'It's expensive to host friendlies'

December 13, 2016
File Reggae Boyz manager Roy Simpson

National men's senior football team manager, Roy Simpson, says it will be difficult to attract major international teams to the island for friendly matches without increased sponsorship from corporate Jamaica.

Jamaica's last two home friendly games were wins against Venezuela and Cuba at the Montego Bay Sports Complex in Montego Bay in March 2015, and this has led to many complaints that the Reggae Boyz do not play often enough in front of their home fans.

Some critics have even compared the state of affairs now to the late 1990s when the Reggae Boyz hosted teams such as Colombia, Uruguay and Sweden at the National Stadium. These were teams who were ranked in the top 50 of the FIFA Coca Cola World Rankings at the time of these fixtures. It was also at a time when crowd support at 'The Office' was much larger than in recent times at the venue.

Simpson says that the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) cannot afford to host what he describes as the top ranked teams in the world at this time.

"It's more cost effective to have international friendly matches away from home," he says.

"It's very expensive to pay appearance fees for players and teams to travel to Jamaica, match fees, hotel accommodation, and plane fares. When you are hosting a team, you are covering all the arrangements for their visit," Simpson added.

According to Simpson, it was also easier to gain corporate sponsorship during the '90s.

"Two years out from before qualifying for the 1998 World Cup, the team was doing well in its campaign, so it was easier to garner corporate sponsorship."

He says modern television coverage of global football has also changed fans' opinions and expectations of the team.

Simpson says more television access to football across the world has caused some fans to be what he describes as 'unfairly critical' of the local programme, as they are less understanding of the difficulties the federation faces.

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