Ricketts remains hopeful after meeting with MOH


Ricketts remains hopeful after meeting with MOH

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

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Following a fairly successful meeting with Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton and his team, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael Ricketts is optimistic that the federation will receive the green light for the resumption of Premier League football by next week.

Ricketts, who led the delegation at the meeting, told reporters that things are looking up as regards a positive outcome, despite a slight glitch on his team's part, which he expected to be sorted out before close of business yesterday.

“We met with the minister this morning (yesterday) as was scheduled [and] most things seem to be on track. There is one little issue that is being sorted out and I have instructed my office to have that rearrangement done and handed to the office of Minister Tufton by 3:00 pm,” he shared.

“He [Tufton] has assured us that within a week he will give us hopefully a very positive response as it relates to the restarting of the Premier League. Because everything else seems to be in place: the training facility, the game Waterhouse will have; all those seem to be okay, and he has promised faithfully that by next week we will get a response,” Ricketts reiterated.

The JFF at a press conference a few weeks ago announced a proposed date for the resumption of the nation's top-flight league, but since then things appeared in limbo, as there was no confirmation from the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) about the protocols put forward by the federation.

The 12 participating clubs have already begun preparations for the start of the league, which is set for November 14, but most have been doing so on a limited-contact basis, as they await word from the JFF and the MOHW.

Based on all that would need to be put in place for the resumption of football, including testing of players, club officials and all other persons involved in the administration of the league, the proposed November 14 start date seems unlikely.

But Ricketts is of the view that if they in fact get their health and safety measures approved by next week, then they could actually kick things off as planned, barring any other unforeseen circumstances.

However, if for any reason there is a further delay, then the back-up date of December 6 will take effect.

“The clubs will make that determination; they ought to be in a position to decide whether or not they can start [on November 14], but they would have given an alternative date of December 6. So, if it is not feasible for November 14, then of course it would be December 6,” Ricketts noted.

The 2019/20 Premier League season was declared null and void due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

— Sherdon Cowan

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