Western Grandstand : Who will stop PLCA wrecking ball?
I am very disappointed that Montego Bay United Football Club did not make it to the semi-finals of the 2016/17 Red Stripe Premier League because it robbed me of the opportunity to see what action the Jamaica Football Federation would have taken against the club for not wearing the sponsor's logo in their first round quarter-final against Arnett Gardens.
After the game, which ended in a 1-1 tie, reports surfaced that Arnett Gardens had lodged an appeal to the JFF, asking that the game be awarded to them by a 3-0 margin because of the so-called logo infraction by MoBay which was done to protest the non-payment of their monthly allocations by the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA).
My gut feeling is that, had MoBay beaten Arnett Gardens and advanced to the semi-finals, the JFF, which appears to be badly intimidated by the top leadership of the PLCA, would have buckled under pressure and penalised MBU.
I believe the PLCA is making an absolute mockery of the RSPL and the recent action taken by the sponsors not to broadcast the second leg game between MoBay and Arnett was an indication of their frustration with the management of the league.
Based on the time and effort he has invested in bringing respect to club football in Jamaica, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) boss, Captain Horace Burrell, must be quite embarrassed by the whole situation. Although I have regularly criticised his leadership, I am 100 per cent sure that Burrell is passionate about the nation's football and would happily revert to the days when we had no PLCA.
As I have stated repeatedly in this column, I don't believe the leadership of the PLCA is interested in what is best for Jamaica's football and if their lacklustre handling of the RSPL is anything to go by, are more interested in advancing their parochial interest than anything else.
In my opinion, if the Inter-secondary School Sports Association (ISSA) can run the Manning Cup and daCosta Cup, which feature over 100 teams, with the kind of efficiency they have, then it must be a case of either inefficiency or incompetence why the PLCA cannot properly manage a 12-team competition.
Since it is quite that the PLCA is presiding over a competition that has a strong bias towards Kingston teams, maybe the time has come for the rural parishes to establish a rural competition. That would at least ensure that more rural parishes will be involved in top level club football.
In such a scenario, when the Kingston and rural leagues are completed, you could then have the two urban finalists and the two rural finalists playing off in a four team play-off to decide a national champion. A competition similar to the FLOW Cup in schoolboys could be considered to add an extra layer of interaction between 'town' and 'country.'
Whether or not this suggestion is ever considered, my greatest wish is to see the PLCA removed from our football radar.
It is the JFF that was given the mandate to take care of national football so I find unacceptable that it has allowed the PLCA to be exercising the type of power that should only be in the hands of elected officials.
It should be noted that, in the pre-PLCA era, we were able to qualify a team to the World Cup with predominantly local based players. Now with the PLCA and all its big talk about professionalism and growth, we can't even assemble a team without having to run to England to beg players with Jamaica ties to come and represent us.