LETTER OF THE DAY - Scrap the Premier League
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Sometime last week, Edward Seaga, president of the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), and Tivoli Gardens FC dropped the bomb that his club might pull out of the Premier League because of a lack of funds. Though he has since backtracked, this has sent the nation into a frenzy of debate about the league.
For the first time in Jamaica, people are noticing the impossible nature of the operation of the Premier League as we are now all wondering how these clubs stay afloat. It is simply ridiculous to think about a league from a business perspective as each team needs approximately $20 million per season to be in the league and are all chasing a reward of roughly $4 million each season.
In Jamaica, the most popular football leagues are definitely the Manning and daCosta cups for schoolboys. This is because each school has a captive audience, that is, the entire past and present student population that will travel anywhere to watch their school play.
The Premier League lacks this captive audience, hence its lack of popularity. Without a following, teams cannot make money either at the gate or through sponsorship as profit-making companies will not associate themselves with a loss-making team and league. It should be observed that the school leagues will never run out of sponsorship, and I am sure if LIME should pull out tomorrow, its rivals would be waiting to step in.
What should the PLCA do to keep the Premier League relevant? I say revamp it; change its operation; scrap it even.
In its present operation, it will never be a success as teams are community based and will have only a limited following.
I live in St Thomas, and there is no Premier League team out here. The level of football in this parish is rubbish. Sorry, St Thomas. The closest team to me is Harbour View FC, and I cannot find myself at their matches because I simply cannot relate to the team. Also, the level of play in the Premier League and the facilities just cannot pull me out.
Let's go to a parish vs parish tournament. I would perhaps follow Team St Thomas everywhere to watch their matches, just as I follow my beloved Kingston College, even though they have not seen victory since 1986. I would know every St Thomas footballer by name, and St Thomas companies, the few we have, would be willing to put their names on the team's jerseys.
I am imagining a St Thomas vs Kingston match at the National Stadium, with vuvuzelas sounding out to a jam-packed venue.
Yallahs PO, St Thomas