Sport

McKay, MoneyGram join forces to boost St Catherine football

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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After operating without any real corporate support for the past three seasons, the St Catherine FA and clubs are now breathing a collective sigh of relief as McKay Security and MoneyGram have joined forces in a $3-million sponsorship package for the Major League and Happy Sutherland Knockout competition.

The package, which amounts to a total of $6 million for a period of two years, will see $2 million allocated to the Major League and $1 million for the Happy Sutherland Knockout for each year, as was announced at yesterday's launch at Arians Restaurant in the parish.

Jason McKay, chief executive officer of McKay Security, pointed out that while his company, along with MoneyGram, is committed to aid the growth of football in the parish, and by extension the country, the sponsorship is first and foremost a business venture.

“We do see a value for associating with the St Catherine FA, and that is what a business should be about. It should be about a benefit, not just about social responsibility, so we will do it for a year or two for social responsibility but we have to benefit from our sponsorship — particularly MoneyGram who is expanding as a mass product.

“So if it works well then we will continue our sponsorship, but we are going to go where we get our best benefit because that is what business is about — and right now our best bet is with the St Catherine FA,” McKay told the Jamaica Observer.

President of the St Catherine FA, Peter Reid welcomed what he described as a significant boost from the sponsors.

“It is very significant to have McKay and partners on board because for the past three years we have been operating with minimal sponsorship, so the clubs and referees understood the collective sacrifice that we had to make.

“But now we have a sponsor so we are able to give the clubs some assistance, and also to host an awards function and execute the payments of the prize monies — which we have struggled to do for the past two seasons.

“The clubs knew that we didn't have the money so we had to come up with creative ways to compensate the clubs, but now we will be able to give them the cash in their hands,” Reid noted.

The Major League, which is the parish's premier football championship, is scheduled to kick off on Friday with 12 teams — Albion FC, Bodles FC, Cedar Grove, Christian Pen, Dela Vega City FC, Eltham Park, Federal United, Marcus Garvey, McKay New Raiders, Newland FC, Portsmouth FC and Royal Lakes FC.

Each team will play 11 preliminary round games after which the top two teams on points will earn automatic semi-final berths, while the third- and fourth-placed teams, along with the fifth- and sixth-placed teams, will contest two play-offs to determine the other semi-finalists.

The semi-final will be contested via a home-and-away format, with the final being a solitary fixture.

Meanwhile the Happy Sutherland Knockout competition is scheduled to begin in February, with 26 teams down to take part. That number comprises the 12 Major League teams, four Super League teams, two Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) teams and four teams each from the Division One and Two competitions.

RSPL teams Portmore United and Dunbeholden FC, along with the four Super League teams (Old Harbour, Tru-Juice, Rivoli United and Frazier's Whip) will start the competition as the seeded teams.

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