'If it's good for football, it's good for Jamaica!'
Concacaf Champions League expansion gets local backing; clubs urged to take full advantageFriday, February 19, 2021
BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
In keeping with global football trends, the region's football governing body Concacaf will be implementing a new format for the Concacaf Champions League in 2023, which will lead to an expansion of the number of participating clubs up to 50 with 10 group stage spots to go to teams in the Caribbean.
President of Waterhouse football club Donovan White praised Concacaf for it's attempts to level the playing field in the region where the North and Central American clubs have always enjoyed dominance over their Caribbean counterparts.
“I think it's extremely positive news that Concacaf has taken a good look at the Caribbean arm of its organisation. There are many like me who believe that for years the Caribbean clubs have been marginalised for the most part, in terms of the level of support and involvement they have had in terms of the various tournaments that are organised and put on by Concacaf,” he said.
White described the announcement of the expansion as extremely positive for the region.
“The announcement that came in relation to expanding of what is now the CFU Club Championships to have more teams and have more qualifying teams move on to things like the Concacaf League and Concacaf Champions Cup from the region, is an extremely positive move and more akin to when Concacaf had started two years ago, with the Nations League for countries across the region,” said the marketing guru.
White believes that countries from the region with professional leagues, including Jamaica, will see more opportunities and benefits coming their way as a result.
“I think it augurs well for the countries in the Caribbean who already have a professional league like Jamaica, like Dominican Republic, like Trinidad and Tobago, like Haiti, because we will be considered first movers, or enabled clubs, to be able to take part in this development. What you will see coming out of that then is a cascading of all the benefits of that, so it creates opportunities for more players.
“It creates opportunities for the development of players at the amateur level, because a lot of people talk about professional sports, but they don't realise that professional sports doesn't happen without an amateur level,” White reasoned.
He believes that many more clubs and many more footballers will be able to benefit from this sort of expansion, both in terms of exposure and earnings.
“It gives the amateur level an opportunity to deepen their involvement in their clubs, in their communities in the grass roots, so we can uncover more talent and bring more footballers, in terms of building our capacity of talent. At the same time, it also allows our clubs to function at a higher level of competition.
“It then gives them a better opportunity to earn income at a far greater level and in hard currency which then gives them greater capacity to do more in terms of the expansion of their operation and the provision of more talent and play at a higher level of football,” he said.
White sees no negatives coming from the expansion and hopes that Jamaican clubs will grab the opportunity with both hands.
“I have not been able to discern any negatives from it, and so from that perspective, I think it's great for football and if it's great for football, it's great for Jamaica, it's great for our clubs and we need to embrace it, we need to understand it, so that we can function within it,” he ended.
The announcement of the expansion was made by Concacaf President Victor Montagliani earlier this month.
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