Mon | Aug 8, 2022

Football won, says PFJL boss

Williams: Jamaica you are the greatest because you came out and supported the footballers

Published:Tuesday | July 5, 2022 | 12:11 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Christopher Williams, chairman of PFJL
Christopher Williams, chairman of PFJL
Jubilant fans at Sabina Park during the Jamaica Premier League football final between eventual winners Harbour View and Dunbeholden on Sunday. Harbour View won 6-5 on penalties.
Jubilant fans at Sabina Park during the Jamaica Premier League football final between eventual winners Harbour View and Dunbeholden on Sunday. Harbour View won 6-5 on penalties.
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The curtain came down on the 2022 Jamaica Premier League (JPL) season with the playing of the final between new champions Harbour View and Dunbeholden at Sabina Park on Sunday, and chairman of the Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL),...

The curtain came down on the 2022 Jamaica Premier League (JPL) season with the playing of the final between new champions Harbour View and Dunbeholden at Sabina Park on Sunday, and chairman of the Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL), Christopher Williams, has hailed the fans and other stakeholders for making the season a spectacular and entertaining one.

“Jamaica we love you. Jamaica you are the greatest because you came out and supported the footballers. So we love you and thank you,” Williams told The Gleaner.

“But this was a total team effort. The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), corporate Jamaica, the fans and the clubs. We worked hard at putting together a package that is attractive and marketable. We have managed that package and the result has been unbelievable. The viewership and turnout at the gates was fantastic.

“But we knew Jamaicans love football and they love Jamaicans. We love watching ourselves. As long as it is delivered in a structured, professional and organised way, they will support it.”

He added that sports cannot be played without fans because they make the game what it is.

“Their interaction creates the drama. The whole intensity comes from the fans. I walked around the stadium interacting with fans and they were having a ball and the footballers gave us a nice game, they give their all and really put on a final show,” he commented.

The PFJL, which replaced the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) in 2020 just months into the pandemic, had its work cut out due to restrictions imposed by the Government during the world health crisis.

No spectators were allowed for the 2021 season and for the first two months of the 2022 season. But since restrictions were relaxed in March, there has been an upturn in financial returns from games. However, Williams said details regarding finances and other issues, including his tenure as chairman, will be addressed in a press conference next week.

“Since the prime minister freed us up, our books have been getting better and better. Once the final cools off we will be looking to do a press conference, maybe next week Monday, on the business model, the performance, the path going forward and we will talk about my tenure. We also have a sponsor who wants to make an announcement on Thursday,” he said.

He also praised outgoing champions Cavalier and Dunbeholden for the show they put on in the semi-final and said they could not have had a better advert for the league. However, he believes the key to 2022 being a successful season was the increase television coverage of the league.

“That semi-final was a godsend. It was the greatest marketing tool you could have in the world. But I also have to give a shout-out to SportsMax. Their coverage and commentary was spectacular. You had a few thousand people in the stadium for that seven-goal thriller but millions watched the highlights and the game on television. So what has been demonstrated is that the league format must support television coverage.

“That was the big difference. Ninety per cent of games were carried. So the popularity exploded. Before only Monday nights games were carried and it was just one game for the week but now every weekend most of the games are aired and that has exploded interest. So television was a big deal and in the end the product sold off and football won,” he said.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com