No hard feelings - RSPL stakeholders won’t punish players who opt out of season for COVID-19 fears
Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) General Secretary Dalton Wint said that they would understand players refusing to play games because of coronavirus concerns.
Recently in the United States, the National Football League (NFL) has seen players declaring their unavailability for the upcoming season because of the pandemic. As the JFF crafts protocols for a safe return of international and local football, Wint said that the decision to play rests with the players whether they feel comfortable with the proposed health protocols.
"It is a decision that each individual would have to make and if they decide they want to opt out of whatever protocols we put in place and they are not satisfied with it, then it is their choice," Wint told STAR Sports.
In case of those expected to participate in the upcoming Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) season, Wint said an opt out policy would have to be determined by the clubs.
"Something like that must be for the individual clubs to deal with," he said. "It has to be the individual clubs that determine how they treat their players."
Harbour View Chairman Carvel Stewart said that while the matter was not discussed at the club, if a player chose not to participate because of COVID-19 concerns they can do so.
"If a player wants to opt out then we wouldn't have a difficulty [with] it, we would permit it," Stewart said. "If somebody is not fully there, you are not going to get them concentrated."
In an agreement with the NFL and the NFL Players Association as a provision for the resumption of preseason training, athletes can withdraw availability for the 2020 season with a stipend guaranteed.
But Stewart was cautious about such a measure for the local top flight.
"Where we are now, that would be very difficult to accommodate based on where the financial situation with the league and the clubs are in general," he said. "Clearly that is something that would have to be more clearly thought out."
Tivoli Gardens head coach Philip Williams said that he would respect the decision of any player who made the decision not the play next season and entertains the idea of players who opt out being supported financially.
"In terms of players salaries and compensation, if [there] is a situation where a player opts out we have not discussed that as yet," Williams said. But as a coach and having the players well-being at hand, that is something that we can bring to the management and see what their reaction would be."