Parish associations, JFF looking for 100% vaccination to facilitate restart

Published:Jamaica Gleaner – Friday | December 24, 2021 | 12:11 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer

FOOTBALL AT the parish-association level in Jamaica is unlikely to restart unless all players and officials are vaccinated, seems to be the word coming down the pipes.

Parish football associations (FAs) have worked with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) in formulating a protocol document, which has been submitted to the Government, for a return of parish football.

And, according to JFF general secretary, Dalton Wint, 100 per cent compliance with vaccination recommendations is part of those submissions.

Wint says the hope is to have football being played at the parish level before the first half of the year.

“It is a part of the submissions for approval. So vaccination is important to get the leagues back up and running.

“The JFF is in full support of a hundred per cent vaccination. This can make things a lot more cost-effective, because there is no way we can afford constant testing. It is very expensive. We wouldn’t be able to afford it,” he said.

There doesn’t seem to be any dissenting voice among the parish associations either, with many believing vaccination the only alternative, since constant testing, as was the case in the Jamaica Premier League, is not affordable. 

With that in mind, parish FAs have been putting in the effort to get their players and club officials vaccinated, in anticipation of a resumption.

“We are hoping to start as early as possible. So we have to get back on board as early as possible in the new year,” said Kingston and St Andrew Football Association vice-president Carvel Stewart.

“The provisions and protocols are ready and we are prepared to meet those. We will be limiting venues and try to play double headers.

TRYING TO MEET ALL REQUIREMENTS

“We have also asked the clubs to get everybody vaccinated, as we believe that will be very important. So we are trying to meet all those requirements to get everybody out on the field,” he said.

Clarendon Football Association president, Ewan Scott, noted that it would be virtually impossible for parish clubs to foot the cost of regular COVID testing, making vaccinations the only viable option.

“We look at how schoolboy football is being played, in the sense that all players and officials are vaccinated or have started their vaccination process.

“We see that it could be an incentive because, when the Premier League was being played, it was very expensive because they had to do a lot of testing.

“At this level, clubs cannot afford that. So therefore, if they are compliant in terms of vaccinations, that would make it an easier and more affordable restart,” he said.

Scott says his association is now looking at the lay of the land to see how much work has to go into getting all players and officials vaccinated.

“So that is one of the surveys that we are doing, to see the vaccination status of our players and officials.

“We are looking at the affordability. Can football restart under the conditions that the Premier League restarted under? The answer is no, because the clubs at that level cannot afford that type of funding to do regular testing,” he said.

St James and Western Confed president, Gregory Daley, is on board with the proposals and has been imploring his organisation’s clubs to do the same.

“We have met with the clubs and have given them some timelines to get some things in place. We continue to encourage them to get the vaccination because that is critical in getting football played at this time. 

“We can’t mandate them to get vaccinated but we have encouraged them to do so. So, we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, and, in terms of preparations, we are far advanced in doing so,” he said.

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