Sport

Seaga for Caribbean professional league task force

Tuesday, March 04, 2014    

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MIAMI, Florida — Former prime minister of Jamaica and chairman of Jamaica's Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) has been appointed to a CONCACAF task force charged with examining the feasibility of a potential Caribbean professional football league.

Seaga, who is also president of the Tivoli Gardens Football Club and chairman of the Professional Football Association of Jamaica (PFAJ), was appointed to the CONCACAF committee which is set to have its first meeting in Miami on March 24.

Other members of the 10-man committee are chairman Kenneth Howard, Randolph 'Randy' Horton (Speaker of the House of Assembly of Bermuda and a former New York Cosmos forward), Dr Keith Mitchell (Prime Minister of Grenada), Damien Hughes (general secretary, Caribbean Football Union), Simon Firth (partner, Maples and Calder, Cayman Islands), Don Garber (Commissioner, Major League Soccer), David John Williams (owner/president, WConnection Football Club, Trinidad and Tobago), Decio de Maria (president, Liga MX), Yves Jean-Bart (president, Haitian Football Federation), and Randy Harris (president, Barbados Football Federation).

Expected to contribute to the process in an advisory capacity are the English Premier League's Jefferson Slack (senior vice-president, Global Business Development, IMG) and Kieran Foley (group head marketing, Digicel).

There has been a previous attempt to institute a Caribbean league. From 1992-1994, clubs, including some from Jamaica, competed in the Caribbean Professional Football League. After changing competitive formats and league name over its three seasons of play, the circuit ceased operations before the 1995 season.

"I am certain that there are immense untapped opportunities for football in the Caribbean," said CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb. "We need to evaluate thoroughly how best to convert potential into a viable structure that could create new futures for clubs, players, fans and the game as a whole."

Garber, Commissioner of Major League Soccer, said the focus of the task force is to "analyse the feasibility of a sustainable business model".

De Maria, head of Mexico's top-tier league, noted that looking back at past attempts to develop such a league in the Caribbean will be crucial moving forward.

"That will provide important information as we seek to create an entity that serves the good of the game. Any new plans must respect existing structures in each country and successfully fit into an already crowded international soccer calendar," he said.

As some nations in the Caribbean possess established domestic leagues, the group will review current infrastructures and assess what competitive format would achieve the best outcomes for long-term success.

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