JFF lifts suspension of RSPL, new season to kick off on Sunday 

The new season of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) is now scheduled to kick off on Sunday, 24 days after it was suspended indefinitely by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).

This was confirmed by the JFF on Monday through a joint statement

The joint statement  stated that the new date was agreed by the JFF, the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), the Professional Football Association of Jamaica (PFAJ) and representatives from the 12 participating clubs in the RSPL 2017/2018 season, following fruitful discussions between all the relevant parties at a meeting held Friday.

The JFF decided on August 31 to suspend the RSPL indefinitely because of a spat among match officials, Montego Bay United and the league administrators – the PLCA – over payments.

In a press release issued on August 31, three days before the season was scheduled to start, the JFF listed a series of administrative failings on the part of the PLCA, which it said needed urgent remedy before the new season could begin.

Among the issues listed was the failure of the PLCA to deliver grants to Montego Bay United Football Club equal to the grants received by every other team that participated in the 2016-2017 staging of the RSPL.

The JFF also noted that it had been advised that the sum of $4,060,482.20 was owed to referees, assistant referees and referee assessors for unpaid salaries for the 2016-17 staging of the league.

The issue between the PLCA and Montego Bay United heated up on September 2, 2016 when the club indicated through a letter dated August 12, 2016  its separation from the PLCA.

However, on December 8, 2016 the Professional Football Association of Jamaica (PFAJ) met with Montego Bay United and informed the club that it could not participate in the league without being a member of the PLCA.

Montego Bay United then wrote to the PLCA on January 19, 2017 advising of the withdrawal of their departure.

After Montego Bay United were readmitted back as a member of the PLCA, the club has been asking for outstanding payments.

However, the PLCA pointed to club’s period of non-membership to the organisation, noting that incomes and other benefits obtained through sponsorship can only be claimed by members of the association.

The first sign of problems with the new season came a few days after the new season was scheduled to start when Montego Bay United indicated that the club will not be available  for the opening set of matches on September 3.

Below is the statement issued by the JFF on Monday, regarding the start of the league

“This date (Sunday, September 24) has been agreed by the JFF, the PLCA, the PFAJ and representatives from the 12 participating clubs in the RSPL 2017/2018 season, following fruitful discussions between all the relevant parties at a meeting held on September 15, 2017.

“It has been agreed that Montego Bay United Football Club (MBUFC) will be paid the full sum, interest free, for its participation in the Red Stripe Premier League for the 2016/2017 season less fines, deductions and costs in accordance with the governing rules and regulations.

“The payment to MBUFC will be undertaken by the PFAJ being supported by financing arrangements among the PFAJ, the JFF and the PLCA.

“Joint discussions among the JFF, PLCA and PFAJ with a view to remedy administrative issues which have become apparent throughout the 2016/2017 season of the RSPL are underway.

“MBUFC, through its President Mr. Orville Powell, expresses remorse in its actions undertaken which materially contributed to the disruption in the operation of the RSPL 2016/2017 season, the effects of which have been apparent to date.

“The JFF, PLCA, PFAJ and MBUFC wish to express their sincere apologies to the sponsors, players, and all other stakeholders, especially the football-loving public, for any inconvenience and distress that has occurred as a result of the recent impasse and are committed to restoring the public’s faith in the standard of administration of football in Jamaica.

“All the parties involved jointly agree that the advancement of Jamaica’s football must be the paramount consideration.”

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