Ricketts 'hopeful' Premier League will get going 'soon'

Ricketts 'hopeful' Premier League will get going 'soon'

Sunday, January 24, 2021

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Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) boss Michael Ricketts says he is optimistic that the Jamaica Premier League will start soon as he is eagerly awaits the go ahead from the Government expexted in a “matter of days”.

Organised football has been on pause in Jamaica for most of last year after the 2019-20 season was put on pause in March before being ruled null and void in May due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

After numerous proposed start up date, the new season is yet to get going as the JFF is awaiting the all clear by the Ministry of Sports, and, crucially, the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

The stoppage of football has created concerns in many quarters, including the fact that the local members of the Reggae Boyz have not been able to train continuously or play games to keep themselves in contention for places in the national setup.

Speaking at Thursday's monthly meeting of the Rotary Club of Kingston, Ricketts warned that when the season starts it would not be the three rounds that fans had become accustomed to, but a shorter version.

“I heard from the minister of sports recently and we shoud be having some discussions soon,” he said. “Minister Chris Tufton and Minister Grange will be the two who will have to meet with us and to give us the 'no objection' document that we have been waiting on,” Ricketts said.

“There seems to be, hopefully, some light at the end of the tunnel and we are hoping that when we do have that meeting with Minister Grange and Minister Tufton, it will be all systems go,” he added.

Players and fans should expect a shortened season, Ricketts notes.

“Certainly it will be a compressed Premier League...certainly not as long as the norm [as] we will play a shortened season and then get ready for the start of the next season which would start in September,” he said.

Ricketts said the prolonged absence of club football would also have an effect on the national team with the Concacaf Gold Cup and the Fifa World Cup qualifying set for later this year.

“Most of the other countries that we will be playing against are playing football, most of the countries in Concacaf are playing football, and we are certainly at a disadvantage as our preparation process has stagnated,” he stated.

“The good thing is that we have some players overseas who are playing and we have number of English-based players who are making themselves available to play for us,” Ricketts added.

There are over 700 players who ply their trade in the local Premier League, and Ricketts claimed that they have been “disenfranchised over the last seven to eight months” not being able to play football.

“But again I am hopeful and very optimistic that we will be able to start very soon,” he ended.

— Paul Reid

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