'Unprofessional' clubs to be affected by CONCACAF changes
Jamaican football clubs may lose their opportunity to qualify for the Scotiabank Champions League competition unless the country's premier league becomes fully professionalised in time for proposed changes by the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) set to be implemented next year.
The Jamaica Football Federation yesterday issued a release from regional governing body outlining intended changes to its regional champion's league beginning in 2018.
According to the release, there will be two tiers of football competitions for Caribbean clubs.
Tier one clubs will play in the Caribbean Professional Club Championship (CPCC), which will be contested by the winner and runner-up clubs of the top professional and semi-professional Leagues in Year One (2018).
After that, only clubs from leagues that are fully professionalised will be eligible to participate in the CPCC.
The second-tier competition will be the Caribbean Amateur Club Championship (CACC), which will be open to the champion club of the top league in member associations that have no professional or semi-professional league in 2018 and to amateur and semi-professional leagues from 2019 onwards.
The changes also mean that only the winner of the CPCC will qualify automatically to the Scotiabank/CONCACAF Champions League while second and third-place teams will qualify for the CONCACAF League 2018.
No prize money
Concacaf said it would be focusing most of its resources on the CPCC, which will include a subsidy for air travel, hotel, meals and ground transportation for the teams and match officials as well as prize money. Clubs participating in the CACC will receive a lower-level subsidy and no prize money.
Concacaf also said that its intention was to phase out the CACC after 2022 and focus its resources on professional clubs and leagues.
All clubs must now prove their eligibility through the CONCACAF Club Licensing system, which became mandatory in 2016.
The system forms the foundation of the eligibility platform and the designation of the member associations' league will be based on a CONCACAF League Survey, to be completed by member associations.
Concacaf said its representatives from Club Competitions and Club Licensing Divisions will be carrying out spot checks on member associations and clubs competing in upcoming CONCACAF Regional club competitions.
The spot checks are to ensure that member associations and clubs meet the requirements laid down in the Club Licensing Regulations.
Meanwhile, the Jamaica Football Federation have given the Professional Football Association of Jamaica (PFAJ) until Monday to issue a response to changes that are necessary.
Interim JFF President Bruce Gaynor said that the decisions were "game-changing for the region", adding that the JFF would be working closely with all stakeholders to ensure Jamaica's football is a beneficiary.