Ricketts calls for JFF, KSAFA play-off peace
President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Michael Ricketts says he is ready to come to some kind of compromise in order to prevent a stalemate with the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) over the new Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) promotion system.
In 2014, there was an agreement between the JFF and the four confederations to change the method by which teams are promoted to the nation's top-flight league. As it stands now, winners of each of the four confederations qualify for the JFF/Magnum Play-off series. But the new method would zone parishes into four groups and the winners will earn a spot in the play-off series, where the top two teams will be promoted to the RSPL.
KSAFA will be grouped with the St Thomas and St Catherine football associations, but the clubs in the Corporate Area believe this is a strategic move to lower their dominance in local football. As such, they decided to not take part in the new promotion system, which is slated to begin in June for the 2019-20 RSPL season.
"The truth is that I really don't want any stand-off with KSAFA and the JFF. It won't be good for the sport of football and I would love to find a way to amicably settle this dispute," Ricketts told STAR Sports yesterday. "But a number of people are blaming the JFF for this, but it is something that has been discussed and finalised three years ago and it was only delayed because we wanted to end the life of the sponsors. I don't see why there is this major issue at this time, but I really want this matter settled, and, hopefully, that can happen in short order."
According to Ricketts, then KSAFA president, Stewart Stephenson, supported the proposal for the change.
"This is something that has been discussed over a long time ago and there was a consensus and the then KSAFA president supported the move," Ricketts said. "I sent the minutes from that meeting to KSAFA."
But despite the confirmation, president of KSAFA, Wayne Shaw, said his clubs will not budge.
"I represent the clubs and what they are saying is that they are not in agreement," Shaw said. "What Stephenson said is that he was withdrawing his position because he did not agree. What he thought he voted on was not what was really put forward."
Efforts to contact Ambassador Stephenson proved futile.
"I don't think this new method would marginalise their chances of playing the Premier League. If they are strong enough they will beat up St Catherine and St Thomas," Rickets said.
Ricketts said he would make one final attempt to settle the dispute at the JFF board meeting on October 6.