Does parish FA’s play a part in rural area dominance of schoolboy football?
Michael Ricketts, the president of the Jamaica Football Federation, believes the parish football associations ought to be credited for the dominance of rural area schools throughout the 2019 schoolboy football season.
He told STAR Sports that that the parish FA's youth football programme should be factored when giving accolades.
All three traditional age group all-island schoolboy football titles were won by schools in rural Jamaica.
On Tuesday, Cornwall College and St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) captured the Under-14 and Under-16 titles, respectively. Their wins come on the heel of Clarendon College's successful defence of their Olivier Shield (Under-19 all-island) title.
The only all-island title not won by a rural area school is the lucrative ISSA Champions Cup crown, which was won by Kingston College.
"When you look at it, the three schools that were successful are from three parishes that have proper youth programmes. The parish associations based on their youth programmes must be a factor because a number of them would supply these teams with young talent. It goes without saying that the schools with real football programmes and are in the parishes with a strong youth programmes will do well," Ricketts said.
"ISSA and the JFF have a good relationship and we work well together, so I think both parties would be given some credit."
But amid the JFF boss's claim, it must be pointed out that the St Elizabeth FA, where STETHS hail from, did not conduct Under-15 nor Under- 13 this past season.
Vibrant and strong youth
"St Elizabeth might not be doing well but the neighbouring parish like Manchester has a vibrant and strong youth programme so it could very well be that a number of their kids filtering over into Manchester. Even if the parish of St Elizabeth doesn't have a strong programme the school (STETHS) doesn't have a programme," Ricketts said.
When asked about the failure of the parish FA's to carry out their mandates of hosting all the youth football competition's, Ricketts promises they will be stricter on the FAs.
"Yes, all of them are (mandated to have youth competition) and the JFF gives financial support to their grassroots programme. Some might not be at a premium or as organised as some parishes but each of the 13 parish associations does have a youth program," Ricketts said.
"We definitely will be a bit more strict in relation to the youth programme of the parish associations. We seek assistance from our parent organisations Concacaf and FIFA and we have to provide them with documentation of what is done in the parishes."