Sheer bungling at the highest level of local football

Sheer bungling at the highest level of local football

Saturday, December 29, 2018

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The manner in which this International Football Charity match between local outfit Waterhouse FC and St Andrews FC of Malta was announced at a press conference at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Thursday gave us cause for serious concern.

We found it utterly shocking that a club such as Waterhouse FC, operating at the highest level of football in the land, would have announced such a game involving an international team without first acquiring the approval of the local governing body, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), and by extension, its regional and parent bodies, Concacaf and Fifa.

The game was slated for tomorrow at the Waterhouse Mini Stadium for 7:00 pm.

When quizzed at the time of the announcement about the bungling of the application process, Waterhouse FC's President Mr Donovan White explained that the organisers were currently taking the necessary steps to have the game formally sanctioned by the JFF.

He is reported in yesterday's Daily Observer as saying: “We are hoping to complete all the information tomorrow (Friday); we are waiting on a piece of documentation from the Maltese FA which has been promised for very early tomorrow morning.

“Once we have that, KSAFA (Kingston and St Andrew Football Association) has already given us their indication of approval and from there the expectation is that [the] JFF will sanction the game and then we are ready to go. All the other plans are in place.”

Well, up to press time yesterday, neither KSAFA, the host parish association, nor JFF, had received the relevant application documentations from the organisers, giving both bodies little or no time to duly approve the game.

And even if they were so inclined to “help out” Waterhouse in this charitable venture, the JFF is bound by Fifa's explicit regulations to submit a final authorisation request containing the authorisations of all relevant members and non-host confederations to Concacaf at least 14 days before the earliest proposed date for the match. This authorisation request for the game shall be on the official Fifa forms available at the JFF, which has been closed for the holidays. Once Concacaf approves the game, then it notifies the JFF, Fifa and the non-host confederation.

Clearly the organisers missed that timeframe long ago and therefore placed themselves squarely in the proverbial box, leaving JFF no wiggle room to manoeuvre, based on the standard protocols involved in hosting an international game.

What disappoints us most of all is that Waterhouse's leaders, certainly by their execution in this case, appear totally ignorant of the basic tenets of hosting an international friendly match, though the expertise resides right here in Jamaica in abundance.

The development of football is not just about players and coaches improving their technical, tactical and physical skills, but also administrators, support staff, match officials and just about all stakeholders improving in their specific areas.

This game was a good idea for international scouts to examine local players with a view to possibly engaging some of them abroad, plus it would have raised monies for charity. But sadly it has been poorly managed.

Now the JFF has no choice but to turn its back on this event, for too much is at stake to risk a Fifa sanction in the event something goes wrong.

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