (MBUFC) and the St James Parish Council yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding which will see the club benefiting from a J$10 million investment from the parish council for the 2013-14 football season.
"Our investment is an investment in the future of the parish," said Montego Bay's mayor, Councillor Glendon Harris. "Sports is an investment out of poverty and it has the potential to take our young people on a new path."
As a consequence of this lucrative investment, which is not in cash but in kind, MBUFC will once again use the Montego Bay Stadium for their RSPL home games and will partner with the council in seeking out sponsorship deals, as well as marketing the city and the club.
"Through this $10-million investment, we will be aiming to transform the city from the ugly labels such as 'scam capital', 'drug capital' and 'murder capital', so we are only too happy to be a part of this initiative," the mayor added.
Orville Powell, president and CEO of MBUFC, was elated with the deal, which has an option for an extension.
"This is an investment in the youngsters we are trying to rescue from going the wrong way," said Powell. "St James football is not doing well at this time, but with this type of investment, I believe we are setting the foundation to put the parish's football back on track."
Powell, who spearheaded a massive expansion job at the club's West Pow Complex as part of an earlier plan to use that facility for their Premier League home games, said the return to the Montego Bay Stadium has given them a major boost.
"In the Montego Bay Stadium we now have the best home facility of all the clubs competing in the Red Stripe Premier League, and in the West Pow Park we now have the best training facility in the country," said Powell.
Under the joint arrangement between the club and the parish council, gate receipts generated at the stadium will go towards meeting match expenses and game preparation. A committee comprising representatives from both entities will be working to source sponsorship, among other marketing arrangements.
"We will be investing heavily in branding signage, and working to develop football at the community level, as the overall vision is to build brand Montego Bay," said Powell.