Wed | Apr 24, 2024

‘They wouldn’t listen to our situation’

• Royal Lakes denies last-minute withdrawal • Says no support for teams from JFF

Published:Wednesday | February 21, 2024 | 12:14 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Frazsiers Whip star player Shaniel Buckley (left) is watched carefully by two Royal Lakes defenders during their Jamaica Women’s Premier League match at the Royal Lakes Sports Complex on August, 2023.
Frazsiers Whip star player Shaniel Buckley (left) is watched carefully by two Royal Lakes defenders during their Jamaica Women’s Premier League match at the Royal Lakes Sports Complex on August, 2023.
Shanhaine Nelson (left) from Cavalier Soccer Club and Jamie Roacho from Rangers FC battle for the ball during the JWPL semi-finals at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre Of Excellence on April 22, 2023.
Shanhaine Nelson (left) from Cavalier Soccer Club and Jamie Roacho from Rangers FC battle for the ball during the JWPL semi-finals at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre Of Excellence on April 22, 2023.
1
2

THE OPENING day of the Jamaica Women’s Premier League (JWPL) was thrown into a tailspin after Royal Lakes of St Catherine and Rangers FC of Portland, reportedly, withdrew a day before the competition.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) had come in for some flak since the pullout of the teams, with particular ire coming by way of the Raymond Anderson-led Real Solid Action (RSA) group which plans on contesting a JFF election in short order.

According to the RSA, there were a number of instances since last week’s launch that suggested the JFF were not taking the league seriously.

According to the RSA, the absence of sponsors during the launch was telling and the consequent pullouts showed that there were no inclusive plans with the teams for support.

Royal Lakes coach, Kadish Fishley, explained that financially, the team was unable to support the season.

She said last season they struggled to cope with the financial demands, and she anticipated things were going to be a lot harder this term.

Also, with no commitment of support from the JFF, she said she withdrew her team as it would have been unfair to ask the players to undergo a worse experience than last season.

“It (decision) was fairly from a financial standpoint. We would not have been able to provide boots, food, transportation, that would be an issue so we decided the best way forward was to step back, reassess and rebuild.

“Last year the president put his money into it, I put money into it, my sister supported me and put money into it, and I was also able to get some support from my friends abroad.

“But for this season we wanted to find a sustainable way. We wanted a partner so we wouldn’t have this problem,” she told The Gleaner.

She pointed out that it has been difficult to find people willing to support the women’s game, as they received no response from the businesses in Spanish Town in their quest for support.

She also thought the federation would have been a lot more supportive in that regard.

“From as far back as December I had expressed to my (club) president that we would not be able to participate.

“He said it to someone in the JFF and they asked him to reconsider. He came to me and I told him I would see what I could do, and that was with the expectation of getting some support from the JFF. And up until now, there still has been no word,” she continued.

“Last year there were times after matches when we couldn’t provide for the team and that was unacceptable, and the situation was going to be worse than last year.

PROVIDE SUPPOSED

“The players are going to play 90 minutes and give me everything and what I am supposed to provide, I am unable to. That is not fair.

“They are disappointed but they understand because they knew what we struggled with last year,” she said.

She also refuted claims that she only sent the withdrawal notice a day before the start of the competition.

“We communicated on Thursday that we wouldn’t be able to actively and effectively compete in the competition.

“The Saturday before the launch, myself and a few other clubs suggested we wouldn’t be able to play and suggested ways around it. But they did not listen to our situation.

“Then JFF put out something saying that we withdrew at the last minute and I am disappointed.

“Some are saying we are trying to sabotage the league. I want a women’s league that is attractive to the eyes of supporters. So for people to think that I would sabotage anything, that would be far from the truth.”

Nevertheless, she said they intend to pay what is expected to be a $50,000 fine and prepare to re-enter the league next season.

“We are seeking $3-4 million to support our women’s programme, or as close to that as we can get. We are looking forward to competing again next year. And I do hope they have a successful competition,” she added.

Meanwhile, Rangers withdrew because manager and backbone of the club, Meloney Henry, has been ill for some time and is unable to handle the demands of the season.

In addition, other members of the executive are not able to fill the void due to work commitments. As a result, they took the decision not to participate.

“I am not well and the other members have commitments with their work that is not going to make them available to assist the team right now. They will just not have enough time due to their work.

“The executive was trying to continue but it just didn’t work, so we had to pull out at the last minute. The girls understand because I am sick. So they have taken it with understanding,” she said.

Chairperson for women’s football, Elaine Walker-Brown, promised a response to The Gleaner but up to press time yesterday none was forthcoming.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com