ISSA looks to score with live streaming of schoolboy football matches


ISSA looks to score with live streaming of schoolboy football matches

Observer writer

Friday, July 10, 2020

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Should the green light come from the Jamaican Government to stage the upcoming schoolboy football season, the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) is looking to break new ground with live streaming of matches.

With the expectation that there could be restrictions on the numbers of people who can be in any one place at any time due to COVID-19 protocols, ISSA is in negotiations with their broadcast sponsors for individual games to be live-streamed to fans who might not be able to watch the games inside venues, says Linvern Wright, chairman of the daCosta Cup committee.

“We have to negotiate with our broadcasters before we can give the go-ahead for it,” Wright told the Jamaica Observer. “But our plan is to have schools stream games that are not being broadcast.”

Up to last year, ISSA's broadcast partners guarded their rights jealously, and while only a handful of games were broadcast live, schools were not allowed to stream games live.

ISSA has made a proposal to the Government with a plan for how they would attempt to stage football, netball, swimming and basketball competitions under safe conditions, and, according to president Keith Wellington, they expect to get a response by July 24.

Among the proposals ISSA has put forward is the plan for playing multiple games at sanitised and secure venues, which means that a number of schools will lose the comfort of playing at home.

Meanwhile, Wellington said if they do get the go-ahead to stage, they would go on regardless of whether they get low numbers of teams entering the daCosta and Manning Cup competitions.

He said the goal for this year would not be to “crown the best teams”, but to give the students an opportunity to participate in the sports they love as a form of “therapy”.

Wellington was responding to a question posed by Patrick Dunkley, the football coach at Ascot High, during a virtual meeting on Monday, about whether there was a minimum number of schools that ISSA would accept to start the competition.

“We don't have a number working with,” Wellington said.

“But if I can quote the daCosta Cup chairman, Linvern Wright, we are not even looking at this year's set-up as a year where we are trying to crown the best school in football, basketball or netball. What we are trying to do is provide an opportunity for our kids, and those who are able to grasp that opportunity, we want to ensure that they don't miss out because someone else is not able to,” he said.

The St Elizabeth Technical principal added: “We also think that this year our competitions are more of a therapy session where we are going to give back to the students the opportunity to participate in something that we think they are eager to participate in.”

There would be no sanctions against those who, for whatever reason, are “unable to or unwilling to participate”, Wellington noted.

“We will understand... we can't hold it against them, because, to be frank, there are a number of schools who may not be able to meet the measures that we have in place, and obviously if they can't meet them, they won't be able to participate... but we don't have a minimum percentage working with, but I am sure that 16 teams playing Manning Cup or 32 teams playing daCosta Cup, we would still have a good season,” said Wellington.

Lawrence Rowe, chairman of ISSA's junior football committee, also added that the formats for football, netball and basketball competitions will certainly have a new look.

“The format for competitions will be curtailed somewhat to facilitate as minimal exposure as possible for the students... coaches should expect when fixtures are put together to look for a shorter season based on the time frame we are working with as we need to complete the competitions by the end of the school term,” he stated.

Rowe added: This is one of the situations that we have to put up with in order to get a season in while also ensuring the safety of the students involved.”

He, meanwhile, urged coaches “to follow protocols put out in as strict a manner as possible”.

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