State of Emergency - Clubs hoping good sense prevails
Football clubs in the South St Andrew and Western and Central Kingston regions are hoping good sense will prevail and that the recently announced state of emergency (SOE) for the areas will not affect their operations, specifically their ability to host games or training sessions.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday announced an initial two-week operation for the three constituencies, which span downtown Kingston and its environs. The SOE is expected to impact Red Stripe Premier League clubs such as Arnett Gardens and Tivoli Gardens as well as several which compete in the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) competition like Maxfield Park, Greenwich Town, Rae Town, Central Kingston, and Santos.
Chairman of Arnett Gardens, Mark Golding, says home games are vitally important for generating revenue and keeping the community socially active, and he hopes it will not affect them playing at home.
"Certainly, we have to appeal to the authorities to allow our night matches. Home games are very essential to keep revenue going. We want to play at our ground," he told STAR Sports yesterday.
Accommodations were made for Montego Bay United to contimue hosting games during the Zone of Special Operations in the Second City, and Golding is hoping for the same facilitation. "We are hoping whatever was done there (MoBay), we will be availed to ourselves."
"We train in afternoons or evenings. I hope it doesn't (affect training). We will have to work around that, but I hope the Premier League football arrangement will not be disrupted because home matches are important to the club and communities," he reasoned
Keeble Allen, Central Kingston football club president, is still unsure what the impact will be but is hoping for the best.
"We don't know how the state of emergency will directly affect us, we will have to watch and see. But there is going to be a time span on how persons move about the community. Of course, we will talk to the relevant persons dealing with the area so we can accommodate our players, but proper sense will come out because we have big activities happening in these areas," Allen said.
Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) vice-president, Carvel Stewart, said they secured MoBay home games from the authorities when the special operation was announced for Montego Bay and they intend to do the same for the affected clubs in the Corporate Area.
"In Montego Bay, we spoke to the authorities and got the assurance that (home) games would be played. They put us to the officer in charge and we got the assurance and we will be doing the same thing (in Kingston)," he said.
"We hope there won't be (disruptions). I think we conducted the (RSPL) situation well in the Montego Bay area. So we should be able to do the same thing here. We will get in touch with the authorities ... and seek to ensure things go right," he said.
Meanwhile, Golding added: "Even though they have enhance power of search and seize, I don't see why they need to be disruptive to the normal everyday activities of citizens. In Spanish Town, North St Catherine, and Montego Bay there have been complaints, and we hope that attempts are made to make some adjustments. So we hope when it (SOE) rolls out, it will not be too disruptive," he said.
Meanwhile, schools competing in the ISSA competition such as Vauxhall, Holy Trinity, St George's College, Kingston College, Kingston Technical, Tivoli High, Denham Town High, Charlie Smith, and St Andrew Technical fall in the respective zones and will more than likely feel the effects of the state of emergency as well.