ISSA proposes shortened football season if it gets Gov't greenlight

Sport

ISSA proposes shortened football season if it gets Gov't greenlight

Friday, July 03, 2020

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The 2020-21 schoolboys football season will be condensed into a seven- to eight-week period with a number of games being played at selected venues that will afford organisers the ability to have some semblance of control as it relates to sanitisation against the coronavirus.

That is if the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) gets the go ahead from the Government to have the season as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the island, says Keith Wellington, president of ISSA.

The organising body for sports at the high school level announced earlier this week plans to start competitive sports later in October, seven weeks or so after the start of the school year in September.

Earlier last month, both Wellington and Linvern Wright, the chairman of the daCosta Cup committee, had said the safe reopening of school would be used as a barometer for the restart of sports.

It was heard this week that ISSA plans to start basketball, netball and the Under-16 football competitions in early October with the Under-19 daCosta Cup and Manning Cup football tournaments proposed to start on October 31, “subject to governmental approval and a safe, healthy and secure environment for participants and stakeholders”.

“At this time what we are planning to do is have a truncated season lasting seven to eight weeks, so we are starting October 31 and hoping to end by December 18,” the ISSA boss told the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday.

“We took the decision that we would not carry over [the competitions] into 2021, so that if things are back to normal or close to normal, we can have the second-term competitions as we normally do,” said Wellington.

There was also a suggestion that with the late start, the competitions could be spread over into the Easter term. The football season usually runs from early September to early December.

As things stand, a number of schools would not be able to use their home grounds as they may not meet required standards as safety is top priority, while those venues that meet the criteria could host multiple games, says Wellington.

“We are also thinking that as part of the safety measures what we will be doing is looking at secure venues where we can better secure players and match officials,” he said.

“And even in a situation where we will have no spectators, we would still require venues that can be properly sanitised, and while we have not formally identified the venues, I think some persons will be able to guess some of the [them] that would be more readily accessible in terms of sanitisation and separation of teams,” Wellington added.

The ISSA boss said playing at these venues “we may end up on many days with double and triple-headers just to ensure that we have proper sanitisation taking place and that the issues of testing before games can be carried out in an atmosphere that is conducive”.

— Paul Reid


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