Renovated MoBay Complex to stage football soon, say organisers
AFTER experiencing several months of delays, it is anticipated that football will make its comeback at the Montego Bay Sports Complex in Catherine Hall, St James, next month.
The multi-purpose stadium has been officially inactive since last April when the St James Municipal Corporation (STJMC), which has oversight of the facility, started a $7-million project in July to rehabilitate the playing surface.
However, the project, which should have been completed last October, was met with several setbacks, including weather-related and equipment issues, which meant no football was possible up to the end of 2023.
But Deputy Mayor of Montego Bay Richard Vernon told the Jamaica Observer that after an evaluation earlier this week, football can make its return in February, starting with the Wray & Nephew Jamaica Premier League (JPL).
“The turf engineer Mr Bryan Douglas indicated that we can facilitate the application from Montego Bay United to play on the 22nd of February. Following that, he will have to conduct further assessment and work until it is at the required standard,”
Vernon, though, says the STJMC will not allow the stadium’s pitch to be overused as they seek to meet the required standard.
“The Catherine Hall Stadium is ready for football. However, its use will remain conservative at the start as the field is still a work in progress. It needs more time to get it to where we had committed. Nonetheless, we are well on our way. I am pleased that after 15 years, we are finally rehabilitating. We must continue on this trajectory to ensure we preserve a world-class turf and facility.”
Chief executive officer of STJMC Naudia Crosskill told the Observer that it will take some time before the corporation makes profits from hosting matches at the stadium. Currently, they charge $650,000 per football match while spending $50 million annually in maintaining the stadium. She says they may have to charge more than the current fee in the future.
The last international match hosted at the stadium was the Reggae Boyz friendly against Trinidad and Tobago last March. Then the operators of the venue were roundly criticised for the embarrassingly substandard playing surface.
The last domestic game was Montego Bay United’s encounter with Harbour View in the JPL last April.
The Observer has learnt that the Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL) is planning to host Monday night games at Catherine Hall during the second round of the ongoing JPL season.