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Local football to be restructured

Published:Thursday | May 3, 2012 | 12:00 AM

André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

Over the next few months, Jamaica's football hierarchy will be looking at ways to make the island's football structure more viable for all stakeholders, with a major restructuring exercise expected to follow a report that is due in three months.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has long argued that the current league systems across the island are not sustainable and conducive to genuine development at that level, and has now moved to examine the way forward, with a major overhaul suggested.

Change has already started in some areas, with the Eastern Confederation, which has long grappled with sponsorship issues and ever-decreasing interest in the respective parish leagues, dissolving its Super League competition this season.

The JFF's technical committee, led by Howard McIntosh and Bruce Gaynor, will in three months time present a document with recommendations and JFF general secretary Horace Reid, while underlining that the process will take time, assured that the entire footballing fraternity is excitedly awaiting the suggestions with the anticipation that they will yield positive results.

"Bruce Gaynor and (technical committee) chairman Howard McIntosh will look at the holistic restructuring of football; not only the Super League, but everything. But that is a process and won't happen overnight," Reid told The Gleaner.

The report will be submitted to the JFF at the next board meeting in three months, at which point the suggestions will be discussed by the various stakeholders, Reid explained.

"They will report back to the (JFF) board in terms of a 'road map' to achieving this and the board will not meet until the next three months, so at that time we will have a better sense of what this road map will look like," Reid pointed out. "What is expected in three months is a presentation as to what the process is going to be like and who are the organisations that will be a part of that process, with very clear timelines and goals.

"I think everybody is excited about the prospects of having these discussions; it gives everybody the chance to bring contending views at one place so there is anticipation among the stakeholders," Reid added.

"The reality is that none of us know exactly what he final recommendations and decision will be because we have to go through the process of discussion with all the stakeholders and that includes all of the parish associations, all of the confederations, PFAJ, PLCA, sponsors, media; everybody will be involved before we are able to arrive at a decision," added Reid.

Decline in interest

Confederations have largely struggled to attract sponsorship for competitions and have also seen a decline in interest in the respective parish leagues, which are left crippled because of the fact that their best teams compete in the Super League.

"The committee will have to take on board not only the emotional discussions, but also look at the practical situations because different parishes have different challenges and experiences and one has to find a good balance because what may work in one neck of the woods may not necessarily work somewhere else," said Reid.

"It's difficult to say what the landscape will look like in terms of competition structure at all levels once we are through."