Jamaica Premier League artificial surface proving a nightmare for participantsTuesday, September 28, 2021
By Dwayne Richards
Even as the truncated Jamaica Premier League 2020-2021 season meanders to a conclusion, complaints about the solitary venue being used to host the competition since match week four grow louder.
The early games played at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence at Mona were particularly excruciating for players and match officials alike, as temperatures soared above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the midday sun.
Players are afforded one water break per half, but on many occasions they have forced unscheduled breaks by asking for assistance from the sidelines. They then request water, not only to drink but to “water their feet”.
Some players have been seen pouring water unto their boots while others have removed their footwear and poured water directly unto their socks, and this occurs despite the surface being watered before games and during the half-time break.
Speaking after being named man-of-the-match for his performance for Cavalier Football Club in their 1-0 in over Tivoli Gardens Football Club in their first-leg semi-final on Saturday, Kyle Ming described the playing conditions as “living hell”.
Before the start of the season, three venues had been proposed as venues — the National Stadium, the Stadium East Field and the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence at The UWI, Mona, which was supposed to be third venue of choice. The other facility that had been considered, Sabina Park, was ruled out due to international cricket being staged there.
The season began at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence; the second match week was also held there as well, before match week three was held at the Stadium East Field.
All other games have been played at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence at The UWI since then.
Weeks and weeks on the artificial surface in the intense heat has led to a number of players developing blisters on their feet.
The sidelines has not been significantly better as assistant referees have also required water to apply to their “burning feet”.
There are only two match days left to complete the season, the return leg semi-finals tomorrow and final and third-place match on Saturday, before the players and match officials are able to get a break from “hell”.