Time to hold parish associations accountable

Letters to the Editor

Time to hold parish associations accountable

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

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Dear Editor,

With the election of officers for the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) a mere formality now for President Michael Ricketts and his crew, it is time for the 13 parish associations to have their elections.

For the many club administrators throughout the island these elections will not only represent an opportunity to elect administrators for the parishes and directors of the JFF, it will represent an opportunity for them to be bold and rid themselves of the perennial placeholders who have failed spectacularly to advance the game in their immediate locales and at the national level.

But who will bell the cat, so to speak?

These parish associations are required to hold their elections within 90 days of the JFF election, which is due for September 15, 2019 and usually these elections are dominated by local issues. However, the overwhelming view is that the current JFF leadership comprising mainly of parish presidents have failed the country, especially over the last three years. Therefore voters (club administrators) in these parishes must now take a strategic view of the game and how it is being administered at both levels, local and national. They must take into account the lack of confidence that corporate Jamaica has in the JFF and how that is linked to the management of affairs in their parishes.

Many of the parish presidents have been there since “Whappie kill Phillup” and have failed to show any tangible success. Some of the parishes are without sponsorship and a structured development programme, and other examples abound — a non-functioning office, no football database, lack of a structured youth league, proper playing facilities, etc. Added to that, many of the parishes are reportedly still without funds committed to them by the JFF from last year. This situation goes on without much of a squeal from the parish presidents who are directors of the JFF. Many believe their voices are being smothered by the head of delegations trips on offer which give them an opportunity to stuff their pockets with the much valued per diem allowance.

So what next for those parish voters? They must hold the incumbents accountable for the lack of progress or inertia at the local level and the unprecedented disaster unfolding at the national level. The clubs must ask hard questions of these incumbents seeking re-election to office. These include, why they must be given another two or four years? Where is the strategic development plan covering sponsorship and funding for parish teams, youth leagues, referee and coaching education, infrastructure, etc, for the parish? How is it to be funded? How can the game be monetised in the parish? Can we get the coaching courses decentralised? Will you agree to term limits? What are your views on the new play-off format for qualification to the Premier League? Are you willing to advocate for a fixed percentage of the operating budget of the JFF to be set aside for the parish associations?

Many of these parish presidents have entrenched themselves in office while the game in their parishes has stagnated. The club leaders must understand that the sorry state of Jamaica's football is a consequence of their complicity in electing leaders devoid of vision and the required administrative competence. They must be bold and act now to rid themselves of the non-performing presidents and their lot.

Who will take a stand and start the changes that are of an urgent necessity?

Mark Bennett


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