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    The Government is putting up twenty-million dollars to help fund Premier League football in Jamaica for the upcoming football season.
    The announcement came from the Honourable Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports (MICYS) as she delivered the main address at the National Premier League and Coco Cola National Under-21 Awards Ceremony at the Pegasus Hotel last night (May 21).
    “I went to the Minister of Finance and the Public Service in the absence of the Prime Minister,” Minister Grange told her audience, “and I asked him for some funds from Government for Premier League football and he agreed to twenty-million dollars, a cheque for which I shall be handing over to the Premier League Clubs Association.”
    Minister Grange said football because of its popularity, its universal nature and its appeal, could be seen as the ideal investment for achieving social and human development targets and tackling many of the major problems faced by Jamaica today. “Football has a positive effect on those who play it both in terms of health and life skills, but beyond that, the game serves as an effective tool in community programmes for social development,” she said.
    The sport of football, the Minister said, provided one of the few opportunities that can pull our people together to face the challenges confronting us as a nation.
    Speaking of the economic value of sports in general, Minister Grange informed her audience that it contributed two-hundred and fifty-five million US dollars or seventeen-point-eight billion Jamaican dollars which is two-point-six percent of GDP. More than 22-thousand people find employment in sports, she added.
    Miss Grange reiterated that her Government was fully committed to sports development, in particular football, and she reminded those gathered that the Government was currently engaged in fashioning a Sports Policy.

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