RSPL clubs urge protocol observation
Clubs are confident the 2020-21 Red Stripe Premier League season can be a successful one, as long as all stakeholders comply with the Ministry of Health & Wellness’ (MOH) COVID-19 safety protocols.
Arnett Gardens President Mark Golding, Mount Pleasant General Manager David Galloway, and Dunbeholden Manager Paul Christie say their teams are already practising the safety guidelines mandated by the Ministry.
Galloway says the season can be completed without problems if regulations are maintained, and that the club’s desire is to see the team back on the field. He is hoping the other clubs who are also eager for competition follow the same guidelines.
“Our aim is to always play football and at the end of the day football will prevail,” he said. “So if we get the opportunity to play, we are going to play. We are just hoping everyone conforms to the rules and regulations and as long as we conform, things will be alright. The league can play.”
“This is unprecedented, so there will be challenges,” he said. “We enforce protocols and reiterate on a daily basis that this is not a joke, it is serious. We are trying to focus on the games being played and trying to work with the new dispensation because we have to find a way to live within this pandemic until it disappears. So we are trying to facilitate the process as much as possible.”
Golding anticipates that the pandemic will present some challenges, especially financial, throughout the campaign. But he says that clubs will meet the requirements, and the nation must overcome the spike in COVID-19 cases before they can move forward.
“If Jamaica gets through the current spike, we can have a successful season,” he said. “If the current spike spirals out of control, all the current plans would have to be adjusted. So a lot depends on what happens over the next couple of weeks. But we are preparing for a November start.”
He said that putting things in place to minimise the risk to players and staff has also come at additional costs.
“Some of the arrangements are new and would not normally be necessary, so these expenses are extraordinary and not typical,” Golding said. “These are the expenses for adjusting to this novel way of preparing for the season. So it is going to have its set of challenges but we will all come up to the mark.”
But Golding says the changes, which include no spectators and all games being televised live could lead to major improvement in the RSPL as a broadcast product.
“The degree of penetration our TV product gets, this is going to enhance that,” he said.
No football has been played locally since March when the Jamaica Football Federation cancelled all domestic football because of the COVID-19 pandemic.