Rethink Mt Pleasant's sponsorship, Chris Williams
The Sporting EdgeThursday, December 24, 2020
With Paul Reid
It is cause for concern that Chris Williams, the chairman of the newly formed Professional Football Jamaica (PFJ)—the body that will run the Premier League, cannot see the potential for a conflict of interest with Mt Pleasant Academy being one of the sponsors of the Premier League.
Williams got off to a good start in his new role and must be lauded for the progress they have made so far, bringing in new sponsors and has raised millions of dollars that we hope will result in an attractive product on the field once the ball starts rolling.
No doubt Williams' success and credibility in the private sector was the shot in the arm that the sport needed and what we hope will spearhead a serious growth for the league that is in need of some serious push.
To accept sponsorship from Mt Pleasant Academy, who has a team in the league, could however, bring the league into disrepute, and if they have not done so already, I would suggest that they seek guidance from the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) or Concacaf before they move forward.
Williams has been quoted in the media as saying the academy is separate from the football team and “are different bodies which will not present any concerns. Mount Pleasant Academy is separate from Mount Pleasant Football Club. So, it's not the same entity that is a sponsor, and more importantly, Peter Gould excused himself from voting on accepting that sponsorship offer and the rest of the [PFJ] board agreed that it would be fine.”
That makes no sense whatsoever. Not in Jamaica where passion in sports often overrides rationale and good sense.
Heavens forbid that Gould or one of his senior officials should run afoul of the rules of the game and are summoned to the disciplinary committee, that could get rather awkward.
To paraphrase a quote, fair play must not only be done but be seen to be done and the PFJ and the Jamaica Football Federation must be careful about how they proceed down this road of taking money from a team that competes in their own competition.
It's all well and good to say sponsors would not be involved in the decision-making process, or the running of the competition, but in the heat of the competition with a lot at stake, it could fly in the faces of the organisers who no doubt wants the best for the country and the sport.