By hook or by crook! - PFJ says 22-game Premier League can take place in spite of time crunch
Professional Football Jamaica (PFJ) board member Donovan White has indicated the possibility of a dispensation for the 2020-21 Jamaica Premier League (JPL) season to extend to July as the body awaits Government clearance to begin play. The...
Professional Football Jamaica (PFJ) board member Donovan White has indicated the possibility of a dispensation for the 2020-21 Jamaica Premier League (JPL) season to extend to July as the body awaits Government clearance to begin play.
The Government recently authorised the restart of sports on a case-by-case basis with all sporting associations being asked to reapply for approval. The season, which was initially supposed to begin last October, was pushed back twice because COVID-19 protocols could not be approved by the Ministry of Health & Wellness. The original plan for the campaign was a 22-game regular season, as well as the league play-offs. However, the JPL faces a complication given that Concacaf has mandated all regional leagues to conclude their seasons weeks before the start of the Gold Cup in July.
White, although optimistic about completing the schedule in the allotted time frame, said the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has been notified of the possibility of requesting a dispensation from Concacaf to extend play to July because of the potentially late start.
“PFJ has already indicated to them the possibility that there may be that need, so they are aware,” White told The Gleaner. “The federation has given us the leeway of playing into July on the basis that we would have started late, and the pandemic would have caused some amount of discombobulation of the process.”
NEARLY ONE YEAR AGO
Nearly one year has passed since local football was forced into its hiatus because of the pandemic. The 2019-20 season was cancelled by the JFF last May and the Government’s recent announcement has come on the backdrop of consecutive triple-digit daily COVID-19 case increases since last Thursday. The delay has brought concerns about the feasibility of playing the season in its current format. However, White said that a 22-game regular season is still viable.
“We are confident, based on where we are now, that if we are in fact given the go-ahead between now and mid-March, or the beginning of March, we would be able to complete the planned 22 games, plus play-offs to the end of June,” White said.
JFF Competitions Chairman Gregory Daley is also optimistic about the competition format, but without disclosing specifics, said that there are alternatives should the approval fall outside of their desired timeline.
“We have had discussions on it and there are plans also in the pipeline just in case the green light comes outside of the window that we have planned,” Daley said. “[The current format] can work, but as always, we look at options. We can’t pre-empt the Ministry [of Health] when the green light will come. We hope that it is sooner rather than later, but it can work.”