Photo: JFF Predient Michael Ricketts announced the return of the National Premier League on Novemeber 14th with all 12 teams from last season set to contest the league after the 2019-20 was decalred null and void due to the effects of the Covid-19 virus.
The long wait for the return of football to local soil seems to be coming to an end as it was announced today by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) that top flight football will return in November. Football, like all other sports, was brought to a halt by the Covid-19 pandemic in March with the Red Stripe Premier League being officially cancelled in late May.
JFF President, Michael Ricketts, made the announcement today, that subsequent to approval from the Ministry of Health, the twelve-team league will resume on November 14th.
Prior to the start of the league all players and club officials as well as those other persons close to the league will be tested twice for Covid-19. Tests will begin next Monday, September 28th with the second round of testing to be done immediately prior to the start of the league in November.
Due to the late start of the season, one round of the competition will not be played. This means that there will be only two rounds instead of the usual three, to be followed by the usual playoffs.
Notably, no team will be relegated at the end of the 2020-21, but instead the number will be increased from 12 to 14 teams at the start of the 2021-22 season which will be followed by another increase of two teams at the start of the 2022-23 season, which means that 16 teams will contest top flight football on the island two seasons from now.
There was mixed news for fans of the league as the season is set to start at select but yet unnamed venues without spectators. There will however, be a push to increase the number of televised games not just for spectator benefit, but also to ensure a substantial increase in revenue from television rights.
All the teams that began the 2019-20 campaign will return for the start of the league and they are, Arnett Gardens FA, Cavalier FC, Dunbeholden FC, Harbour View FC, Humble Lion, Molynes United FC, Mount Pleasant FA, Portmore United FC, Tivoli Gardens FC, UWI FC, Vere United FC and Waterhouse FC.