Thu | Dec 1, 2022

Zero tolerance policy

PFJL and JFF say no pitch invasions will be allowed at JPL final

Published:Saturday | July 2, 2022 | 12:09 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Harbour View players celebrate after scoring against Arnett Gardens in their recent Jamaica Premier League second-leg quarter-final match at Sabina Park.
Harbour View players celebrate after scoring against Arnett Gardens in their recent Jamaica Premier League second-leg quarter-final match at Sabina Park.

Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL) general manager Mitchell Watson and Jamaica Football Federation vice president Raymond Anderson have given assurances that no pitch invasions will take place at tomorrow’s Jamaica Premier League (JPL) final at Sabina Park.

Harbour View and Dunbeholden will meet in the 2022 championship decider at 6 p.m., with the third-place play-off between Cavalier and Waterhouse taking place earlier in the day at 3 p.m. Their comments came in response to small incidents of patrons coming on to the field in the middle of goal celebrations during Wednesday’s semi-final second-leg ties.

With the George Headley stand open for the final, Anderson said that they are planning an additional set of barriers along with police and private security support to ensure that the patrons remain in their seats.

“What we will put in place, as I spoke with the operational coordinator already, is a second ring (around the stadium) with the barriers. So if you jump, you don’t jump directly to the field and run on to the pitch as we saw on Wednesday where a lady just ran on and hugged up players,” Anderson told The Gleaner. “But we will also continue the education portion by telling patrons not to run on the pitch and we’ll have the police and private security (to help us).”

This will be the first JPL final with fans since the pandemic. The last one in 2019 between Portmore United and Waterhouse was marred by fans pelting objects on the field which resulted in a 17-minute stoppage and also fans invading the field before being caught by the police.

Watson called the breaches on Wednesday “blots on our record” and said that they have been given increased security commitment ensuring that there will not be a repeat of that 2019 final and has warned that persons in violation of the security instructions will be properly dealt with.

“We have sat down with the police, we have sat down with the security team and they have given us an assurance. We have also increased our security numbers. At every corner of the field there will be police officers to ensure that nobody jumps,” Watson said.

“We will have enough security personnel to cover all our bases. If somebody were to jump, I can assure you they will be dealt with harshly. It is not going to go unnoticed. We are giving the assurance to the public that you are going to be safe.”

This will also be the first final for the PFJL with fans in attendance after last year’s championship was played behind closed doors. Watson says that an incident-free final is vital for the health of the league and for the PJFL.

“We have to do everything to make our sponsors happy, to make the public happy. Not just the public who are physically at the event but the viewing public who are seeing it on TV, on Instagram, on YouTube. That is what is going to encourage them to become supporters and loyal fans of the Premier League going into the 2022-23 season,” Watson said. “If we have another blot on our record, if we are not able to deliver on what we promised, it means that people will not be encouraged because they will be saying that the PFJL and the administration are not able to manage it. “