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'Don't punish us!

MBU boss thinks top RSPL teams do not benefit from scheduling

BY PAUL A REID
Observer Writer

Friday, May 19, 2017

TUCKER, St James — Orville Powell, the outspoken president of former Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) champions Montego Bay United (MBU), has come out in support of assertions by Humble Lion c oach Donovan Duckie that the top teams in the competition are being punished by the ad hoc handling of the fixtures by the organisers.

Under the new 'top six' format adopted for the competition this season, the two teams that finished at the top of the tables would automatically qualify for the semi-finals and would have a period of rest, while the other four teams enter a home-and-away play-off for the right to join them in the top four.

Powell argued in an interview with the Jamaica Observer last week at the MBU complex at Wespow Park that the organisers of the RSPL need to improve on their scheduling and plan games around the Caribbean Football Union and CONCACAF schedules, which are often set well in advance, to avoid clashes.

He said his team had to play a number of games in a short period of time in a race to complete the fixtures only to see several lengthy breaks mere week afterwards.

There was a three-week break between the end of the regular season and the start of the semi-finals, and after losing their first leg semi-finals away to Arnett Garden at the Anthony Spalding Complex, Duckie said his team, which finished at the top of the points table after the regular season 33 games, was being “punished” as they had to wait for an extended period while Arnett Gardens had kept active with two game s against Montego Bay United.

UWI-FC, who were second to Humble Lion, had beaten Portmore United 2-1 in their first-round game played last week Sunday.

Duckie, a former MBU coach, told journalists after losing to Arnett Gardens that the inactivity over the three weeks affected his team, and while agreeing that the ad hoc scheduling of games would have affected the top two teams, Powell said they should have seen it coming nonetheless.

To add to the start and stop situation, the league would take another one week break to allow Portmore United to play their Caribbean Football Union (CFU)Caribbean Club Championships final round before resuming the RSPL.

“You are punishing the best teams, the teams that were at the top of the tables. I seriously believe that is so, but you (Humble Lion) should have known this before, but you did not speak out about it then.”

Powell said while Humble Lion were pushing to finish at the top and win the $1 million prize that goes along with it, if they had taken the time to look at the schedule they would have seen they would have had a long lay-off between games.

“There are too many stops and starts to the schedule... we had to play 10 games every three days for a month after we completed our CFU group schedule and now we see that the league will have to take another long break. So we are asking why couldn't we get that break as well; didn't the organisers see they would have to break again in May and just make one adjustment at the time?” said the MBU boss.

He said MBU have been making representation to the organisers for three years to get their fixtures aligned to the CFU/CONCACAF competitions.

“Our competition is not any more complicated than the leagues elsewhere like in Europe, where they have their fixtures in place for months and we rarely see anything stopping the flow of the competition.

“Don't tell me it can't happen in Jamaica. we can do it, but every year we end up with the same problems,” Powell noted.

Additionally, he said, Humble Lion might have been confused when they thought they had qualified for next season's CFU competition after winning the regular-season championship.

“We are confusing the situation... we have one competition and it is the first and second-placed teams at the end of the competition, after the final, that will qualify for the CFU,” he added.