'We'll not back down'
Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Champs MBUFC won't play in RSPL until issues are resolved
The scheduled 2014-15 Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) season opener for title holders Montego Bay United Football Club (MBUFC), and Reno FC will not go ahead as the club's executives, led by its owner Orville Powell, remain at odds with the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA).
MBU were set to meet former champions Reno FC in tonight's live televised game from the Montego Bay Sports Complex, but chose to opt out of the fixture.
Sandra Christie, the chief operations officer at MBU, told The Gleaner that the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and the PLCA were advised in writing on Saturday about the club's position.
"We are sticking to our word. We will not be part of that fixture against Reno and will not take part in any match in the League until the PLCA addresses our concerns," said Christie.
WITHIN OUR RIGHT
"It is within our right and our interest to wait until these issues are cleared up, because these questions, these serious concerns that we spoke about, have been on the table for over two years now," she said.
Forfeiting the points against Reno, according to Christie, will not carry any significant consequence for the reigning champions.
"We are not into giving away points to any opponent, but these are very serious issues that will affect all other clubs, and we see this as very important to the sustained effort of raising the bar in local football circles," said Christie.
"Therefore, I don't think it will adversely affect the defence of our title," she added.
She said it is not clear which organisation is fully managing football in Jamaica, listing the JFF, Professional Football Association and PLCA. She also said there is no clear criteria for scheduling matches.
MBU, she said, was first told they would play Waterhouse to start the new season, but when issues were raised, the Drewsland-based club was withdrawn and Rivoli United was inserted. This, too, did not go down well with the MBU executive, and they, too, were pulled in favour of former champions Reno.
"I just cannot understand how this is done. I am clearly confused Christie said. We are governed by FIFA rules and the way they went about the schedule is not in accordance. This is supposed to be the top league in the country. Instead, they are making it out to be nothing short of a 'Bush League'."
September 27 has been offered as the possible date by which the PLCA will address some of the pressing issues brought to its attention by MBU and other concerned clubs. Until then, MBU will not take part in the league.
On top of that, she said she only got word on Friday that the Reno match would, in fact, be the televised game, leaving MBU too little time to acquire the use of the Montego Bay Sports Complex from the St James Parish Council, which is charging the club $400,000 per single use or $250,000 for the grandstand side alone.
"This too is unacceptable from a parish council, whose chairman told the nation he would be lending his and the council's support to the city's only Premier League club, as his contribution to our winning the title," said Christie.
"Obviously, we are not serious about the business of football and MBU is very concerned," she said.
"We will not back down from our position. Some things must change and it is incumbent on the PLCA to clear up these issues and get the nation's top club football competition on the move again."