Let’s Manufacture, Package, Label & Export a Football League We Can Be Proud of!!!

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           Jamaica’s premier football league has been existent since 1973. Now called the Red Stripe Premier League, sponsorship roles have been transferred over the years but the league has kept a format similar to that of the MLS in the United States. Jamaica’s top division has been battered year after year by a myriad of problems. Firstly, football results seldom manifest featuring three or more goals per game. On average, nil all, one-love, two-love and one-all scorelines can be expected. Another issue plaguing the Premier League is that of wage allocation. Financial chains strap down each club’s administration, crippling the overall spending potential of the team in regards to every season’s expenses. Team transport, team equipment and venue rentals are among the highly prioritized seasonal tariffs, player salaries falling close behind. Aside from those, the league’s following is microscopic in comparison to that of the country’s population and in comparison to other leagues in the Confederation.
            The low-scoring games each week are demotivators for all avid football fans in Jamaica. With only, at maximum, three games producing more than three goals weekly. It is no wonder why Jamaicans rather being consumers of the English Premier League. Jamaicans align themselves with mostly London clubs belonging to the brand that is the Barclay’s Premier League, namely Arsenal, Chelsea & the custodians of Whitehart Lane. Other such English teams which keep Jamaicans glued to their screens are Manchester United, the noisy neighbours Manchester City and Liverpool F.C. In such a highly competitive league, whether the top four might be guaranteed but of unpredictable order, there exists opportunities to attract well-needed functional revenue via broadcast rights, stadium seats and team apparel. Win, lose or draw, football consumers worldwide, including Jamaicans, are more than willing to splash hard earned cash on memorabilia which connects them to such a league. Leagues such as the EPL, Seria A, Ligue 1, LigaBBVA and the German Bundesliga pull masses day in, day out and it did not happen sporadically.
          With the football world being male-dominated, leagues of such a nature attract endorsements of enterprises catering for males in contrast to females. I refer to automobile manufacturers, video-game corporations, beer breweries, beer distributors and male hygienic product dispensaries which are most prominent. Apart from inking sponsorship deals with some of these companies, football clubs worldwide are able to tap into a wealth of resources offered up by registered members, fans and they each possess the firm financial backing of a board. In such a light, any debt acquired by any means can gradually or instantly be written off and the expenses of club operations taken back by the horns and not the tail. In Jamaica, champions of the Super League are offered a chance to compete in the National Premier League. It is my view that these clubs might not have been properly prepared for the necessary tolls of promotion and survival in the highest division. As a consequence of that, several board members resign their posts and player migration across clubs is rampant. With a new team comes new responsibilities, despite positional discipline, and yet it is often expressed through media outlets that several players who have moved from one side to another experience difficulty in honouring his contractual agreements. Added to that we’ve witnessed several name changes, team relocations and administrative personell distillation. The situation is such that, within an instant of a native player being offered a job overseas, he puts pen to paper. The League and these teams which boast a heavy portion of national representatives suffer in the long-run. Our current and future premier leaguers are more than capable of international quality football. Why then, does our national programme suffer?
           Telecommunications giant LIME have engineered an initiative to get community teams assembled and community competitions annually active. This is done across parishes and parish football associations and while I strongly support LIME on such ventures, I believe more needs to be done for football on an island-wide basis. Football is introduced as an extra-curricular activity at the preparatory and primary school level and I’ve recognized that quite a few Premier League clubs have established grassroots programmes at this level upward. Nevertheless, I recommend that football be introduced to the youngsters as a livelihood, not at all concerned if it is done via the school’s sports package or through training at the academies. An academy should be established in each parish for the monitoring of football talent at each internationally recognized competitive level. Married with each parish academy should be a provincial team guaranteeing more football clubs eligible for top division and ultimately top-flight football. These provincial clubs will be ranked through the leagues obviously by their seasonal performances and divisional capabilities. This will give residents of these communities and parishes a sense of spirit and identity connecting them to these football clubs.

Reggae Boyz in Training – Jamaican Street Football
Gol de Jermaine Anderson / C.D. Aguila 1 – 3 C.D. U.E.S
Top 10 Goals   Jermaine  Tuffy  Anderson   RSPL

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