JFF moves to license youth academies
The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has started the process of regulating and licensing the growing number of football academies that has started islandwide.
According to JFF's technical committee chairman, Rudolf Speid, regulations were passed four months ago, which entails governing the academies, but while these institutions have been made aware the ruling body has not received any application as yet.
Speid, however, stated that the federation believes academies have a vital role to play in the future of Jamaica's youth development and wants a proper structure in which they can operate.
"We don't think the clubs spend enough time and resources on youths. We have the schools that do some work with them, but most youth club competitions are only about two months and we found that the academies operate almost full time year-round.
"We believe that no one of the three is enough if we want to develop properly. So the intention is to licence all three and have the three of them playing competitions, and then we might be able to catch up with the standard required for these players to become professionals. So the academy is one more step," Speid said.
Academies will be grouped into categories A to D, based on their level of organisation and infrastructure. This process will be managed by academy assessors, who will visit and grade them on the 13 criteria set by the JFF.
"They will have to apply for it and it is what the academy is capable of that will decide which category they fall in. This will be determined by the type of coach and how qualified they are and if they use technology to advance training.
"Plus the field and venue that they have. There are 13 different criteria and they will have to score 11 out of 13 to get an A licence," he said.
The JFF wants and academy season, which will be national competitions to run from January to August and Speid said they will not be forcing them to get regulated but those that don't will not be allowed in these competitions.
"The regulations just need to be put in place. The players will get experienced travelling and playing and wouldn't be so dependent on the club structure to play games," he said.
Although he could not provide a number, he contends that academies are currently more than clubs islandwide and the regulation is important to move forward and grow.
"There are a lot and we want to get them under some regulation process. It is something we are trying to work on this year and we will be trying to have some meetings with some academies and see if we can get them to join in," he added.