Time to start swimming without Burrell
After years of benefitting from the convenient quid pro quo arrangement, which saw them giving former Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) boss, Captain Horace Burrell, their vote in exchange for his sponsorship support, more than half of the nation's parish associations are now facing an uncertain future.
It is no secret that having become accustomed to being spoon-fed by Burrell, the leadership of some parish associations had become so lazy, complacent and dependent, that unless Burrell's daughter, who has replaced him at the helm of the Captain's Bakery, decides to continue the sponsorship support, many of these parish associations will become non-functional.
The more I try to figure possible scenarios for parish associations to stay afloat without their perennial Captain's Bakery sponsorship, the more I am convinced that like the foolish virgins in the Bible, many of them will begin the post-Burrell era not being able to trim the lamps to illuminate football in their parish.
I have always had a problem with the Captain's Bakery sponsorship, ethically, as it gave Burrell an unfair advantage at election time. Now it is also exposing the danger of falling prey to dependency.
To be fair to Burrell's legacy, whenever he was quizzed about the morality of his sponsorship arrangement with the vast majority of parish associations and some confederations, he would also say they were free to go out and seek alternate sponsorship. Unfortunately, the parishes never took up that offer.
It should be interesting to note that Danny Beckford, the St Ann FA boss, who fell out of grace with Burrell and lost his sponsorship support a few years ago, is probably now in a far better shape to face the future than many of his counterparts, who had used his falling-out with Burrell to ridicule him.
With the current economic climate and the scandalous state of many parish associations, I strongly doubt that many of them will be able to find sponsors who would be willing to put their good name against the extremely shabby product.
In fact, with news surfacing that some of the parish associations are actually waiting to see if the new management at the Captain Bakery will continue to splash out sponsorship dollars to them, it shows that with just months to go before most parishes would start their domestic football programmes, many are far from ready to proceed.
I do hope that the parish presidents, who are now in limbo, will follow in the footsteps of Danny Beckford and start trying to become the masters of their destiny. Laziness must now be replaced by a progressive agenda. Whether or not we approved of how Burrell dealt with his sponsorship/investment deal with the parishes, there can be no doubt that in so doing, he was keeping many afloat. While I am no great fan of KSAFA's football, I would urge the parish associations to get a copy of that association's playbook, which is independent and working.