Ricketts, Stephenson differ on night games
Jamaica Football Federation presidency candidates Ambassador Stewart Stephenson and Michael Ricketts have expressed opposing views on the proposal by the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) to play more night matches during the upcoming season of the Manning and daCosta Cup schoolboy football competitions.
At the launch of the 2017 season of the ISSA/Flow Schoolboy football season on August 24, ISSA president Dr Walton Small told STAR Sports that the move would help to attract more spectators and raise the profile of both competitions.
"We are going to graduate into some amount of night football because we recognise that the patrons are coming, and we have identified specific games that we are going to be spending some serious amount of money on in terms of advertising," Small said.
"We are kind of rebranding the football, so we want to make it a bit more exciting and we want to encourage more spectators, and, therefore, we are going to be moving towards night football," he added.
However, Stephenson, whose son Khari Stephenson played Manning Cup football for Wolmer's Boys' School, expressed concerns about the idea.
"I have always had a concern, personally, about Manning Cup games being played in the night," Stephenson told STAR Sports.
"We have to have a balance between commercialisation of the sport, this concept of being commercial and getting the sponsorship and what is good for the boys. If you do it on the weekend, that's different, but if you're going to be doing it the week, these are students who should, during the week, be preparing homework. Even then, you still have to be careful," he said, pointing out that weekends were one thing, but he still had a concern about games which might begin after six o' clock in the evening, whether Fridays or Saturdays.
"If you go beyond six o' clock, you have children out on the roads after eight o' clock, that would be a concern. I understand commercialising of the sport and ISSA trying to get benefits, but these are schoolboy leagues, which should be played in the afternoon," he added.
Clarendon Football Association president Ricketts, however, supported the idea of night games and the excitement it may bring.
"I would support it as long as it is in reasonable time. After work you get some extra support and that's what we are about, to sell the product. I would endorse it," he told STAR Sports.
Ricketts said teachers should help schoolboys manage their time so late games would not interfere with their studies.
"The important thing is managing your time. The teachers and the coaches must help them manage their time. Schoolboy teams have a fan base, but I'm pretty certain it would build a vibe and sell the product some more. I think I would support it," he said.