Western News

Ward to the rescue

Montego Bay businessman wants to donate lighting for Reggae Boyz games

BY PAUL A REID Observer West Writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, November 01, 2012    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James - Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) boss Captain Horace Burrell has described as "noble" a gesture by Montego Bay businessman Howard Ward to provide free of cost a standby generator and transfer switch for next year's final round of the CONCACAF's World Cup- qualifying home games at the National Stadium.

The response from the civic-minded and sports loving Montegonian, came swiftly after a report carried in the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday that FIFA, the world governing body for the sport wrote to JFF instructing it to have standby power generation capabilities for the floodlights installed at the stadium, or else the Reggae Boyz would have to play their matches at daytime.

Burrell told Observer West that he and the JFF were "overwhelmed, not just by the response, but by the immediacy of the offer and this is the type of response that the programme appreciates," adding that the programme was in a situation of "real and present danger".

According to the article that came out of a Monday Exchange meeting at the Observer's Beechwood Avenue offices this week, "FIFA has ordered that auxiliary power supply be put in place in keeping with article 11.2 of the FIFA Safety Regulations". "In the event of a power failure, there shall be emergency lighting provided by a back-up power supply," the regulation said in part.

On Tuesday Ward told Observer West that he was willing to make available a 1-megawatt back -up generator that would be able to supply power to all four light towers at the National Stadium, should it be required.

Ward's offer, if accepted, could save the JFF and Independence Park Limited (IPL), operates the facility, roughly $200,000 per day for the rental of the US$350,000 (J$31.8 million) equipment.

The Montego Bay businessman said however, that he would not be willing to undertake the cost involved to transport the generator and the switch from Montego Bay to Kingston, as well as the fuel costs for the generator, which could run at about $350,000.

Burrell who leaves the island today for England where he and the technical staff led by head coach Theodore Whitmore will meet with footballers who have shown an interest in representing Jamaica, told the Observer West that "no words are too great to express our thanks for Mr Ward's kind of gesture, adding that the "feeling is great".

Major Desmond Brown, the general manager of IPL had said that the National Stadium was not equipped with back-up power to run the lighting towers in the event the Jamaica Public Service fails to deliver the energy.

Jamaica will have five home games between February and October 2013 in the final round of qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

The Reggae Boyz will play against the USA, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras.

CONCACAF could send as many as four teams to the World Cup as the top three teams at the end of the round, will gain automatic berths, while the fourth place team will play-off with the winner of the Oceana Confederation for the other spot.

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