The Montego Bay Sports Complex in Catherine Hall will be the main venue for the staging of matches for the CONCACAF Under-17 football tournament, which gets underway next week.
General Secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation, (JFF) Horace Reid, says that St. James venue got the nod of approval, after an inspection on Wednesday February 9 by officials from CONCACAF, JFF, Urban Development Corporation (UDC), FIFA, and the St. James Parish Council.
He told JIS News that the touring party examined the newly installed floodlights and their suitability for night matches, as well as the quality of the playing field. “It is not perfect as the pitch could have been a lot lusher than it is now. We are looking at some seven double headers on the pitch, but we are optimistic that it will hold up for the games,” he said.
Mr. Reid noted further that the media facilities, changing rooms, and areas for medical services were also found to be satisfactory and in good order, “so, pretty much, we are on our way to getting everything ready for the tournament."
With the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium rendered unsuitable to host matches, Mr. Reid said the local authorities will be sitting down with CONCACAF and FIFA to work out a plan for the other games that were scheduled for Trelawny. Jarrett Park, which was designated as a practise facility, is being looked at as a replacement match venue.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, in a release yesterday, said she had received a list of what improvements must be made at Jarrett Park so that it can host the games and “I have assigned teams to get the job done and to report to me at all times."
Minister Grange expressed disappointment that the Trelawny stadium was rejected by the organisers because of the unsuitability of the playing surface and promised to find out what went wrong and why, and take the appropriate action.
She has appointed Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Robert Martin, to initiate an investigation and “to report to me in the shortest possible time."
Meanwhile, with the Milo Relays scheduled for the Catherine Hall complex on Saturday February 12, Mr. Reid said “we have been assured that the pitch will not be touched and we do expect that all the equipment that needs to be in place to safeguard that pitch will in fact be put in place in time. Under no circumstances, whatsoever, must the pitch be touched."
The CONCACAF Under-17 football tournament scheduled from February 14 to 27, will decide the four regional teams for the 2011 FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
CONTACT: GLENIS ROSE
JIS REGIONAL OFFICE