Grange rubbishes talk Gov't rejected proposal for football's returnFriday, February 26, 2021
BY SANJAY MYERS
Minister of Sport Olivia Grange has rubbished talk that the Jamaican Government has turned down the latest proposal for the resumption of football.
Yesterday, well-informed sources told the Jamaica Observer that a proposal for the return of the sport was rejected, but Grange said the claim was “not true”.
She added: “That story is to make mischief and cause confusion.”
Last month, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said after consultation with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, sporting events — which have been crippled by the novel coronavirus pandemic — will be allowed to resume on a case-by-case basis upon approval from the Ministry of Sport, the Ministry of Local Government, and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).
However, since the prime minister's announcement there has been a startling increase in the number of daily coronavirus cases, leading to concerns that widespread resumption of sports will only worsen the struggle to contain the outbreak.
Christopher Williams, chairman of Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL), told the Observer that he has been in constant dialogue with the ministry and has received no word of a decision.
“We remain in a waiting mode,” he said yesterday.
“We haven't received any communication [regarding] a decline. We continue to be in touch with the Ministry of Sport and they continue to be supportive. We know that they are working on trying to get the necessary protocols in place,” the head of the PFJL, which is responsible for marketing the country's premier league, continued.
Leslie Harrow, director general of ODPEM, noted that while his agency will complete a review for the return of football training in the “very near future”, any restart of competition remains some way off.
“No immediate review is being done for competition, but we will look at any proposal. We are currently looking at training, but it [competition] is not what we are considering now. Consideration is being given for training; competition is down the road,” Harrow told the Observer.
Efforts to contact Minister of Local Government Desmond McKenzie proved futile as calls to his cellphone went unanswered.
Dalton Wint, the general secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), was contacted by the Observer but he declined to comment, noting he was not aware of any decision.
The JFF came under fire for hosting an unauthorised training camp at the UWI/Horace Burrell Football Academy after subsequent confirmed coronavirus cases among participants.
Recently, a gymnastics competition was staged though news later emerged that the Ministry of Sport did not grant approval for it.
After competitive sporting events were shut down in March 2020 due to the outbreak, horse racing was given the green light in June of that year.
Earlier this week permission was granted for the staging of specific track and field events starting tomorrow.
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