FIFA warning not just for football


Tuesday, September 25, 2012    

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DURING the last week the world governing body for football, FIFA, issued a warning to Jamaica after fans stormed the field following our history-making 2-1 win over the USA. Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Captain Horace Burrell then promised to enhance security arrangments after FIFA threatened to remove Jamaica's home games from 'The Office'.

That being said, TEENage finds the ease with which fans were able to invade the football pitch worrying, and we feel that perhaps the JFF should truly look at erecting better barricades along with reinforcing the allocation of police, as promised by Captain Burrell.

But at the same time, we feel even stronger that Jamaicans must exercise better self-control and keep in mind that such an invasion of the pitch puts the very players with whom we are so proudly enamoured in danger, along with the future of the football programme and even the National Stadium infrastructure.

TEENage would hope for increased discipline and care to be exercised; by football fans and everyday Jamaicans alike, for the well-being of the players and fellow fans of the world's most popular sport, and society as a whole.

The joy and novelty of beating USA would have been forever marred had -- God forbid -- someone been injured, or worse. This sort of reckless abandon must be condemned and should never recur.

TEENage understands that, since Jamaica's first international match against Haiti in 1925, this nation had never defeated the United States in senior football, and so can relate to the sheer euphoria the final whistle would have brought.

We even understand that the storming of the pitch was simply an instinctive reaction to an extremely emotional and novel occurrence and was not born out of any malicious intent. Jamaicans were simply proud of our Reggae Boyz and wanted to shake the hands of our black, green and gold crusaders.

But, this does not justify dangerous behaviour.

It is because of this, we hope that FIFA, whose main purpose is facilitating the 'beautiful game' can understand and even forgive our momentary indiscretion.

TEENage would discourage FIFA from hastily bringing down the guillotine in this situation, especially as there was no malevolent intent towards anyone on the field of play. This is something that cannot be said of many other regrettable occasions when fans rush onto the field with deliberate intent inflict to injury or harm.

One such regrettable occasion took place in Egypt when a Cairo club was punished with having to play two matches behind closed doors and a fine of US$80,000 after fans invaded the field and injured opposition players as well as match officials.

If the threat by FIFA is completely taking away Jamaica's home games, this seems lamentably excessive and dubious.

While, TEENage accepts that storming the field was dangerous and encourages fans of the Reggae Boyz to abstain from such behaviour, we must urge FIFA, however, to use the opportunity to implement clearer guidelines before issuing threats to remove our international game-hosting status, as it has implications for not just the JFF programme, but also for all of Jamaica's efforts in positioning itself as the place to live, work and raise families.





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