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Stadium closure could pose problems for JFF - Burrell

Published:Saturday | March 27, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer

Horace Burrell, president of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), said the impending closure of the National Stadium by the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) will have a damning effect on his association and their efforts to host international matches in the country.

"If am reading what Mayor (Desmond) McKenzie had said in one of the daily newspapers, that after the staging of the boys and girls' athletics championships, there will be no further events inside the National Stadium until the repairs are effected," said Burrell in an interview with The Gleaner on Thursday.

"This tells me that if we apply to host a football game at the National Stadium then it is not likely that approval will come because of that reason."

However, Burrell noted that he is hoping that whatever repairs need to be done, it will be completed very quickly because this could pose a very huge problem for the JFF.

"It is very serious and until the repairs are done and the certificates are produced, then Jamaica will not be able to play any games in there. And so right now Pandora's box is open and I am really fearful of the consequences," Burrell lamented.

When contacted yesterday, Mayor McKenzie said he would not give a comment on the matter.

Meanwhile, Burrell also disclosed that he is finding it very difficult to secure quality opponents to engage the Reggae Boyz in friendly internationals.

The Reggae Boyz have played two matches this year, one against Canada at the National Stadium and the other against South American giants Argentina in Argentina.

Burrell said: "The challenges are huge, but we have been looking around and what is happening is that all the teams who are going to be participating in the World Cup have chosen to play against teams which have already qualified for the tournament."

He added: "There are always the possibilities of playing matches overseas and we will continue to peruse all the options that are available to us.

"But right now, there is nothing on the cards and we will just have to be relentless in securing opponents for matches.

"Looking around, there are not a lot of opponents, but the situation is now further complicated by the fact that the stadium is not going to be available," said Burrell.