MONTEGO BAY, St James – The management of Montego Bay United (MBU) are questioning the decision by the Jamaica Football Federation’s (JFF) Competitions Committee to reschedule their Jamaica Premier League game against defending champions Mt Pleasant FA for Monday afternoon at 3:00 pm at WesPow Park in Tucker, St James.
MBU were scheduled to host the game at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Monday at 7:30 pm, but due to the ongoing work at the Catherine Hall facility, they requested to move it to WesPow Park on Sunday at 3:00 pm instead.
In a release to the media on Thursday, MBU described the denial of the request for the game to be played on Sunday and the scheduling for Monday afternoon as “disappointing”, and said new MBU president Yoni Epstein took to social media on behalf of the Club to “issue a public apology to the fans expressing his disappointment in the JFF’s decision”.
Epstein also lashed out at what he thinks was a bias towards Kingston-based clubs.
“It feels more like the Kingston Premier League than the Jamaica Premier League, and at the end of the day, it’s the players and the fans who lose out,” he said.
The release quoted Epstein as saying that playing the game on a weekday would disenfranchise fans.
“Under the rules of FIFA, clubs are allowed to make reasonable requests to change a match’s day and/or time,” Epstein said. “Given the state of the Catherine Hall Stadium and the fact that most fans will be working on a Monday at 3:00 pm, we believe the request is more than reasonable. Yet, the JFF has mandated that the game be played on the scheduled day at 3:00 pm. This decision is extremely disappointing and does nothing to support the club’s and our sponsor’s efforts to develop the team and strengthen the football community in Montego Bay,” the release added.
When contacted by the Jamaica Observer, CEO of Professional Football Association of Jamaica (PFAJ) Owen Hill said only that “the ruling was made by the JFF Competitions Committee”.
Efforts to reach Gregory Daley, chairman of the JFF Competitions Committee, were unsuccessful.
The release said MBU’s opening home game win over Cavalier had reignited “renewed support and fan interest in the club”. It added: “The fans are most important and should not have to suffer from this lack of fair play. Although the time is not convenient, we will still ensure an exciting and well-organised match on Monday and ask that our supporters still come out to bolster the team as much as possible. Again, we are sorry for this inconvenience and promise to continue fighting for the rights of our club, so that we can ensure the best experience for our team, fans and sponsor.”