Western News

Farewell western-based RSPL teams

The Sporting EDGE

Paul Reid

Thursday, March 21, 2019

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The regular season of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) ended yesterday and both western based- clubs FC Reno and Montego Bay United will be relegated.

If none of the Western Confederation Super League teams qualify for the RSPL next year, it would be the first time in living memory that western Jamaica would be without at least one team in the island's top cub football competition.

There has been a strong and persistent rumour that is yet to be dismissed by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and its subsidiary the Premier League Club Association (PLCA) that teams got away with using ineligible players, and at least one team, MBU, would have been dealt an unfair blow.

The word is that Cavalier FC used an ineligible player when they beat MBU in the third round and by the laws of FIFA, if that is found to be true, MBU should have been awarded the game and a 3-0 margin of victory.

What we have heard, however, is that a number of other clubs, Kingston-based ones I am guessing, were also guilty of the same breaches and as such the PLCA are hesitant to do anything as they don't want to deal with the repercussions.

If any of this is true, then these cowardly spineless people who make up the PLCA must do the honourable thing and resign 'for the good of the game'.

If the JFF and PLCA are not able to ensure that all the players in the RSPL are properly registered, then they have no right occupying the positions they currently do, and should step aside.

Of course that will never happen as they have too much to gain by being on that powerful football body and what is even more shameful is the silence from both the JFF and Professional Football Association of Jamaica (PFAJ).

Had the situation been different and a rural club had used the ineligible player and won the game against a Kingston team that was in relegation trouble, bet your house the PFAJ would have come down on them like a ton of bricks.

A few seasons ago, a fan of MBU was alleged to have broken laws far less serious than a club using an ineligible player, and the full might of the PFAJ was unleashed on him and his name was dragged through the media and summons sent out for him to attend meetings in Kingston.

He was banned from all RSPL venues in the island and was even beaten up and thrown out of a game in Kingston after been spotted in the stands.

Talk about majoring in the minor.

If the JFF and PFAJ could get away with allowing players to participate in the RSPL, just imagine what else they have got away with in the past, or simply just ignored?

Mismanagement at the JFF is nothing new and it was not a surprise that CONCACAF has ordered them to cut one of the three bodies running the sport here, and it seems the PLCA, the marketing arm of the RSPL, will have to go and will be absorbed by the PFAJ.

Not so long ago, Fifa had ordered the JFF to cut its top-heavy executive which numbered over a dozen to a more streamlined body and in line with what obtains elsewhere. But we understood why the executive had to be so big in the first place —to ensure votes in elections.

This kind of rules violation would never happen at ISSA, which is a high school body running amateur sports.

ISSA has put in safeguards to protect the sports they oversee and ensure that every team/school is treated the same without fear or favour, yet JFF are still operating like it is 1950 and they owe favours to some clubs more than others.

It's no secret that there are sections of the football hierarchy who would prefer to see all RSPL games being played in a certain geographical region, and we still have coaches complaining about having to drive two-and-a-half-hours to Montego Bay to play games.

We here in the west, can only hope that the Western Confed Super League champions will be able to get to the RSPL next year 'to take shame out of our eyes'.


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