Time to bell this rambunctious PLCA
Ever since its inception in 2007, I have not been a fan of the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA). In fact, based on its parochial stance on various issues, it has emerged as more of an impediment than an asset to the development of local club football.
One of the early fears that I had was that because of the many strong personalities in the PLCA, it would eventually usurp the authority of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF)), then led by Crenston Boxhill, and ultimately become a law unto itself.
When Captain Horace Burrell replaced Boxhill at the helm of the JFF in 2008, I knew he was not happy with having the PLCA because it was sticking out like a sore thumb, negotiating sponsorship deals and all but independently running the RSPL, which was the JFF's flagship club competition during Burrell's previous stint at the helm.
While the PLCA came to the fore projecting itself as the guardian of club football, I have always felt that rather than creating lucrative opportunities for the clubs and the players, its main purpose was to uphold the misguided status quo, which was to keep Kingston in control of Jamaica's football, to the detriment of anything outside of Kingston.
As I had feared, it now appears that the PLCA has become so powerful that even the JFF, which should be rightfully running the RSPL, has been reduced to a toothless tiger. Even Burrell's bid to create a professional franchise-style league failed to materialise because it did not find favour with the PLCA.
During the last two RSPL seasons, I watched with trepidation as the JFF stood by and allowed the PLCA to ill-treat Montego Bay United Football Club (MBUFC) all because the club's president, the feisty Orville Powell, decided to stand up to it and demand justice and respect for his team.
Prior to the death of Captain Burrell, I wrote a column urging him to cut ties with the PLCA and allow the JFF to reclaim its rightful role as the true arbiter of the nation's football. However, either out of fear or being too timid to rock the boat, the advice was not taken. At that time, I had a gut feeling that the PLCA was on a path to embarrass the federation.
Now, with the PLCA recently deciding not to accept a JFF directive to pay outstanding monies owned to MBUFC and the referees, it has led to the very embarrassing situation of the start of the 2017-18 RSPL season being called off, pending the resolution of the matter involving MBU.
While some people are worried that this latest situation could turn off the sponsors of the RSPL and do long-term damage to the popular club competition, I have no such fear. In fact, I see this as a great opportunity for the JFF to put an end to the destructive reign of this errant PLCA.
As one who has been intimately involved with the RSPL, under its different names and umbrella, for 40 years, I have no qualms in saying that the PLCA has done absolutely nothing to make the RSPL a better product. In fact, I believe it has taken us several steps back because, under the previous regime, we were able to qualify a team, dominated by local-based club players, for the 1998 World Cup.
So, as I wait with bated breath to see what will be the outcome of this stand-off between the JFF and the PLCA, I do hope the JFF will not capitulate because that would mean disaster. Instead, the federation should begin to take the bold step of ridding the nation's football of this unwanted entity.