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Premier League Jamaica
2020-05-23 22:57 

TONY JAMES - Major Issues in Football Administration



Saturday, May 23, 2020


Source of major issues in football administration revolves around universal, dare I say family-oriented issues.


1. Speaking the truth--- trust--- keeping your word and their "bigger cousin"--- corruption 

2. Consultation -- Being inclusive--  "hiding confidential issues" from affiliates/stakeholders

3. Respect for varying views especially stakeholders 

4. Constitutional guidance 

ALL Critical elements for a viable democracy

To be a leader in COVID times is a very difficult job as decisions are life-threatening

The recent impasse between the JFF and PLCA vice-chairman can be understood from differing perspectives as both are being guided by Government protocol in different time periods. 

We are still in the fear stage (death) of the pandemic and COVID has placed sports clearly in perspective.--- Health and Safety First obey government decisions regardless or as best as you can.  Err on the side of caution.

This explains the JFF's cancellation of the premier league based on their board's decision and their interpretation of guidance by the government health authorities.

Carvel, however, has moved on the co-existence stage of the pandemic, which the government also recognizes in a potential time-line starting on June 1st, where the economy has to be opened up despite the potential risks. 

Carvel's PLCA plans envisage a July start all things being equal

Athletics chief Sebastian Coe best summaries the majority of international, professional, sporting sentiments. " We have to be guided by what governments, the WHO and local authorities are telling us, but we also have to make our own decisions and make sensible compromises ( Sunday Observer May 17th).

Carvel sees the inevitability of the government's position to open up the economy, with our fledgeling professional thrust, the Red Stripe Premier League, being a part of people having to go back to work and reminds all that the PLCA footballers are workers, with a job and family responsibilities. 

Football is not simply an amateur game.

This phase of existence with a corresponding calculated risk needs courageous leadership.  

Carvel goes on to accuse the JFF of being amateurs with existing skill sets applicable only for the amateur game.

A Los Perfectos we have to agree with him, as in our confederation our superleague teams (the second tier of national football) have collectively decided to relegate themselves to amateur status as there is not one of our clubs that are prepared or structured to deal with the immense financial chasm that exists between our 1-2Million dollar yearly expenditure and that of the premier league which is 20Million and upwards. It would be easy to blame the JFF for the wide disparity between the sponsorship and efforts of the stronger confederations and the particular geographical hybrid that exists in our confederation with no JFF technical plan or vision for improvement. The truth, however, is that responsibility lies with the clubs who vote for their parish executive board, pay little attention to AGM's and are unwilling/or unable to structure and finance their club much less their premier league aspiration. 

Our heart goes out to those clubs in the national superleague, making the effort, putting in the work and therefore finding the funding to seriously challenge for a premier league promotion space--- especially those in the western confederation, which has been disconnected from the nation's top league.

I think to most clubs it is not the decision to cancel but the total lack of adequate consultation by the JFF or their parish representatives, most of whom have little or no investment in either the premier or superleague in this country.

A 24-hour ultimatum to make a decision on the fate of the PLCA /superleague season by an executive to its parish affiliates surely envisaged a minimum consultation process.

It is the same lack of consultation that seems to be taking place in the FIFA/ JFF review of the new pending JFF statue.  

The JFF claim to have sort prior guidance from FIFA yet it would be interesting to note how many of our rural parish representatives turned up last month for this critical JFF meeting with FIFA  in Kingston and therefore what level of representation and input the clubs were afforded. Most administrators seem to have lost track of the fact that the catalyst for Jamaican football is our club structure.

As one of the leading clubs in central Jamaica, we have no direct response from either the JFF or Manchester Football Association on FIFA's proposals. Through the football grapevine, FIFA seems to be serious about restructuring administrations in the Caribbean, in a fundamental way, as seen recently in our CFU affiliate Trinidad who have had election results cancelled and a normalization committee put in place. 

One view in Trinidad sees a coup to democratic to elect the TTFA board.

Alternatively, FIFA and other views refer to a bankrupt FA which needs to be restructured with sound economic policies, transparency, and good governance. FIFA seems unconcerned about the legitimate claim of a legacy of colossal debt.

We are approaching the 6th CFU Caribbean country to have a normalization committee, as the CFU seems to have ceded this authority to its international partners.   

Between COVID and Jamaica's new FIFA statues, it is an opportune time for reflection by all. 

FIFA is insisting that for real national progress to be made a professional layer is essential for Jamaica's football.  This is a position that Los P has carried to every AGM and communication opportunity with the JFF for both the male and female games.

The JFF has moved positively to install a new technical chairman who is very well-read internationally and also possesses a rural understanding of the game. Similarly, an experienced financial board member has been added as also a co-opting of sorts of JOA president Samuda on the critical committee considering a Caribbean professional league.

Technical chairman Speid reinforces CONCACAF and FIFA's position that the female game must be similarly structured as the male game, affording our young females a career path in the male-dominated football arena.

Hopefully, with a similar paradigm shift in attitudes by all we need to support these new initiatives, notwithstanding the difficulty of reconciling the following:

1. Football politics mirrors our national politics with the same culture and attitudes

2. Nationally, you cannot have progress or change if you reward corruption

3. Transparency requires consultation and JFF reporting to its stakeholders on all major issues instead of excessive board confidentiality and arrogantly hiding JFF's financial position.

4. Amateur's skill sets are detrimental to running professional or national programs. We saw that in women WorldCup campaign where egos clashed and triumphed and the program is that much the poorer for it.

The dedicated funding for national sports associations envisaged by sporting prime Ministers Manley and Seaga needs to be revisited to avoided JFF to avoid JFF being the continuous scapegoat by players, creditors, supports, and sometimes the nation at large, in trying to live up to national high international expectations running a USD $ international program with scarce Jamaican dollars.

It would be interesting to see which FIFA turns up at our upcoming statues review. The one endorsing democratic elections or selection.

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