UWI FC withdraws from premier league

Members of the UWI Mona FC
Members of the UWI Mona FC in January 2020 (Photo credit: UWI Mona Football Club (Instagram))

Official communication from the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona has stated that the institution’s decision to withdraw from the 2021 season of the Jamaica Premier League was based on worsening financial constraints being faced by the university. In the release, pro vice-chancellor and principal of UWI, Mona, Professor Dale Webber said he had written to the Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL) informing them of the institution’s withdrawal on 21 June.

The release further stated that the UWI “has been struggling over the last few years to effectively meet the financial obligations required to keep The UWI Football Club (UWI FC), playing at this level.” Webber said members of the team had been offered scholarships by the university in order to meet salary requirements. He further stated that as of 1 June, the scholarships for players and the contracts for coaches and team staff ended, and this meant the institution could no longer manage to adequately support the team. 

UWI FC are not the only team feeling the financial pinch associated with operating a football team at the topflight level. Several club administrators including the Harbour View FC President Carvel Stewart has stated publicly that financial assistance would be required if teams were to make it through this season.

Scholarships not affected

Dean of the Faculty of Sports at the UWI, Dr. Akshai Mansingh, said the university would honour all sports scholarships – once the academic criteria were met – despite their being no intercollegiate sports. The news was welcome relief for many of the footballers on the institutions roster.

In September of last year, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), announced that premier league clubs would receive $35 million to aid them in preparation for the 2020/2021 season. Since then, the league was put on pause. Recently, new sponsors announced that the league was taking on a new name Jamaica Premier League. 

The Jamaica Monitor spoke to one of the players on the UWI FC’s team’s roster, who asked not to be named. He said he was still in the dark on several matters and was awaiting a meeting on Friday 2 July 2021 of key team leaders and players to discuss future plans.

Dr. Mansingh, confirmed the meeting was, indeed, scheduled for Friday and was intended to give the administration a chance to explain to the players what had transpired and ultimately led to the decision made by the university.

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