MONTEGO BAY, St James — The impasse between the St James Parish Council and Red Stripe Premier League outfit Montego Bay United (MBU) over fees to use the Montego Bay Sports Complex came to an "amicable" end yesterday when they announced that both have formed a "partnership".
Mayor of Montego Bay, Councilor Glendon Harris announced at a press conference held at the Parish Council building yesterday that they had hammered out an agreement with the help of Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Captain Horace Burrell in a meeting Wednesday and have formed a partnership that will see the football club utilising the Montego Bay Sports Complex with the revenue from those games used to offset the costs incurred.
The decision was hailed by both the Parish Council and MBU, which was represented by president Orville Powell and the JFF.
"After careful deliberations, as Mayor of the City of Montego Bay and chairman of the St James Parish Council, I wish to officially announce that an amicable solution has been reached, which will see the Montego Bay United Football Club utilising the Montego Bay Sports Complex and the gate receipts used to cover the costs associated with the games," the Mayor announced.
He further stated: "The Parish Council and Montego Bay United Football Club will work assiduously to garner and increase support both from the public and corporate Jamaica for the city's only football team participating in the prestigious Red Stripe Premier League."
The agreement brought to an end a long-standing dispute between both parties over fees for the use of the facilities.
The situation came to a head two weeks ago when Powell publicly questioned the $220,000 in fees that were being charged per game to use the facilities and threatened to take the club elsewhere.
Earlier this week Powell had announced they would play their next three home games at the St Elizabeth Technical Sports Complex in Santa Cruz.
However, yesterday Powell said they had advised the operators of the St Elizabeth facility of the change of direction and as a compromise would play one home game, against Sporting Central Academy on January 6, there.
Powell also said the "partnership" was the first step in what he had always wanted, to use Montego Bay United as a tool in enhancing "brand Montego Bay".
While hailing the role played by Captain Burrell, as well as JFF General Secretary Horace Reid, Powell said he was "happy today, I am trying to come to grips with what we achieved".
Powel described the past two weeks as "bad publicity for Montego Bay", and said they had to "turn it around and move forward".
Captain Burrell for his part said he was "extremely happy and delighted" that an agreement had been ironed out as the sport had more to offer than just 22 men on a field.
"There are so many social benefits to be gained from football as it unites communities and Montego Bay is in real need of this right now."