Heartbreak as Portmore United, Waterhouse FC withdraw from Flow Championship

Wednesday, April 07, 2021


Jamaica's representatives to the Flow Concacaf Caribbean Championship — Portmore United and Waterhouse FC — have both withdrawn from the 2021 edition, claiming inactivity and financial constraints as the main reasons behind their decision not to participate in the region's top club football competition.

In a joint release, which came from the Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL), the football arm responsible for the Jamaica Premier League, the clubs which both represented Jamaica in the previous edition, declared that there wasn't enough time to adequately prepare for the tournament with Jamaica still under restrictions and no clear date set for football resumption.

“The decision to withdraw from the Flow Concacaf Caribbean Club Championship 2021 edition was most difficult and painful. Our players in particular look forward to these international platforms to showcase their talents. It has proven very successful over the years in providing a pathway to the international club market.

“Unfortunately, we have not been able to train and play for over a year due to the pandemic and the lack of approval from the Government. Indeed, we're devastated by this decision but we have to be prudent. We cannot compete in any competition without proper preparation, let alone a regional tournament against teams that have been in active competition. Our players have suffered tremendously over the past 13 months,” said Clive Marshall, general manager of Portmore United FC.

Waterhouse FC President Donovan White expressed similar sentiments after making the decision not to play in the competition this year.

“This decision is extremely unfortunate and a painful one because our team has earned the right to participate and we really wished we could, but the combination of no return to play yet for football from the Government of Jamaica, which has stifled our ability to generate an income, has left us financially unable to make the huge commitments required in order to participate.”

Meanwhile, Chris Williams, chairman, PFJL, said that his organisation was in full support of the clubs that play in the league that he is responsible for.

“This decision by two of our clubs saddens the PFJL, but we remain 100 per cent in support of their decision given the circumstances that have occasioned their pulling out of the most important regional tournament that has realised much success for many of our clubs in years past.”

Williams also reasoned that football will continue to suffer in this way if the Government fails to grant permission for the resumption of the sport on the island.

“It is also inescapable for me not to point to the fact that this is the first of many dominoes that will befall the sport and our players locally, if we not able to restart the Jamaica Premier League before then end of the 2021 season.”

The Government has granted permission for premier league clubs to resume training but has not given any indication as to when competitive football can return. Having endured months of training without a restart date and burning through financial resources to do so, clubs have not returned to training, citing the inability to continue to fund endless training sessions without recompense.