LETTER OF THE DAY - Don't abuse stadium playing surface
THE EDITOR, Sir: A few weeks ago, there were reports that some stakeholders in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) - Red Stripe, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and others - were concerned with the state of playing surfaces used in the top-tier Red Stripe Premier League. This has been an issue for a number of years, and it was rightly concluded that the poor surfaces play a large part in devaluing the league and keeping fans away, as such fields are not conducive to high-level play.
It would be beneficial for the country's football if ISSA and other stakeholders, including the JFF, were to rectify the fields used for schoolboy football. These substandard surfaces, including the Constant Spring field used for the Walker Cup games, are detrimental to the development of our young players.
I find it quite contradictory that the RSPL decided to play games Monday at the National Stadium on a surface that is clearly not in the best shape, with patches of dirt to be found all over. I also understand their desire to use the nation's premier footballing venue for these games taking place on a public holiday, but in the late-game broadcast on TVJ, I witnessed at least three players attempt to kick the ball, but instead kicked the dirt and then hobbled around slightly, immediately injured afterwards.
It was clear that the pitch had deteriorated since I had been there on Saturday to watch the LIME Super Cup games. Those matches were extremely entertaining, despite the poor state of the pitch, but it was not until Monday morning that I realised that just two days after three games being played on the pitch, the RSPL would be having a double-header at the stadium.
Quite frankly, I was appalled at the notion that the managers of the stadium facility would allow five games to take place on the pitch in the span of three days! This is unheard of, especially considering that there will be 2 more LIME Super Cup games taking place there this Saturday, meaning that the pitch will have hosted seven high-intensity football matches in seven days.
The fact that the field where our national teams play is being abused to such an extent is an issue that needs to be addressed by the JFF.
I can understand the desire of the stadium's managers, Independence Park Limited, to want to collect revenue in a time when the stadium is not in high usage. However, there must be a balance between collecting revenue and protecting the field itself.
Any discussion of the state of fields in this country should begin with the condition of the National Stadium field, which should be held to the highest standard.
Prime Time Sports Management