We have to save Tivoli
All must be done to keep club in Premier League — PLCA official
CARVEL Stewart, the vice-chairman of the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), is hopeful that stakeholders will step in to help reverse Tivoli Gardens FC's intention to withdraw from Jamaica's top-flight football competition.
In a move said to be forced by monetary constraints, Tivoli Gardens, one of the nation's most successful clubs, recently announced it will be pulling out of the 2014-15 Premier League. In addition to that is the reportedly imminent resignation of Tivoli's club president Edward Seaga as the chairman of the PLCA.
"In respect to Tivoli, we can't afford to lose any member club from the Premier League so we are going to see if together, with him, we can get the club to participate. We have to do all we can to rescue that situation," Stewart told the Sunday Observer.
"Based on what has been said publicly and also to us at the PLCA, the business of generating the financial support (was the reason)... it was difficult to secure his budget for the year. So as far as we know, that is where he is at.
"It (Tivoli's absence) would be a tremendous loss. The club has contributed significantly to the national effort in terms of developing and identifying talent that has gone on to represent the country. Remember, though, that nature abhors a vacuum so whether or not there is something to fill that gap in the short term, I don't know," he continued.
Tivoli Gardens FC, who last won the Premier League in the 2010-11 season, have yet to officially submit a request to the Professional Football Association of Jamaica (PFAJ), of which the 84-year-old Seaga is also the head.
"Even with the announcement he (Seaga) is withdrawing the team, we haven't yet received a formal submission of that withdrawal at the PFAJ. In the meantime, we will be attempting to see if we could find alternative leadership," Stewart said.
Stewart, who is also chairman of rival club Harbour View FC and the recently-elected first vice-president of the Kingston & St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA), reiterated that the opportunity is there for an interested party to take up the responsibility.
"Tivoli have a lot of support and I have the view that there must be those among that support who are prepared to step forward to lead. Even if chairman Seaga is not prepared himself to continue, we want to see if there could be another leadership.
"We want to keep the situation as fluid as possible for the time being and to see what can happen stemming from that announcement," the PLCA vice-chairman said.