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Lascelles Co-op Sponsorship of the JFF National Womens' League
August 21, 2018

Lascelles Co-op to the rescue

 

The Jamaica Football Federation's (JFF) plan to develop women's football and increase its popularity locally got a new lease on life as it forged a partnership with Lascelles Employees and Partners Co-operative Credit Union to ensure the return of the Women's League and Knockout competition.

Lascelles Employees and Partners Co-operative Credit Union, in celebrating its 50th anniversary, has tentatively stepped in to rescue the league for the next three years as part of a deal with the country's governing body for football.

 

As such, the now JFF/Lascelles Employees and Partners Co-operative Credit Union Women's League and Knockout competition, which was scrapped last year due to the scarcity of sponsorship, will be back in full swing on Saturday with 10 teams set to do battle for over $1 million in cash.

 

Ryan Muir, president of the credit union, gave a background to the agreement.

 

“We had put aside $1 million about two years ago trying to find a competition to sponsor or to do something for our members, like run some games... football or netball, but delays came up.

 

“So this year, which is our 50th, the idea came about from reading an article about no competition last year, and so we were willing to come on board as we see it as a way to give back to the Women's League and have some national impact for our 50th anniversary.

 

“We agreed tentatively to a three-year partnership with the JFF and we will review as we go by. and as I said earlier, we would probably want to take on the title sponsorship if we can afford it in the near future,” Muir told the Jamaica Observer during yesterday's launch at the JFF offices.

JFF General Secretary Dalton Wint welcomed the partnership, which he hopes will be a very fruitful one following the withdrawal of their previous long-time sponsor Sherwin Williams.

 

The Sports Development Foundation tried to bridge the gap in 2016, but was unable to maintain the course, hence the reason for the hiatus.

 

“It shows real commitment and corporate responsibility on the part of Lascelles. They are an outstanding corporate company and when they approached JFF, we accepted them with open arms.

 

“And it is not a sponsorship; it is a partnership, and one would understand that a partnership can last very long, while a sponsorship can be a short-term thing. But when you have a partner and you care for that partner, they will be around for a very long time and we are hoping this will be one of those partnerships,” Wint told the Observer.

 

Meanwhile, many-time champions Barbican FC, who have dominated competition over the years, will be missing from this 2018-19 season, which will see the 10 participating teams being placed in two groups of five.

 

Beaten finalists from the 2014 season Arnett Gardens, along with St Catherine outfit Frazsiers Whip will be making a return to the league, while Cavalier SC and another St Catherine team, SC Monarch, are the new additions.

 

The other competing teams are 2016 beaten finalists Waterhouse, St Mary-based Rangers, St Ann Women's, Real MoBay, Trelawny Women's, and Olympic Gardens.

 

The top-four finishers of the league will pocket $500,000, $300,000, $200,000 and $160,000 respectively, with the midseason finalists set to receive $120,000 and $100,000.

 

Among the other incentives will be $150,000, $100,000 and $75,000 for the top-three knockout teams, as well as MVPs and Coach of the Year awards.

 

Former national goalkeeper Shaquille Laing of Arnett Gardens was one of the many team representatives on hand to welcome the return of the league.

 

“We are a bit disappointed that Barbican didn't enter, because I thought this year was the year to beat them. However, I am expecting a lot of new talent to emerge and some great things to come from this league. It is just a matter of continuity after the league is done to ensure the growth of women's football.

 

“But I am happy that it is back and we have a chance to play again, because a lot of the girls from my team in particular were just at home, so it is good that they can kind of have something to fall back on to elevate them,” Laing reasoned.