Premier League needs a Su­per Cup

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

THE THIRD sea­son of the ISSA/FLOW Su­per Cup came to the ex­pected dra­matic and spec­tac­u­lar end over the week­end. Af­ter some ini­tial trep­i­da­tion by some of the stake­hold­ers of the school­boy foot­ball prod­uct, the growth and pop­u­lar­ity of this con­cept of a ‘Cham­pi­ons League’ for school­boy foot­ball has worked won­ders and is now be­ing fully em­braced across the en­tire foot­ball fra­ter­nity.

The features in­jected by the main spon­sors, of strate­gi­cally pit­ting the best of ru­ral ver­sus the best of ur­ban, and hav­ing all the games played on the best avail­able sur­faces in the coun­try, as well as pre­sent­ing a wider fun­filled ex­pe­ri­ence on match­days have un­der­stand­ably con­nected and res­onated big time with the gen­eral pub­lic. Ar­nett Gar­dens’ Shawn McKoy (right) shields the ball from Ja­malco’s Ra­mone Plum­mer dur­ing a re­cent Red Stripe Premier League match at the An­thony Spauld­ing Sports Com­plex.

The ISSA/FLOW Su­per Cup de­spite its rel­a­tively short ex­is­tence, is the fastest grow­ing foot­ball-re­lated ex­pe­ri­ence in Ja­maica. This rapid growth and impact is tak­ing place in the midst of yet an­other round of painful and heart­felt com­plaints by the own­ers and man­agers of the lo­cal Premier League clubs.

Un­ten­able, un­work­able, im­pos­si­ble, sense­less are but some of the many dis­parag­ing words be­ing used to de­scribe the sit­u­a­tion as ex­ists with the clubs in the na­tion’s elite league. Just last week, two of the big­ger clubs in for­mer national cham­pi­ons Ar­nett Gar­dens and city ri­vals Waterhouse squealed out in tan­dem about the crip­pling fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion grip­ping the clubs. Both clubs pro­ceeded to trim the size of their squads and to fur­ther cut the al­ready mea­gre pay pack­ages to their play­ers.

The prob­lems are even deeper than the clubs’ in­abil­ity to bal­ance their books. It re­port­edly takes in the re­gion of $20-30 mil­lion dol­lars per sea­son to finance the run­ning of a Premier League club with the win­ning prize at the end of the sea­son be­ing be­tween $2 and $3 mil­lion.

NEG­A­TIVE EF­FECT

the role of the prover­bial ‘worth­less big brother’ be­ing over­shad­owed by the more am­bi­tious and pro­gres­sive ‘lit­tle brothers’ the Man­ning Cup, the daCosta Cup and now the Su­per Cup con­tinue to get all the praise and the raise.

In that kind of wider con­text and in a space where there has not been a national se­nior knock-out com­pe­ti­tion for sev­eral years, a SE­NIOR SU­PER CUP along the con­cep­tual lines of the FLOW Su­per Cup would most cer­tainly give the lo­cal Premier League a much-needed shot in the arm.

If man­aged and pro­moted along the same lines and with the same vigour, commitment and cre­ativ­ity.

We do have a dis­tinct ten­dency in Ja­maica to en masse grav­i­tate to­wards ideas that work. There is no doubt that the FLOW Su­per Sup has worked and con­tin­ues to work at the school­boy level. In the ab­sence of al­ter­na­tive in­spi­ra­tion, there is no in­sur­mount­able rea­son why the con­cept of the Flow Su­per Cup could not work at the se­nior elite club level. It is cer­tainly worth a try.

RUDOLPH BROWN/PHOTOGRAPHER

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