RSPL set to resume in November
The upcoming Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) season is set tentatively for November 14 with a condensed schedule and further changes for future campaigns.
At a press conference yesterday held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts made the announcement, as well as protocols that will be finalised for the return of the local top-flight football, pending finalisation from the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
There will only be two rounds of games for the new campaign before the play-offs, which, according to Ricketts, will be held at central venues as opposed to the respective club's home grounds. The season is scheduled to finish on June 30.
Additionally, the pending season will have no relegation but will feature the normal two-team promotion from the lower tiers, increasing the total number of teams to 16 by 2022.
Ricketts said further changes for the season could be expected but is pleased that they have a date to look forward to.
"We still have a lot of work to do between now and the start. There could be very well a number of changes, but as we are now we are set for November 14 start," Ricketts said.
The 2019-20 season was cancelled in May because of the pandemic, and local football at all levels has not been played since.
Among the health protocols that will be implemented, subject to approval, will be banning fans from attending training sessions and clubs adhering to strict sanitisation standards. COVID-19 testing for all players and staff is expected to begin on Monday, with approximately 600 persons to be tested.
Tivoli Gardens head coach Phillip Williams says that yesterday's announcement has lifted the apprehension of a return to local football.
"It takes away some of the anxiety, now that we have a date to work with. So it's one that we really appreciate, but we are still uncertain in terms of if the Government will give the go-ahead to the federation," Williams said.