‘A backward step’ - Stewart slams JFF for ‘amateur approach to football’ after 2019-20 season is declared null and void
Vice-chairman of the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), Carvel Stewart, has slammed the leadership of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) describing them as ‘amateur’ over their decision to cancel the 2019-2020 Red Stripe Premier League season.
The JFF’s president, Michael Ricketts, announced on Friday that the decision to cancel the football season was guided by the obligation to protect the well-being of stakeholders amid the outbreak of COVID-19. Up to Friday, 511 persons in Jamaica had tested positive for the coronavirus. Of that number, 121 have recovered while there have been nine deaths.
A very disappointed Stewart told The Sunday Gleaner that he is very dissatisfied with the cancellation of the season. He said this was a backward step in the country’s football development.
“What we are seeing here is an amateur approach to football, and it has pervaded football all the time, because we cannot change and will not change from this amateur approach, as long as we have amateur leaders,” said Stewart.
“If we had professional leadership of the JFF, we would not have had a premature cancellation of football, after all the effort and the work done so far this year,” he said while adding that local football has suffered because of this amateur leadership.
Stewart, who is also the chairman of the Harbour View Football Club (FC), underlined that enough time was left for the RSPL season to be completed and, therefore, he was shocked by the JFF’s move.
“It is utterly premature. This is May and we are supposed to play in July. We could have played in August and so I don’t understand why the rush. What is the basis for the rush?
“We have four rounds of matches to complete the preliminary round, and we would have done that in one-and-a-half weeks. We would then have about another two and a half to three weeks over which we would have completed the league, and so we could truly determine who are the winners and losers for 2019-2020,” Stewart said.
He added that the PLCA stands to lose more than $30 million in sponsorship from the cancellation of the season. Stewart also noted that a lot of players are now very distraught, because all of their hard work this season has come to nothing.
“All of the players’ hard work, the leading goalscorer statistics, is dumped down the drain. They never played, they did nothing, that is where the football is,” Stewart said. “I don’t see football growing under this regime at all.”
“We are going to lose a commitment of up to just over $30 million dollars, and so that goes down the drain,” he said. “This commitment would be coming from the sponsors, and there was a commitment for the prize money from another sponsor,” the Harbour View FC chairman said.
When contacted yesterday for a response to the views of the PLCA vice chairman the general secretary of the JFF, Dalton Wint, declined to comment.