Sun | Sep 24, 2023

JPL gets the green light for spectators

Published:Tuesday | February 15, 2022 | 12:12 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Christopher Williams
Christopher Williams
The pitch at the 
UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence.
The pitch at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence.

CHAIRMAN OF the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) Christopher Williams says his organisation is now very close to a return of spectators for this season’s matches.

Williams was speaking just before an announcement from the Ministry of Local Government that fans would be allowed at four venues islandwide.

Initially, Williams had identified six controlled venues for the purposes of inviting fans to games whenever approvals come down the pipes. Four of those venues have been approved.

The original six venues requested were: Catherine Hall, Drax Hall, National Stadium, Stadium East field, Sabina Park and the Tony Spaulding Sports Complex.

The Government, in a late evening press release, approved the National Stadium, Stadium East, Sabina Park and Drax Hall in St Ann.

According to the release 1,300 fully vaccinated fans will be allowed at Drax Hall but a percentage of the total capacity of the others was still being worked out.

“I am keenly aware that our football fans have been waiting for the chance to give their personal support to their local teams, and this is the start of that process,” read a quote from Minister of Local Government Desmond McKenzie.

“The Government continues to review applications submitted for various events, in keeping with our commitment to restoring social life in a sustainable way, subject to the COVID-19 indicators. In this regard, I will be making an announcement regarding the entertainment sector very soon. In the meantime, I strongly encourage our citizens who have not yet done so, to get vaccinated, and therefore speed up the pace at which we can return to full social life,” said McKenzie in the release.

Paul Christie, general manager of Dunbeholden, said his club welcomed the return of fans because it would add a lot of value to the season.

“It is very welcome at this time. The spectators add more than one benefit to the league,” said Christie.

“This will mean gate receipts for JPL and that will trickle down to the clubs, one of the massive benefits that the spectators bring,” he said.

“The players also feed off the energy of the spectators to help them lift their game and to cheer them during the matches,” Christie said.

Twelve teams are taking part in this season’s JPL, which will enter week six come this weekend.